To be completely honest, there is no other profession in the whole entire world that is “more me” than being a yacht stewardess.
However, there is one that is “almost” there: being a Coporate Flight Attendant.
If you have followed me for a while, you will know that one of the highlights of my career was traveling on my principal’s private plane.
It was not one of those little planes, half planes, half helicopters (whatever they are called…All CFA’s reading, please don’t hate me… haha)
It was a full-fledged airplane.
With its leather sofas, marble bathrooms, its kitchenette, its crew …
And all those things that I had only seen in the movies before.
And, that, its crew, especially the wonderful corporate flight attendant who served us during that trip, was what captivated me for life …
The first time I flew private was BEFORE I joined the first yacht I worked on.
I had not even set foot on a super yacht yet, therefore, I had absolutely no clue what being a superyacht stewardess meant.
As I always say, I don’t know how I got SO lucky…
The owners of my first yacht, taking advantage of the fact that they were in Madrid (and was I) and had to travel from Madrid to England (where the yacht was docked at that time) gave me the opportunity to travel with them.
On their private plane!
I, of course, could not believe it…
As soon as I got on that plane, I was captivated by that gorgeous flight attendant.
Perfectly ironed uniform, hair gathered in a neat bun, discreet makeup, as well as perfect, and the most exquisite smile.
At that point, she did not know that I was just an university student who had “won the lottery” and was there at the whim of fate…
I certainly had nothing to do with the billionaires she was used to dealing with on a daily basis.
However, I was as scared as I was embarrassed to open my mouth…
I sat down where my Boss told me to, and I spent the next three hours trying to go as unnoticed as possible.
Which, frankly, was terribly difficult for me, considering that we were only four passengers, and the CFA kept giving us her full attention…
During the flight, I could not stop thinking about what my life was going to be from that moment on.
Finally, I came to a conclusion:
“If she is a “stewardess” on a private plane, and I am going to be a stewardess on a private yacht, I will do the same thing she is doing, but on a yacht, rather than on a plane …”
And, as simple as that reasoning may seem to me today (and surely, it is looking like to you too), it turned out that I was not that mistaken!
Over the years I have had the opportunity to meet a few corporate flight attendants.
Every time that happens, we have an almost instantaneous connection.
They are fascinated by “my world”, and I am fascinated by “theirs”.
Therefore, conversation is guaranteed.
On this post, you will enjoy a very special interview, which I hope you love as much as I do.
Jamie, as well as a fantastic Corporate Flight Attendant, is the founder of www.flightess.com.
A website where you will find a ton of information about the CFA’s industry.
Ever since I discovered her fantastic Instagram account, I have been fascinated by the Coporate Flight Attendant industry.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND HOW YOU GOT INTO BEING A CORPORATE FLIGHT ATTENDANT:
I was hired to my first aviation job a month after turning 21 and by March of 2015 I had my wings.
My first flying job was a U.S.A government charter airline where we helped take U.S. troops to bases all around the world and helped bring them home after their deployment.
From there, I was processed with a Secret Security Clearance that allowed me to transition to corporate aviation seamlessly.
PLEASE EXPLAIN TO US WHAT BEING A CORPORATE FLIGHT ATTENDANT MEANS.
WHAT IS YOUR TYPICAL DAY AT WORK? (If that is even a thing haha)
CFA is an acronym for Corporate Flight Attendant, meaning a flight attendant that attends to the safety and service on FAR (FEDERAL AVIATION REGULATION) Part 91 or Part 135.
The numbers stand for the different facets in which the FAA defines flying and the rules and regulations that they must abide by within their group.
Although its rare to have any two days of trips or flying be the same, a broad perspective of a typical flying day consists of:
- Shopping for catering/ stock or arranging through an aircraft caterer on your layover
- Going to the plane with plenty of prep time to assure its ready for passengers
- Checking safety equipment
- Conducting inflight meal service
- Birthing beds
- Organizing and stocking the plane’s toiletries, snacks, galley stock…
- And once passengers deplane, thoroughly cleaning and tidying before leaving the aircraft
WHAT IS THE ONE THING THAT YOU HAVE LEARNT FROM A VIP CLIENT WORKING SO CLOSELY WITH THEM?
To always acknowledge the people who are serving you by their name.
The celebrities and billionaires that used my name when speaking with me earned a treasured part in my heart.
It made me feel human and “seen” while serving them.
I began to notice how it changed the way I served them with that much more enthusiasm and pleasure.
I now adapt that at any Starbucks, hotel checkin , or any restaurant I go to.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE TRICK TO WIN OVER A GRUMPY CLIENT?
Like mama always said:
“Kill ‘em with kindness”
I attune myself that much more to smallest nuances with my grumpy client’s behavior, to pick up on any positive micro expressions they may have that I can then focus on and adjust my service accordingly.
A lot of times, I have to remember that the same courtesy I extend to myself that allows me to have a “bad day” every now and again, I must also extend that very same courtesy to my clients, allowing them to have bad days and still withholding any personal emotion or judgements towards them for it.
Practicing the art of resilient kindness and warmth objective of how grumpy a guest may be.
HAVING FLOWN PRIVATE WITH ONE OF MY PRINCIPALS A FEW TIMES BEFORE, I HAVE ONLY DISCOVERED THE CFA INDUSTRY FAIRLY RECENTLY THANKS TO YOUR IG PROFILE, AND I HAVE BEEN ABSOLUTELY OBSESSED WITH IT EVER SINCE!
DID YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE LUXURY YACHTING INDUSTRY BEFORE BECOMING A CFA?
I can’t say I did or I perhaps might’ve become a yachtie myself!
The industries are so similar in the hospitality realm of service and the nomadic spirits that are drawn to both, I can see why so many people cross over from one industry to another.
I went to cookery school with a lot of yacht chefs and am fascinated by their stories and work ethics.
I TRULLY BELIEVE OUR INDUSTRIES HAVE A LOT IN COMMON AND YOU COULD MAY WELL CHANGE FROM PRIVATE PLANES TO SUPERYACHTS IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE AND WOULD QUICKLY ADAPT, DOING A GREAT JOB.
DO YOU ALSO FEEL LIKE A SUPERYACHT STEWARDESS WOULD QUICKLY ADAPT TO A NEW POSITION AS A CFA?
I’ve had the opportunity to work in recruiting and hiring and the moment I see yacht experience on a resume, I am that much more inclined to help this candidate crossover.
Superyacht Stewardess have already been vetted and groomed to understand luxury hospitality and have a keen eye for detail, they’re great at time management, adapting to change, and reading a customer.
It’s amazing to have a candidate with that skill set apply to a position and I hear “ding ding ding” in my head when I see that experience on a resume.
HAVE YOU EVER MET AN EX SUPERYACHT STEW THAT IS NOW A CORPORATE FLIGHT ATTENDANT?
Yes, a ton actually!
They make fantastic CFA’s and are super successful.
I’ve also seen some return to yachting after becoming a CFA as well as they miss and prefer the water which is understandable.
SOME SUPERYACHT STEWS “RETIRE” FAIRLY YOUNG AS THEY WANT TO SETTLE DOWN, START A FAMILY ETC, ETC, AS THEY FEEL LIKE THEY CAN’T DO THAT WHILE WORKING ON YACHTS.
IS IT THE SAME IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
Definitely, it’s extremely hard to have a successful career trajectory in private aviation whilst starting a family or having young kids.
You have to accept that you’ll be away from your family at a moment’s notice for durations that aren’t always known upfront and can potentially be quite lengthy.
There are some exceptions where it can be manageable either by working for a flight department that is willing to work with you or has schedules that are family-friendly or by having an amazing support system at home that could help you.
WE HAVE A SAYING: “THE GOLDEN HANDCUFFS” REFERRING TO MANY YACHTIES WANTING TO LEAVE THE INDUSTRY BUT THEY PREFER TO STAY AS THEY THINK THEY’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO EARN AS MUCH MONEY IN A “NORMAL JOB” AS THEY DO ON A YACHT AND DON’T WANT TO GIVE IN THEIR LIFESTYLE.
IS THIS SIMILAR FOR YOU TOO?
Yes, I think we as an industry share that mentality for sure!
For us, the 9-5 cubicle is the ultimate lifestyle we fear because its so polar opposite to the nature of our work/“office”.
Weekends don’t mean the same thing for us as other people, as there is no normal work week as a crew in private aviation. I would say that most CFA’s fear leaving the industry and falling into a work lifestyle that doesn’t have as much freedom.
DO YOU FOLLOW AND YACHTIE INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS?
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITES?
Besides yours? 😉
@badstewardess (she is so rouge I love it)
And I follow a ton of insanely talented yacht chefs that are constantly inspiring me:
Are some great accounts of fellow CFA’s
LASTLY, IF YOU COULD CONVINCE THE CAPTAIN TO FLY ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, WHERE WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I absolutely love the cuisine and would want to eat my way through the city 😉
Make sure you are following @flightess to keep learning about the fantastic world of private aviaton.
And if you’d like to keep track of my adventures too, you’ll find me here 😉
And here, if you are Spanish speaking.
I would really appreciate if you shared this post with your contacts, if you have enjoyed it.
Please feel free to comment with any other topics, interviews or content you’d like me to post about, I will be more than happy to!
¡Thank you for reading!