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.
Living Out Of A Suitcase~ The Life of a Corporate Flight Attendant
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.
Jet Setting Flight Attendant ~ traveling the world!
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
UPDATE: REGARDING THE REBOUND TAG….
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
Markus Brucks; Director of Operations @ Landmark Aviation in Toronto, Canada
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.
An interesting new product for avid travelers; The Rebound Tag
I recently read about this new product called the Rebound Tag, which is a microchip baggage tag. Here’s what the website http://www.reboundtag.com had to say about it.
“ReboundTAG is integrated with global baggage handling systems so that when your bags has been found you receive updates by phone and email. It is designed to incorporate every available technology that is authorised by airlines.
The ReboundTAG has two RFID (radio frequency identification) microchips inside, one of them has a permanent identifier while the other is programmed to take flight details whenever you travel through an airport using microchips; airports using a standard IATA microchip system will automatically encode the flight details onto the ReboundTAG (you do not need to do anything). ReboundTAGs also have a barcode and number printed on them so that they work where there are no microchip readers, but currently 80% of hub airports, where most bags are lost, use microchips.
When your bag gets lost, an airline can identify it using either the microchip, barcode or number. You then get updates by SMS to your phone and also by email as ReboundTAG is integrated with baggage handling companies. They can also see your flight details encoded on the tag if you have been through a microchip enabled airport.
You can choose to keep your details anonymous so that no airlines can see who you are, but you will still get automatic updates through our secure web system.
In addition to this, you can go to your ReboundTAG Member’s Area and enter your lost bag unique number, given to you by your airline, which we will then forward to our baggage handling company partners. They will then look through the global lost luggage databases to find your bag and keep you updated by phone and email when the bag is found. Airlines often enter lost bag data incorrectly (colour of the bag etc); our partners will look through the databases to find your lost bag in places where automated computer systems would not find it if it has been entered incorrectly by an airline.”
Here is my question. What happens if your tag is removed from your bag, such as being lost or stolen? Then what? If its stolen can that person then turn around and use my tag for themselves or is it like an Iphone that you can disable it from working all together? That is not being explained as far as I can tell by the website. Many of us, including myself have experienced losing the tag from our suitcase. Since this tag roughly costs $48.00 (I say roughly because the website sells it in Euro’s and that fluctuates regularly) I would be highly upset if it went missing. Also, each year you’re required to pay a membership fee of roughly $14.00.
I think its a cool concept but would want my questions answered and the price more affordable before I bought it.
For the man who has everything: A bullet proof suitcase!
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:
Tegra-Lite® is a breakthrough travel collection that combines the highest levels of durability and impact resistance with the ultimate in lightweight ease and maneuverability. Tegra-Lite® is made from Tegris®, a revolutionary polypropylene thermoplastic composite material created by Milliken® for use in lifesaving armor, NASCAR race cars and protective gear for NFL players; it is exclusive to Tumi for travel and accessory products around the world.
This lightweight, hardside carry-on is our most compact wheeled carry-on design for those who travel domestically and internationally. It has four 360° swivel wheels for effortless maneuverability. Among the many technological and functional advancements of Tegra-Lite® is Tumi’s patented X-Brace 45® handle system that adds structural rigidity to the case and prevents damage to the handle. The cases are lined and feature interior accessory pockets and tie-down straps, TSA integrated locks, bottom grab handle and exterior bumpers for added protection.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
This section is dedicated to some amazing women in aviation, many of whom are corporate flight attendants. Each month we will feature another fabulous flight attendant.
This month we are featuring: Jenne Kang
Jenne has been a contract corporate flight attendant for the past couple of years. She lives in LA, is single and speaks several languages including Korean, English & Spanish.
Jenne grew up in Brooklyn, NY and graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Dentistry.
She lived in Seoul, South Korea for 5 years where she was a travel correspondent for CNN. She traveled Asia showcasing exotic foods and beautiful beaches. She relocated to Los Angeles 9 years ago to pursue her journalistic and acting pursuits. She’s been featured in many TV shows.
Paper or Plastic…..no real dishes? What?!
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.