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How to become private cabin crew?

When it comes to careers in the private sector and working for high net worth individuals, what kind of jobs are out there, how do you get in and what's it really like working for the rich and famous? 

We thought we'd take a look at private aviation this week.  Give you a bit of a taste of what a Private Flight Attendant does, what skills they ideally need to possess and how to land a fabulous job like that. 

What does a typical day look like for a Private Flight Attendant?

Exact duties obviously depend on your individual employer and your contract, but this checklist gives you a bit of an idea.

The interior of the plane is your domain! Whether the plane is private or charter, you will have done your menu planning and grocery shopping. You will be responsible not only for serving the food but preparing, cooking and provisioning for it prior to the flight too.

So let's go...

1. You board the plane 4 hours before your guests arrive - when the pilot opens up.

2. It's your job to make sure everything is set, ready and prepared for your passengers - you may be the only flight attendant, so delivering exceptional service your passengers expect is down to you.

3. First thing you do, is take your shoes off and put your slippers on. 

4. Put your gloves on.  Anything you touch could smudge or leave watermarks so take utmost care to remove any smudges.

5. Private jets are made with the most precious, expensive materials and should be treated with exceptional care.

6. Clean the plane from top to bottom.

7. Polish everything.  Repolish everything.  Check the light from different angles to make sure you've left no smudges, fingerprints or watermarks.

8. Offload your shopping – food, freshest fruit, berries, ingredients, selected according to the needs of your passengers.

9. Get the plane ready. You're setting the scene.

10. Prepare any snacks, water, drinks, ice, tea, coffee  - everything needs to be ready.

11. Make sure the plane looks elegant - prepare all the food, print menus, decorate the cabin, arrange the flowers, lay out newspapers, magazines etc, you'll need to know your client or charter passengers and find out what they prefer. Take notes while they're onboard so you can prepare even better for return flights.

12. Once onboard and settled, you should discreetly study your passengers.  For example; if they only touch magazines, make sure you have a bigger selection on the return flight.  

13. After take-off, it's your job to take orders, prepare the meals, cook, plate, serve, clear and hand wash everything - your plates and cutlery could be very delicate.

14. Make the bed/s.  Turn them down.

15.You might have a second service.

16. Strip bed/s, clean cabin, clean toilets, scrub toilets, hoover. 

17. You could be onboard for another 4 hours after you land and your passengers have disembarked cleaning everything once more.

18. Remember not to leave anything onboard when you're clearing up.   Fruit left onboard in hot countries melts and can damage the furniture. Likewise bottles of water freeze and explode in cold climates!  There are catering companies who can come in and store any food. Putting everything in bags, sealing them so noone tampers with anything.

Of course, every flight attendant's individual role depends on the private airline and the client's needs.

What skills does a Private Flight Attendant need?

* Exceptional attention to detail.

* The ability to be highly vigilant but invisible.

* Absolute discretion.

* Reliable person onboard, fulfilling your passengers needs without being invasive.

* More than one language.

* Service orientated.

* A very positive attitude.

* First impressions count, so you'll need to be extremely well presented.

Qualifications, training and skills required

  • At least 1 years’ experience or 2 years’ corporate experience
  • Experience of aircraft interior management
  • Experience of liaising with suppliers and menu planning
  • Ability to work independently to ensure smooth running of the aircraft
  • Possess a strong sense of responsibility
  • Ability to work within a small team

Extra desired training

  • Health and Safety training
  • Multiple languages advantageous

How to land a job in private aviation?

Keep checking back with Villa Recruit jobs pages to see our latest opportunities working for high net worth individuals.

Experience in airlines is obviously important if you're thinking about transitioning into private aviation. A lot of the training in private aviation will be service orientated, there is of course the obligatory safety training, but if you already have this under your belt from working for commercial or business airlines you're one step ahead. 

It's a competitive industry. Incredibly glamorous but extremely hard work.  Networking is important, talking to contacts finding names, addresses in order to be in front of the right recruiters and airlines.

There's no magic formula to getting a job in this industry.  Our best advice is to network. Get in touch with people. Your own experience is valuable.  Pay attention to details, be prepared to present yourself in the best possible way, every detail will be considered by the airline and client. Even if a client receives your file, it has to get past others first. Having a good network will improve your chances. 

However, if you’re willing to do the work, demonstrate persistence and commitment, doors will open.  You definitely get out what you put in.

Taking the stepping stone from commercial to business then private can be a very good route. 

Being boss ready!

In this job you need to be ready at a moment's notice. You’re responsible for everything. Your boss could turn up, or not, come with people, or not.  It's called being "boss ready."

You could sometimes get called for charter flights. Depends on your contract.  If you're in private aviation, you might be working 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off. With another team working the other schedule. Remember, you have to be flexible. If passengers want to stay another week, you stay another week. If your other team are sick then you have to cover. You get used to travelling a lot and packing quickly. 

Private Household & Estate Jobs

To search the latest Private Household staff positions such as flight attendant, house manager, housekeeper, cook, beautician, butler, maternity nurse, horsekeeper, AV/IT Specialist and many more, simply click Household Staff.

For links to training courses for hospitality, silver service, sommelier, fitness instructor, culinary and specialist culinary simply click Specialist Training.

Or if you're looking for a job onboard some of the most beautiful motor yachts and super yachts worldwide simply click Yachting Staff.  Current listings include; Captain, Deckhand, Chef, 2nd Engineer, Sous Chef, Stew/Masseur/euse, Housekeeping Stewardess etc. 

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