Fine Tuning A Craft
Corporate Flight Attendant
Every profession has well-defined roles within it. Aviation, the military and medicine lead the way in articulating precise roles within specific chains of command. Some of the support roles have more flexibility and can be adjusted to fit a client’s needs and should be to make sure we remain responsive in this fluid and competitive environment.
The corporate flight attendant is one of these roles and is a spectacular way to allow a private jet to become a true personal asset for an individual or corporation. Make no mistake about it, the flight attendant is primarily on board for safety reasons and is highly trained in skills that nobody ever even wants to think about. Repetitive drills make a flight attendant’s reactions instinctive in an emergency to fight a fire, evacuate, triage, provide medical support and assist the crew. He or she is a piece of safety equipment you want on every flight. Nobody really wants to think about that, though, so the tendency is towards either preferring he or she to be a culinary wonder or deciding that the aircraft is fine without an attendant.
Maybe it’s time to rethink the utility factor of this person for some of you that think an “attendant” is unnecessary. Per usual, we start with the highly trained and qualified safety person as mentioned above. Over the years, though, I have heard a few requests or concerns more often than others, and let’s look at those to see if we can’t compose someone that you might find truly useful on the road:
- Privacy: The big one. Many corporate clients and high profile individuals are concerned about having another set of eyes and ears on board. The simple fact is that if you have concerns about a person, you have hired the wrong person. You have surrounded yourself carefully within your corporate culture with a trusted few, you can devote the same process in hiring a flight attendant. A highly trained flight attendant has also trained in etiquette and protocols to work with world leaders and understands that one slip of the tongue means no job.
- I just don’t see the added value: Your corporate flight attendant learns a lot about your personal profile to make sure he or she can anticipate and provide for your needs on the road. That person could do a lot with that if asked to. With an agreement on structuring the position, your flight attendant can become your right arm on the road leaving you free to focus on the business at hand.
- Your PA’s assistant: Your PA has to stay behind typically to keep things running while you are away and to get things to you that you need. Hire a flight attendant with computer skills and organizational skills that can liaise with your PA and you have the perfect solution on the road. Your flight attendant becomes a real asset on and off the plane during your entire trip which now runs smoothly from start to finish.
- Logistical Point Person: Your PA is highly trained and can handle a lot of your business. Your flight attendant is actually out on the road with you and is the natural choice to handle last minute changes with accommodations, ground transportation and luggage transfer. You can remove the middle person and give that job to someone who can keep their eye on it and see what’s going on in real time. Your PA can keep their eye on the ball in the office.
- Cabin Manager: It’s your airplane; make it yours! Make it an office, convert it to a living room when you aren’t working. Eat light, eat grand, but by all means create what you want. Have your “road PA” handle all of that and keep your aircraft ready for you. The cabin is another small business and it needs to be run efficiently to run smoothly.
I’m not proposing changing the definition of the position for everybody to this concept. There will be eyebrows raised. The idea is this: a private jet is not a mass-market item. The person who goes out and spends upwards of $50,000,000 on a jet has very specific needs. I think it might just be a good idea to embrace this opportunity to hone our product to meet those needs. The flight attendant is a support role that allows the flexibility to customize the position to provide the exact end-product that each owner desires.