Hi everyone- I've just been head hunted to work on a private jet for a middle-eastern businessman/family. It's month on month off mainly flying to and from the Middle-East and Europe. I've been cabin crew in business/first class for 8yrs now but have NO experience or knowledge on/of priv jets. Any info and advice would be GREATLY appreciated.
Won't really be CC as you would most likely be working by yourself. I would assume you would be expected to act more like a servant than a Flight Attendant. On the other hand you may have a better quality of life (ground time / pay). 1 month on spending most of your time in a hotel as opposed to a rigid schedule may be nice, depending on your personality.
Although you usually stay in 5* hotels and travel 'J' class you never have time to yourself. You are at the beck and call of your company 24/7.
If the wife suddenly wants to go to Paris shopping then they call and expect you to go at the drop of a hat. Or even a meeting the other side of the world!
Depending on the aircraft size you are responsible for all the catering uplifts along with all the aircraft cleaning and servicing, fresh linen supplies etc. Depending who you are working for, you will probably be catering for the security staff as well as guests.
My opinion, after having been in the vip industry for 3 years as a cabin crew member, is that moneywise of course it's preferable. You can't compare this salary to the salaries of commercial airlines. However, as previously mentioned, there are lots of things that make you sometimes forget that you actually are a cabin crew member and not a personal assistant. First of all you don't have a schedule therefore u can't plan anything in your personal life. You may be one month on and a month off but this is not actually correct (at least in my case...) The month on could easily be extended due to crew shortage or simply the fact that the aircraft could be somewhere very far from your country and the company would rather extend your duty instead of paying for expensive tickets to send you back home and replace you. Another thing is that you are the one to take care of the aircraft's cleanliness (washing dishes, cleaning cabin and toilets e.t.c.). And the worst for me was the fact that when i was done with the flight, my duty would never end at that moment. Even if i was in my hotel room i would be busy with the catering orders, especially if there was a change in the departure day or time, a constant stress! And that's because you will not always find yourself in places where communication with the local companies is easy... Finally i have to mention that after a while you will have the feeling that the aircraft and the hotel room is your home and you lose track of your real home and life due to the long time absence. Regarding the personal life, well it's up to you... but it's not easy! Of course if you are young, independent and want to travel around the world and gain a lot of money, go for it! However after some years it gets quite tiring. This is all from my personal experience, whatever yor decision is, i wish you the best of luck!!!
The fact that you have been crew on a commercial(KLM?) airline helps alot but certainly doesn't prepare you for everything that is "private aviation". I also had 12 years commercial experience but had to adjust to the fact that you duty never really ends.... You'll be most likely be given a phone and that is where work starts and social/private life ends!
Make sure you learn all about food preparation, ingredients, international cuisine, learn how to prepare good food in a very small galley (if not on a heavy jet), talk to other flight attendants, be patient and EXTREMELY flexible.
There is a big difference between flying exclusively for an owner or flying charters. With an owner you might luck out and end up with a friendly owner , but you can easily be made aware that you are staff and nothing more, depends on the owner/family. With charters you'll never know what you get, it can be a struggle sometimes regarding ordering catering when brokers want you to get specific stuff that, in the end, the clients didn't even care/ask for! All in all I would give it a try, see how you like it. It definately isn't everyones cup of tea and many don't last long for that reason. Veel plezier!
Congratulations for a new job opportunity! Depends on how you got head hunt, but the owner of the private jet? Or by a jet company? I would say if you don't knew much about the industry, all the friend advice from all the crew here are very helpful and true. Private life and your preferred life style need to be taken into serious consideration as you are yes, 24/7 in call. As in the UAE, unless you are part of or understands the culture very well, you could be just a 'servant' to the owner; since you can't choose owner if you are just joining a company, it will really be your lucky day if you end up with a flexible and understanding boss. Otherwise, life could be hell, I simple go to work for better money (yes way better the being the 'red army'), otherwise that there is no job satisfaction, you simple just your around and be away from home, that also depends how busy and how often your boss flies. Sometimes, the aircraft could be owned by several owners and that means you will be on your feet almost 360 days a year! Others, in commercial, you can just have to bear with some disgusting crew for a trip, and that is it, you may never see them again, but here in private, you stuck with the same pilots for as long as...who knows. Sometimes the pilots in private has very different mentality than commercial pilots. Last, all the best whatever you decide.
The reality of Corporate CC in ME depends to a certain extent to the country based. it certainly depends on if your recruitment is via an agency, a management company or direct...
It can, as previously mentioned be the best job in the world, or the worst. yes it is a combination of the rest of the crew, as well as the owner... if the aircraft is "managed" then you have slightly better protection.
I am based in ME, on Corporate jets, (all my life), so might have some more specific input.
First of you are not cabin crew...most times you are not considered crew on the plane you may be manifested as a passenger. You are indeed a type of servant while working in the middle east. You will order all the catering so you will need to know the best restaurants and corporate catering firms around the world. You will need to spruce up the cabin, wash dishes, handle having the linens laundered, purchase general supplies for the aircraft i.e. toilet paper, soft drinks, tissues etc.
In the USA you are not permitted to perform first aid, command an evacuation/ditching or operate the AED unless you have been trained by the specific company you are working for. If you are working for a family and the aircraft is not used for charter, you really will be responsible for EVERYTHING from picking up dry cleaning to changing diapers! (If there are children hopefully there is a nanny).
Pay for a cabin attendant on a private owned aircraft full time should be approximately 7000 USD per month. Or 85,000USD per year.
If you work for a charter operator a daily rate is 500USD per day international and 450USD per day domestic.
In the USA Oprah pays her flight attendants 110,000USD per year. Wing Aviation in Houston pays theirs 85,000USD per year. A private flight attendant friend on a Global Express in the USA makes 95,000USD per year another on a GV in San Francisco makes 100,000USD per year.
This is indeed the going rate in the USA for either FAA part 91 or 135. Due to the economy there are some corporate flight attendants that will work for 65,000USD per year but those are mostly ones with limited experience.
Most crew are house trained, but not all are potty trained........ a recent young lady complained about my aim, you might be able too land in cat 2, but there is an aiming point in the toilet too.......
7000 US salary is what we would all like to see, but nearer 5000...sorry....
ladyinred- congrats on a new job when the industry is relatively sluggish at the moment. Having worked in the middle east and now currently in the uk as private cc, and previously for a major me airline, I can say that I love being private jet crew. Yes, you will work exceedingly hard, all the 101 things that "other" people think about when you fly commercial such as cleaning and catering and security and pax loads and baggage etc etc etc will all be down to you. You will sometimes reach your hotel at 3am for a 9am start the next day (flight time limitations seem to be "stretched" in private!), and rather than sleep you have to source milk, canapes, flowers....
But you also get to be in charge of your own plane. You get to call the shots as to how you serve, your orders; you will form a bond with your flight deck that no commercial fa's can achieve- I adore my flight deck more than anything, and love having the time to properly attend to each passenger and crew individually. you can really shine in this industry.
Month on month off is a fabulous roster, and as for being a "servant" in the middle east, as long as you are aware of your conditions before you land there- saudi is very different to dubai for instance- then you should be ok.
My only advice would be to buy a second wallet and keep the business cards of hotels / catering companies / florists etc from wherever you land- you never know when you're suddenly going to land into Timbuktu and need to find stuffed mushrooms......
The following is an excerpt from an article written by John Deakin for Avweb when he was flying a corporate jet. It gives some insights into the role of the flight attendant.
The flight attendant on these airplanes can make or break the flight, and the business, possibly making her (they are overwhelmingly female) the most important crewmember on the flight. We pilots have very little exposure to the clients, other than meeting and greeting, and saying goodbye. One pilot usually does baggage duty, not meeting the passengers at all, except when coming forward through the cabin for takeoff.
But the FA is right there in close proximity, the entire time. She orders the catering, and must be acutely aware of the needs and desires of the customers, with no fallback if they don't like what she has ordered and prepared. One group asked for "BBQ" on the way home. The FA found a local famous BBQ, and the three of us went to lunch there, to check it out. She ordered take out for the next day, quite an assortment for eight, but no pork. When asked, she just smiled gently, and said, "Our passengers are Jewish." I never would have thought of that! Catering is extensive, and expensive, for some passengers really want what they want, right down to the brand name of bottled water. Others just say, "Oh, get a couple deli sandwiches, or something." It is a job I could not do. The in-flight portion can be easy on the FA with just one or two passengers, but with any more than that, it's a nightmare for the FA, and she'll be working hard the entire flight. All of ours attend annual emergency training, and are fully equivalent to airline FAs in that regard. Other operators stint on that training, call their FAs "Stewardesses," and place all the responsibility for emergencies on the flight crew. Since the airplane cannot hold more than 19 passengers, there is no legal requirement for anyone in the cabin at all, and some of the smaller airlines take advantage of that, too. I'd much rather have a well-trained FA back there, thank you very much. In any emergency, the pilots are going to have quite enough to do up front.
Hope you don't mind an old pilot who's never worked in corporate jets butting in to say how fascinating it is to read all the comments. Nearest I've done is flying a six seat air taxi and that was all DIY from stopping at 'phone box on way in to get weather and route info to bills (once wrote personal cheque for fuel) to selling duty free en route I was close to getting into your line of work in 1997 for a well known shopkeeper (who, shortly afterwards, lost his royal warrant) but went to Cathay instead. From the personal security angle, I'd hope that the pilots would travel to and from the airport with you even when you have to wait to sort out catering/cleaning etc. Don't give 'em food poisoning
You Know....I have to take exception with some of these comments...As THE Captian of 2 seperate Saudi Royal Flight 727's my F/A's didn't do maintenance...They were very skilled individuals who provided more than VVIP service...
They did however, at my direction, clean, vaccum, and polish the cabin after every flight...The cockpit crew assisted in these duties as we all wanted to get to the hotac as soon as possible after an 18-24 hour day...My hat is off to Suzanne, Vanessa, "One-Eye Deb and Kahlid al-....(I know their names but won't mention them...they know who they are...
crewmeal, Sheik's A380. Interesting to see how that may work at major airports around the world: e.g. Could The Man live on board and benefit from free security or would leaving and entering the airport, even via the general aviation terminal, be too much of a hassle? Could one take 'guests' back to the ship for cocktails? I doubt that the usual packet of fags to the local gangway guard would work as they did in my MN days or canoodling in the cockpit of an RAF jet - yes, did that too