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.
I’ve been a corporate flight attendant for 16 years now and my job allows me to meet and interact with many famous people. Celebrities, Rockstars, Politicians, Foreign Dignitaries, former Presidents, Professional Athletes and Billionaire Internet Entrepreneurs to just name a few, without actually naming them. I get to live vicariously through my clients. If they are going around the world promoting a new movie then the flight crew is typically invited to some, if not all the premieres. If we’re flying around a band on tour, then the crew is generally invited to the concerts, given backstage access and attends many of the after parties.
These are just some of the experiences and events we are afforded by being a crew member on private jets. The celebrities allow us into their worlds, often treating us like friends or family. (Check out a previous post regarding me having Thanksgiving dinner at Sting & Trudie’s house one year.) Private jet flight attendants and pilots can become spoiled because we truly live above our means when on the road. We stay a great hotels, even luxury ones…we are given a daily per diem, our rental cars and other means of transportation are paid for etc.. It’s like getting paid to go on a vacation. I’ve been blessed to have been able to travel the world, see some amazing sites and have some unbelievable adventures, all the while getting paid to do it! Corporate flight attendants and pilots get paid for every day that we are away from our home base, mine being Los Angeles, whether we are actually flying or not. Cool, right?!
I’ve given you some of the pro’s of what I do, now let me give you some of the cons.
On the flip side, I’ve missed out on many events with my friends and family over the years…birthdays, weddings, births, funerals, showers, receptions etc… So much so that many are not in my life anymore. I live out of a suitcase and I’m on-call 24/7. It’s hard to plan vacations or even getaways because of my spontaneous work schedule, plus I work for myself so sometimes it can feel like a constant hustle.
It can be a lonely existence on the road. Sometimes you are in romantic locales like Bora Bora, Tahiti (which I was in last week) but you have no one to share the moment with. I’ve seen hundreds (if not thousands) of places over the years that I wished I had someone I cared about to view them with. Most private jets only have 1 flight attendant so you’re constantly by yourself. Another downside, if you’re single it’s impossible to have a pet, specifically a dog and I’m a dog lover!
Being a corporate flight attendant is more of a lifestyle than a job or career. It gets into your blood, when your feet are on the ground too long we become restless and are ready to take to the skies again. It could be compared to an addict that starts to “jones” if they don’t get their fix. Therein lies the rub with this profession.
If anyone is interested in learning more about becoming a corporate flight attendant and the requirements, check out my company website @ http://www.jetsetaviation.com. We train and certify those wanting careers as corporate flight attendants.
Talk about the saying: “have bags, will travel!” The Christmas/New Year’s holiday is always a busy time for all private jet flight flight attendants, pilots and other crew members. Within in the past two months I’ve been to the following cities and countries:
Johannesburg, south africa
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
New York, New York
I was recently contacted by Max from Rebound Tag about the article I wrote on their product, the Rebound ID baggage tag. Max answered my questions regarding what happens if tag was lost or stolen. Here’s his reply “FYI if a tag ever got damaged or stolen we would always be happy to replace it for free (including postage).”
Regarding the pricing here’s his reply “Re: the price it really reflects the cost of incorporating every technology and service available from airlines and baggage handling systems right now…some of these can be expensive from our end, but we have designed a product and service that essentially has everything rolled in to one for our members.”
Max and the good people of Rebound Tag have offered me a free Rebound Tag product to try out. I still have to pay for the service but they are giving me the tag. I will write another update after I try out the tag for a few months. Considering I’ve been to 10 countries in the past month, traveling both commercially and working on private jets, this will be a true test of how reliable the product is. Stay Tuned for updates!
Check out their website http://www.reboundtag.com
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 want one!!! This suitcase is lightweight, stylish and can stop a speeding bullet!! James Bond kinda stuff. It also comes in some cool colors and costs between $500 – $700. I think this product is a MUST-HAVE for the refined affluent traveler on private jets. Check out Tumi’s website @ http://www.tumi.com for more info.
Here’s what Tumi says about this new product:
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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. 🙂 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!!!
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.