As you may or may not know I have been working in the private aviation industry for quite some time. And have held various positions throughout the years. I’ve been a personal assistant, a makeup artist, a charter broker, a stylist, a flight attendant, a social media manager, an interior designer and I even provided luxury vehicles for passengers for when they land.
That’s a lot of hats I know. And guess what? That is not even all of them! In this industry you have to expect the unexpected. And you MUST always be one step ahead and on your toes at all times! You work an extremely demanding schedule (with a smile on your face) and you are away from family and friends. And for long periods of time. You are however traveling the world, schmoozing with celebs, the elite and brilliant businessmen and women from around the globe. And if you are really lucky you get to work with crew that become your family. Welcome to the world of private aviation…
I asked a few of my friends in the industry to share some tips and stories to give you a feel for what it is like to work and travel in luxury and aviation. Scroll down to meet Heather, David, Claire and Lauren below…
Heather Mendoza is a Private Client Services Manager for BJETS out of Beverly Hills.
Please read her three tips for booking your aircraft…
Tip #1: Book Early
BJETS can accommodate clients with as little as 3 hours notice, but if your travel dates fall during peak holiday periods or you have the given flexibility, do your best to book early. This will allow you to avoid paying the high premiums that go along with booking a private jet the day before a big holiday weekend for example.
Tip #2: Choose a Destination, Not a Nearby Airport
Always ask your charter professional for his/her recommended airports for your trip. In Los Angeles, it might be Van Nuys, Santa Monica, Burbank, or Ontario. In San Francisco it might be Hayward, Oakland, San Carlos, San Jose, Concorde, Napa, etc. There are so many choices; I hate to see people spend more money for an airport that is less convenient for them.
Tip #3: Ask Questions
Last but not least, ASK QUESTIONS! If there is anything you’re ever unsure of, make sure you’re working with a knowledgeable charter professional whom you trust to give you honest and educated advice.
David has been a Pilot for 28 years and has a few thoughts on time and money.
Tip #1: Always allow yourself enough time to get to your destination. If you have a meeting scheduled for 9:00am you will want to make sure that you land around 7:00-7:30am not 8:00-8:30 even if your meeting is 10 minutes away from FBO. In most cases you will always run late. Commercial Airliners are always given priority on the ramp which can cause a delay taking off. Another delay can be your transportation on the other side that is late picking you up. You always need to prepare for earlier departure to ensure an on time (if not earlier) landing to get you to that meeting or destination on time.
Tip #2: Make sure to have an iPod or some sort of music device and headphones with you so that you can sit back and relax on your flight. This is the ultimate definition of a “power nap”. This is your time to recharge.
Tip #3: In any service based business it is common courtesy to tip. You tip your bartender, waitress and butler. So please do not forget to tip your pilots and/or flight crew. Going rate is $100 per crew member. Obviously if they went above and beyond then you can tip them accordingly.
Meet Claire who is a Corporate Flight Attendant based in LA. She would like to share some tips for Aspiring Flight Attendants…
I am constantly told “Wow, you have the coolest job ever! That must be so awesome!” I am asked even more how I got into this business.
There really is no secret, like with any career that is overly glamorized you must get the necessary education (FACTS training is great), and most importantly NETWORK. Your location is also key when it comes to private aviation. New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Las Vegas are where most of the women in private aviation live because these places are where most of the demand is.
It took me a year and a half to get this job. I went to countless private airports submitting my resume, harassed people on LinkedIn (which is how I know Kelly)
paid to have my profile on flycontract.com
(which is how I got my first job opportunity). Sometimes I wanted to give up but I kept reminding myself I had spent all of my college graduation money to move from Tennessee to LA to do this so giving up wasn’t an option. Eventually someone finally came a long and gave me a chance. PS: You’ll get told a lot they only hire girls with experience, which can be super frustrating. However, the fact of the matter is these customers are paying thousands of dollars an hour to fly on these private jets so our service must be superb.
Again, everyone on the outside thinks this job is super glamorous. Yes, it can be but there are cons like any other job out there. I have had nights of staying up all night looking for miniature pineapples for example with a 12 hour flight the next day. If a customer requests a certain food item you have to find it. The word “no” does NOT exist in private aviation. When the trip is over you don’t walk off the plane and go home no matter how long the trip is. You are the one who cleans and details the plane to perfection after the trip is over. In private aviation there is only one flight attendant in almost all cases. A lot of us work 20 days on and 10 days off, so be prepared to spend long amounts of time away from your family and friends.
I have seen a lot of the world. Places I never thought I would ever see in my lifetime. Essentially I am traveling the world on someone else’s dime and getting paid for it. Pretty cool if you think about it right?! I have met people who others would die to meet. Sometimes I get to stay in amazing hotels for days and just be a tourist. Other times I land somewhere, go to sleep and then fly out the next morning. It’s a very fast paced lifestyle point blank.
This job has taught me confidence and helped me to mature into a strong professional. Let’s face it-You have to be strong when you’re the only girl traveling with two male pilots for weeks on end . If this sounds like the job for you don’t give up on your dream too quickly. You will probably get turned down a lot, but as we all know great things never come easy.
Meet Lauren. A Corporate Flight Attendant located in Los Angeles who has been in the industry for four years.
Lauren has traveled all over the world on a variety of airplanes including Gulfstreams, Challengers, Falcons, and Globals. Each aircraft is unique in their flight time capabilities, cabin layouts, and storage space. Although these airplanes are comfortable and glamorous on their own, each passenger has a different expectation for their in-flight experience. Here are few tips for passengers looking to to achieve the highest level of satisfaction…
Tip#1: Articulate your exact needs to your travel broker. An example of passenger needs are: food allergies, budget, luggage size, wifi necessity, etc. It is equally the passengers responsibility to articulate their needs as it is for crew to facilitate those needs.
Tip #2: Dress appropriately for comfort, temperature, and leisure. It is often difficult to access bags in the baggage compartment during flight. Preparing for what you will need during the flight and upon landing will only create added comfort for the passengers.
Tip #3: Communicate and confirm your transportation arrangements to the crew so they can make sure they are standing by. If nothing has been arranged, the crew is able to make those arrangements prior to landing.
Tip #4: Charter companies are responsible for managing the aircraft on behalf of the owners. Therefore, the condition of the airplane must be maintained as best as possible. While chartering a plane, consider that any damage that occurs in the passenger’s possession can be something they are held responsible for. Be mindful of pens, beverage spills, children’s toys, pet damage, and residue tracked through the plane.
So there you have it. I know that’s a lot of info to take in but some dam good tips and knowledge if I do say so myself!
As always if you have any questions please leave them below so we can answer them for you…
Until next time…