Practical in so many ways

One of the most common question I get is "how did you get the position as a corporate flight attendant?"

This industry, as I have explained before, is very discreet, and extremely hard to get into.

One of the ways -- if you get to the point of an interview or a meeting -- is doing a "practical" service interview.

I recently had a practical with a flight department based in the Bay area.

It certainly was challenging, yet a lot of fun while planning and very educational. The Lead flight attendant had a lot of information that I would have never considered before. Certainly eye opening.

One thing about this industry is that each flight department has a different need.

Entertainment, hotel/casino, Fortune 500 company, charter or a private owner -- they all have different outlook and needs.

Are they looking for a luxury experience? Is this a "time is money" kind of business flight? Is this a chartered flight that wants everything and be wooed?

The company I had the interview for flies the top executive for a Fortune 20 company.

These executives spend most of their time on the plane, and sometimes the meal they have onboard is the only meal they will have through out the day as they jet around, have meetings, conferences, etc.

So in this case timing, and the body language becomes extremely important during the service as they will be constantly on the phone, or having a meeting.

Presentation is still important, but in this case, we would not serve anything that didn't have a purpose in taking up their precious time or space on the table.

You don't even need to ask "may I take this away" or "would you like..." as they are a waste of time. The Lead FA taught me to read the signs, and 'take charge.'


The menu I created (pictured) consisted of two different kind of soups (cream based and broth based) and two entrees, and dessert.

In some of the flights, my menu would have been perfect, in this case, these were the flaws:

1) The sandwiches were too small, and it should have had a side (lentil bean salad, for example).

2) The salad was well received but it should have had a hot protein on the top to give it more volume (chicken, salmon).

3) Dessert portion was too big -- they don't have time to dilly dally with a big bowl of dessert, bite sides that can be slipped on to the side of the table is better.

Other then that my service was a little slow because I am used to flights where I am giving the clients the leisure of dining, but these are flights where eating is a part of these men's 'to do' list (I was given the "1.5 hr/ lunchtime/2 pax" scenario).

Also I was taught to make myself whatever it is that I am serving and taste it as I serve to make sure the temperature is hot enough, or the flavor is what I am expecting.

That was something I am not used to either because most of the galley I work in is exposed to the cabin, and I am not used to having a bite of the food as I bring them out. (This particular aircraft has a divider between the galley and the cabin.)

Another thing that was a little out of my comfort zone was that I do not need to ask for the 'permission' to take away empty dishes -- again, since that would be 'wasting their time.'

I walked out of the practical with a full notebook page of things I never knew, or would have considered.


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