I once had the privilege of meeting director Kathryn Bigelow, and must admit I was in awe of her. Most of us know she won an oscar for her film, The Hurt Locker. Her latest film, Zero Dark Thirty has drawn a lot of accolades and controversy; mainly because it has touched a nerve with our government and the powers-that-be regarding how war and sensitive classified information is handled. She is super-duper sweet, humble, kind, beautiful, intelligent, gracious and many other positive/ descriptive adjectives. I’ve flown with many famous people throughout the years but she’s one of the few that have left an indelible mark on me. We should all strive to be like her; she’s genuinely nice, compassionate and caring of others. She has a calming presence about her. It must be an absolute pleasure to get to work with or for her. She has my utmost respect and admiration. I will always be a fan of hers.
EVERYONE in private aviation who’s ever been to Montreal or Toronto, Canada knows Markus Brucks. He is the definitive go-to guy in FBO services. His outgoing personality and knowledge of how to utilize every inch of cargo space has earned him an excellent reputation with professional sports teams and other operators carrying heavy cargo loads.
I met Markus 15 years ago when I starting flying with the NHL Carolina Hurricanes hockey team, back then he was working in Montreal, Canada at St. Hubert airport (CYHU). He was truly a one-man show at that tiny airport. He’s professional yet fun-loving and truly enjoys his job. He has worked with every major NHL and MLB sports team over the years. He’s the best at it and his passion shines through in his work! Besides working with sports teams, he’s responsible for interacting with all foreign dignitaries, including the royal families of Saudi Arabia.
In 2003, while being recruited by several companies, Landmark Aviation (back then it was Piedmont Aviation) in Toronto offered him a management position as Director of Operations and he’s been there ever since. Markus is considered the “go-to guy” because he can assist you with anything in Toronto, not just aviation related.
As with all of us in private aviation, we have some stories we can tell so I asked Markus if he had a favorite client or story he could share. This was his reply.
“That’s a good one. I have so many but one that sticks out is when I was able to meet Tina Turner. A number of years back she was in Toronto to promote a new album and the night she was flying out I found out she and her passengers had to get screened before boarding the aircraft. She was the last to get screened and because the ramp was a bit slippery I asked if I could assist her. She said yes and I gave her my arm and she wrapped her arm around mine. I walked with her for about 300 feet to the aircraft and I felt…I can’t even describe it. Except. WOW. I had Tina Turner on my arm.” ~ Markus Brucks
I have to say that in all my years of being in aviation, Markus is hands-down one of the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting and working with.
In recent years Markus has finally met the woman of his dreams, gotten married and started working on growing his own family. He tells me he’s 2 kids short of a hockey team. How apropo.
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!
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!
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.
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.
Flying on a private jet should mean being pampered to the best abilities that money can buy, right? Not always so. On a recent trip I had the opportunity to fly with operator “X”. The aircraft was a 2012 but the couch and side wall inside the cabin were already stained. As the flight attendant, I had requested pillows, blankets and comforters to make comfy beds for my clients and I was told the following by an “X” employee:
“X” provides (4) airline sized pillows and (4) blankets …even though there are 8 seats in aircraft.
If a client wants more pillows, blankets, comforters etc.. operator “X” charges the following:
Cabin Amenities – Bedding Sets
A complete bedding set can be ordered for $250 per set
Complete bedding sets include one (1) of the following*:
· Inflatable mattress or mattress pas
· Twin flat sheet
· Twin fitted sheet
· Twin comforter
· Standard sized pillow
· Standard sized pillow case
*Any items ordered individually will be charged back to the client at quoted amount. If more than one full set is requested, then each set is $250.
Let me prefix my next paragraph by saying that not all private jets are equipped with real dishes, especially the ones that do not typically have a flight attendant onboard. This was the case with the Challenger aircraft I was flying on. What I can’t understand and the point of the story is the complete lack of customer service by the operator. At least pretend to give a crap about my clients’ requests.
I was told there was no real dishes on-board, only plastic. If I wanted dishes, I had to bring them myself or order them for the caterer, which made absolutely no sense! Can you believe it?! Clients pay thousands of dollars to travel on a private jet and they don’t even give you real dishes if you’re requesting it????
Here is the reply I received regarding cabin stock and dishware.
Here is a list of standard on-board service ware on our fleet, and attached above is our standard stock list.
· 8 crystal tumblers
· 8 crystal wine glasses
· 1 wine opener
· Clear plastic plates, the amount varies by aircraft
· Set-ups (includes plastic spoon, fork, knife, and paper napkin) amount varies by aircraft
· Standard silverware (forks, spoons, knives, steak knives) each to serve 8 PAX
*** NOTE: We do not stock champagne flutes, we must order these directly with the caterer whenever we are asked to order champagne
I must admit I was really taken aback by operator “X”s lack of customer service or care regarding my clients. It almost felt like I was traveling on a cattle call carrier much like commercial travel is now, with “add-ons” costing extra money.
In all my years of being a flight attendant I’ve never had an experience like this. Most operators will go out of their way to provide clients whatever they need. Even if it’s not an item an operator usually stocks, they will generally purchase requested items to ensure the clients satisfaction.
The nice thing I can say about my experience was that the pilots were really friendly and helpful.