A Memorable Holiday: Thanksgiving with Sting & Trudie

People are always asking me about ¬†celebrities and any stories I may have about them. Questions like, who is your favorite celebrity passenger? who was your worst celebrity passenger? etc…

All of us in private aviation sign non-disclosure agreements, so talking about what happens onboard a private jet is a no-no…just like what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas..same motto. What happens in the air, stays in the air. ūüôā¬†¬†Many of us crew members may share our stories with each other but not with the general public. ¬†If we did we wouldn’t have a job for too long. ¬†In fact, we as crew members go out of our way to protect the privacy of our clients.

I can tell this story because it was many years ago and NOT onboard the plane. Plus, it’s a great story!

My pilots and I were flying around the amazingly talented music artist Sting and his band, for his Brand New Day Tour. It was many years ago now and we ended up being in Manhattan, New York for Thanksgiving. Sting asked me what the crew members were doing for Thanksgiving and I said “…its Manhattan, we’ll find plenty of places to eat”. ¬†I ¬†was actually so excited to be in NYC, as I LOVE that city!! The lights, the people, the energy!

Anyway, he then invited us to his home and said Trudie was cooking. I’m pretty sure my mouth dropped open at his invitation. This was Sting inviting us to his home for Thanksgiving, pretty awesome, right?! ¬†That’s just the generous, caring person Sting is. He truly cared about his flight crew having a place to go for the holiday since we were away from our own families.

My pilots and I were like giggly little school kids as we made our way up Central Park to their home.  Once there, Sting & Trudie greeted us at the door and invited us in like we were old friends. They were extremely gracious, kind and giving as they showed us around their home and made us feel welcomed.

There were other celebrities in attendance and the whole experience was so surreal. We were just an ordinary flight crew surrounded by famous people in a beautiful home for Thanksgiving.

So I have to say, Sting is definitely one of my most favorite people that I’ve ever had the privilege of flying. ¬†Not to mention, he invited us to his concerts; after parties and dinners while on the road. It was an absolute blast!!!

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Don’t vacation in North Korea!

ATTENTION ALL READERS! ¬†If you’ve been watching the news lately you know that the fat, extremely ugly, pig-faced kid that is Kim Jun-Un, the supreme dictator of North Korea just had is uncle executed for treason! How preposterous! His uncle was a blood relative, if he could so easily condemn him to death…do you honestly think he cares about anyone other than himself?! ¬†Beware adventure travelers!

Kim Jun-Un’s upbringing is the epitome of the recently coined “Affluenza” defense. The son of a ruthless dictator, the grandson of a ruthless dictator, educated OUTSIDE of North Korea for the obvious reason of there being NO real education in that country, only propaganda and rhetoric.

Anyone thinking about taking a vacation to North Korea, I say…Why?! ¬†It’s a true waste of money. You’d have better luck of winning the lottery than you would of seeing the REAL North Korea. ¬†I know some people are saying it would be “cool” ¬†to see or its a “trendy” place to visit but you’d be (potentially) dead wrong. ¬†Again, beware adventure travelers or vacation thrill seekers.

No tourist will EVER see the real North Korea or the plight of the people!!!

No tourist will ever see the detention/slave camps. No tourist will ever see the masses dying of starvation. No tourist will ever see the brutality being lashed upon its citizens. No tourist will ever meet anyone who has free speech. No tourist will ever meet anyone with free will or civil liberties.

I just bought a great book entitled “Escape from Camp 14”. Its about a north korean man who escaped the slave camp that he was born and raised in. He knew no other world existed. His story is gut-wrenching and heartbreaking and should be a must read for anyone wanting a better understanding of life in North Korea. It should be mandatory for anyone thinking about traveling to North Korea as a “destination vacation” spot.

How could anyone consider North Korea a vacation spot knowing this information?  If by chance you, the tourist, did happen to see something the North Korean pig-faced dictator did not want you to see, then you may be held captive for some random, made-up bullshit charge and imprisoned. Then and only then, would you truly see the REAL North Korea.

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WARNING: Fake Aviation Pilot Licenses May Be Rampant In Russia

Many of us may already know that Russia has the worst aviation safety history, but it’s now coming to light that airline pilots for small regional carriers may have obtained fake pilot licenses.

Why any sane person would think they could fly a plane without extensive instruction, skill and practice just boggles my mind! There are some professions that you CANNOT fake, being an aviation pilot is at the TOP of the list!!! (the other would be a fake sign language interpreter in South Africa, but I’ll save that story for another article) ūüôā

It’s already incomprehensible to many including myself, how aircraft get off the ground and are able to fly in the first place. ¬†Aircraft designers and engineers have my utmost respect! All hail the Wright Brothers and other aviation pioneers who’ve now made global travel an everyday experience.

This disturbing news about fake licenses is now being investigated after the recent commercial crash of ¬†Tatarstan Airlines¬†earlier last month that killed all 50 onboard. The captain is believed to have had a fake pilot’s license!!!!

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Here’s how the debacle breaks down. First, there’s been a shortage of new qualified and trained Russian pilots; that coupled with the demand for more travel within Russia and neighboring countries lead¬†the government to outsource pilot training & certification to sometimes shady companies. These local flight centers may have cut corners for profit by essential giving unqualified people a pilots’ license, in essence you could buy your license without having the skill or training so inherently required.

In an earlier article I talked about the passing of my good friend Josef Vasicek, who was killed along with his hockey teammates in a plane crash in Russia in 2011.  The cause of his crash was deemed pilot error and it seems his pilots were also inadequately trained on the aircraft they were flying. They were pushing the brakes for take-off instead of giving it the speed needed to get off the ground!!! A stupid freaking mistake that killed many wonderful and deeply missed people. It breaks my heart.

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Current reports are saying the fake licenses may be limited to small regional russian carriers, but I believe with further investigations it may be found out to be more widespread and not limited to russian made aircraft. The Tatarstan Airlines aircraft was a Boeing 737, a reliable American made aircraft but in the hands of incompetent wanna-be pilots.

Has anyone ever seen President Putin getting off a commercial aircraft? I would almost wager a bet that Russian President Vladmir Putin travels exclusively on private jets….and that his pilots are either American or British.

Warning to all reading this article: ¬†Don’t book the cheapest airline carrier when traveling in that region, find a reputable (non-russian) operator to fly with, your odds of getting to your destination may be greatly increased.

My exciting encounter with Mr. Jon Voight! …I’m a huge fan!!

I recently had the privilege and pleasure of flying around the charismatic ¬†and compassionate, Mr. Jon Voight! I adore and respect this amazing man and actor immensely. I’ve probably seen every movie he’s ever been in from Midnight Cowboy (one of my favorite classic movies) to his most recent project Showtime’s Ray Donovan…and everything in between! What a great actor!

We are not allowed to ask for pictures with celebrities but sometimes the universe smiles upon us and we are asked to take pictures with them. That is the case with this photo. The person who took it was kind enough to send it to me, therefore I can share it with everyone. Mr. Voight was so gracious and caring of everyone onboard, making certain others were taken care of before himself. ¬†I only have praise for him and could ramble on way longer than I’m going to but I will say… this man is a true gentleman and a class act!

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My Interview with the Affable and Amazing Race (season 22) Winner: Bates Battaglia

I first met Bates or (Bates-cee as I call him) back in 1999, when I was a flight attendant for the NHL Carolina Hurricanes and he was a player on their team. Back then he had long shoulder length hair, that he would sometimes slick back and look like a true guido (Italian-American). With his good looks, status as a pro-athlete and his “fat paycheck” Bates has been considered by many to be a “player”, no pun intended. ¬†Why not? He’s young, single, handsome and extremely charming, I say make the most of it!

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Of course, the men admire ¬†his conquests while the women involved are less enthusiastic about his escapades. ¬†A teammate once told me he was in admiration of Bates’ ability to attract women.

In talking with Bates, he’s always very gregarious, has a self-deprecating sense of humor and a quick wit. He also has a mischievous smile, which always makes me wonder what he’s up to.

KA: What is your most memorable moment was while playing in the NHL?

BB: “Best moment would be playing in the stanley cup finals in 2002, unfortunately we lost but it was my worst and¬†best hockey moment. I got to play in the finals but we lost.”

KA: When did you retire from playing professional hockey?

BB: “I retired in 2012.”

KA:¬†¬†When did you open your bar? ¬†What’s the name of it and why did you choose to open a bar?

BB: “We opened Lucky b’s — ¬†www.luckybsbar.com in 2005. I opened it cause I knew I couldn’t play hockey forever so I needed some thing to fall back on and …oh, did I mention I like beer.”

Bates Battaglia is his name and his jersey number was #13 when he played with the Carolina Hurricanes. Hence, the name Lucky B’s 13.

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Earlier this year Bates and his brother Anthony, won season 22 of the Amazing Race 2013.  They split a million dollars in prize money.

KA: Did the producers tell you why they picked you and Anthony out of the thousands of contestants?

BB: “They didn’t tell us exactly why but I assume because we are awesome- haha. I do think ¬†because I had hockey hair and Anthony had hockey teeth…and we were pretty comfortable on camera.”

KA: What did you do with your winnings, if anything?

BB: “We’ve been pretty conservative with our winnings. Anthony and I have talked about possibly opening an italian restaurant… and as far as the trips we won, we haven’t taken them yet but donated one of them to charity.

images-1 images-2¬† ¬† ¬†If you’re ever in Raleigh, North Carolina stop by Lucky B’s 13 and say “Hello” to Bates, tell him you read this article and ask for a free drink. ūüôā

1262844_10152183506813448_1340608923_o    Me & Bates-cee back in the day!

In Remembrance Of My Friend ~ “Little” Josef Vasicek

It’s always heartbreaking when someone you know dies so young and tragically, my sweet friend Josef is one of those people, he was only 3o years old. ¬†I remember the first time I met him, he was a rookie with the NHL Carolina Hurricanes and he was boarding the team plane. He was only 19 years old and just came to the states from the Czech Republic. He had the “deer-in-the-headlights” look about a lot of things, since everything was so foreign to him. He was living with a host family in Raleigh, North Carolina to help him acclimate to his new environment. His first season with the team he barely spoke any English and I knew some of our conversations were getting lost in translation. I started referring to him as “little Josef” even though he was over 6ft /3in. He was just a sweet kid who was always smiling. ¬†Every time I saw him he was smiling. He had a big beautiful smile and you could see the innocence in his face. ¬† Josef tried to teach me how to golf, he would take me to the course and patiently cheer me on as I tried to hit that little freaking ball. Professional hockey players are also excellent golfers, almost all of them!

His teammates on the plane used to harass him for fun because he ate a lot of czech food that sometimes gave him bad breath. ¬†When we’d pass around the gum/mint basket the guys would tell me to give him the entire basket. They all loved “little” Josef too.

Over the 8 years that I worked with the Carolina Hurricanes, I really enjoyed watching Josef blossom into a fine, upstanding young man.  Imagine watching a flower bloom but in slow motion, its a beautiful site with many layers of time passing to create the end result, a beautiful one-of-a-kind flower, that was Josef Vasicek. I know he would probably laugh knowing I was comparing him to a flower but he was a sensitive soul and would understand my compliment.

It was wonderful to see his progress every year and how he became more westernized over time. We would talk about girls, sports, his homeland and life in general. I really bonded with this amazing young man. I felt like he was a little brother to me, someone you wanted to protect and shield from the trappings of being a pro athlete. The Carolina Hurricanes did that for him. They watched over him, nurtured him and guided him.

When Josef retired from the NHL he returned to europe and began playing for the russian team, Locomotiv Yaroslavl. They were considered the premiere professional ice hockey team, having many other former NHL players and coaching staff on the team. Tragically, Josef and his ¬†teammates were killed in a plane crash in 2011. ¬†There were many other wonderful men who died in that awful crash but I ¬†personally only knew “little” Josef.

I hate to hear about any tragic loss of life but I’m extremely bothered when it involves a plane crash. It always gives me pause considering my profession but private jets are safe, as are commercial aircraft in America. The team was flying on an older model Russian made aircraft. I will leave my comments at that…for now.

The pictures I have are my personal ones. Josef laying on the couch inside the aircraft, one of his fans professing her love for #63 at a game and Josef with teammate Shane Willis at Sullivan’s restaurant in Raleigh, North Carolina.

I’ve always said that death puts life into perspective. ¬†Josef is definitely missed by many but I want to celebrate his life and the good memories I have of him.

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How fun does this sound?……

Riding elephants in Thailand   *   Skydiving in Australia  *
 Biking down an active volcano in Hawaii  * Skiing in the Swiss Alps
Catamaraning in St. Tropez   *  Snorkeling in Tahiti  *  
Taking a gondola ride in Venice, Italy  *
Visiting the amazing Louvre Museum in Paris
Attending movie premieres around the world  *
Sunbathing in the Dead Sea  
Climbing the Great Wall of China *  Riding camels in Egypt  
* Watching the Northern Lights at 42,000ft
All these adventures and thousands more are afforded flight attendants and crews on private jets.
Best of all, we get paid to have these fun-filled adventures!!!!
As a corporate flight attendant, I have one of the coolest jobs on the planet!! Many times, its like I get paid to go on vacation.  Every trip (adventure) is different; different clients, aircraft, operators and destinations.

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If this type of career interests you, check out my company’s website at http://www.jetsetaviation.com to learn more. ¬†You can also send me an email to kimberlyn@jetsetaviation.com

The Venerable Nelson Mandela ~ R.I.P.

ven·er·a·ble

adjective
  1. accorded a great deal of respect, esp. because of age, wisdom, or character.
    “a venerable statesman”
    This word partially sums up the great Nelson Mandela. He was many things to so many people but he was always a man of dignity and courage. ¬†Most of us know his story about being the first black South-African president but he was 71 years old at the time. Why did it take so long? Because the all white ruling government threw him in jail for 27 years prior! Can anyone reading this truly imagine being imprisoned for 27 years because of their skin color and ideology?! ¬†I don’t want to get into the political struggles and Apartheid of South-Africa, if you’re interested in history and oppression of a people, research it. ¬†I’m always amazed at the cruelty of humans to one another. ¬†Mr. Mandela has left an indelible mark upon society and the world. ¬†We should all strive to be the absolute best person we can be and to respect everyone we meet.
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Artists United for Social Justice (AUSJ)

My friend, actor/ director and all around great guy Michael Cory Davis, founded this wonderful non-profit.  Michael has been an active crusader for many years now, long before media outlets and other organizations began highlighting the issue.

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AUSJ is dedicated to eradicating human slavery, also known as human (sex) trafficking. Most people have no idea this issue is happening all over the world; especially in our local neighborhoods and cities. Michael and AUSJ work with local, state and federal agencies as well as other organizations aimed at stopping human trafficking. He’s active in legislative reform and protection for those victimized and host seminars to high school youth worldwide; making them aware of what human trafficking is. Words cannot begin to express all the amazing things Michael and his organization are accomplishing …but he still needs our help.

Please visit his website at http://www.ausj.org  or his personal website at http://www.michaelcorydavis.com for more information on this amazing and worthwhile grass-roots non-profit.

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