By Nicoleta Gherman, Founder World-class NG Cabin Crew
For the past four years, I kept in touch with my former colleagues and trainees that managed to get a job in private aviation field as VIP flight attendant. They have all agreed that if you already have above-average professional qualifications and experience as a cabin crew and you enjoy every single flight to provide clients with an upmarket service experience that it is time to start thinking about developing your career further and get a VIP cabin crew job in the executive jet/private aviation sector. Due to ongoing expansion, private jet airlines are currently looking more often for new flight attendants to fulfil the role of a VIP, VVIP, Executive or Freelance Cabin Crew. (VIP – Very Important Person, VVIP – Very Very Important Person, referring to the elite customer’s profile that you will have on board). The registration process requires you to complete an online application directly on the airline website on indirectly on a recruitment agency site and we advise you to provide the company with as much information about yourself: CV, reference letters, diplomas and certificates, aircraft license, head and whole-body colour photographs and passport copy. This provides the recruiting team with a quick and efficient way to gather information regarding your work interest, qualifications, and experiences relevant to the job.
A cabin crew working in private aviation field should have excellent customer service skills and personal presentation, style and image, a very good health and fitness as they will work varied shifts, including weekends and holidays and not only. For example, a private airline, GainJet, mentioned in their recruitment announcement that they are looking for cabin crew with nurse experience and for Senior Cabin Crew holding a Boeing 757 and 737 aircraft’s license! Here are some other requirements that private airlines may have:
LANGUAGE: Most private airline will require first of all fluency in English both written and verbal and they can mention if any other language should be first language or preferably mother tongue. During the interview, you have to show good communication skills in any other languages that are mention in addition and which usually are an advantage. Most common requests lately were for German, Russian, Mandarin, Spanish, French, and Luxembourgish.
EXPERIENCE: Previous aviation experience in the Middle East is an asset, however, it will be mentioned that at least 1, 2 or even 5 years of experience as a Flight Attendant with a commercial airline or in business or first class are needed. Sometimes the minimum will be 1 up to 3 years flying experience in a senior role. Previous customer service experience, especially in the hospitality and travel industry, in luxury hotel or top class restaurant industry, as Butler or with Silver Service background (5* hotels and cruise ships) are an advantage too. However, most of the announcement will mention that recent VIP Flight Attendant experience, as Corporate Cabin Crew or any experience in VIP executive services is preferred, but not always necessary.
EDUCATION: You must have a secondary education diploma (High School) or equivalent. Associate Degrees or higher in related field or a degree in hospitality, tourism, gastronomy or equivalent are more than welcome too. Also, some privet jet airlines will require to hold a Cabin Crew Attestation as required by EASA PART-CC (in Europe), by FAA (US) and even to have the ability to obtain and remain current with CPR and AED Certification. Some of the American private airlines will ask you to have a working knowledge of Federal Aviation Regulations for cabin crew.
AGE: You have to be at least 18 or 21 years old (for the Middle East) or depending on the jet owner requirements.
GROOMING: Height will vary depending on the size of the aircraft that you will be flying. Weight has to be proportional to height. Well groomed VIP Cabin Crew is a person with impeccable manners, who must present a professional image. You may not have visible tattoos, facial, multiple or upper ear piercing or extreme hair colour or style while in uniform.
TRAVEL DOCUMENTS: Applicants must have a fully valid passport from the EU or the Schengen Area and applicants must have the right to live and work in EU, US or any other country where you will be operating the flights. Travel documents must remain valid throughout all phases of training and employment.
OTHER DOCUMENTS: Some airlines will ask you to be in possession of an active European driving license (B category) and to obtain a clean criminal record prior to commencing the training.
REFERENCES: Provide reference letters and you might be requested to be able to have a 1 up to 5 years checkable references available, with no unverified gaps.
FITNESS AND HEALTH: Not all airlines require swimming ability, however, if you possess a swimming and/or rescue certificate is also an advantage. VIP Cabin Crew must be medically fit (good physical and mental health), preferably non-smokers. Eyesight should be normal, although contact lenses are acceptable.
AVAILABILITY: Be ready to commence training as soon as possible and don’t forget that you must be available for long periods abroad while on duty. You might be on a 24 hrs stand by, as your roster will be flexible and you might be requested anytime to be ready for duty. Most commonly available work rotations in Europe, Asia and America are 30 days on/30 days off, 30 days on/15 days off, 15 days on/15 days off and sometimes even 20 days on/10 days off. You will work independently, as single crew, as double crew or part of a larger cabin crew team. Saudi private airlines are offering work rotations like 90 days ON/30 days OFF, 56 days ON/ 28 days OFF, 42 days ON/42 days OFF and 35 days ON/28 days OFF. Other private airlines in the Middle East (UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon) are following commercial airlines schedule, meaning that you will have only 30 or 42 days annual leave.
OTHER SKILLS: Private jet airlines are looking for professional, empathetic, progressive, visionary, creative, cosmopolitan Cabin Crew, who has the flexibility and the motivation to manage a demanding work schedule. This is why you must be responsible, friendly, mature and team orientated, with customer oriented skills and with a willingness to serve.
During the interview, you should impress through your excellent communication skills, show that you are resourceful and well-organized. Make sure you are up to date with the latest revisions on First Aid, CRM, SMS (Safety Management System) and other Operating Procedures, VVIP Service and Catering procedures.
*Photo credit: Google images