Corporate flight attendants – cabin crews with glamour, right?
The corporate flight attendant job offers many benefits but also, as with any career, many drawbacks.
That’s why, before thinking about diving into the field, it’s very important to weigh both the pros and cons of what being a corporate flight attendant actually entails.
So come with me and we’ll assess the pros and cons to help you decide if this is the right career for you!
|Luxury setting and lifestyle
|You work alone
|No travel benefits
|You are in charge
|No minimum rest periods
|Interaction with the passengers
|Paying for training
PROS of Being a Corporate Flight Attendant
The good news is that corporate flight attendants earn more on average than commercial flight attendants.
The yearly average for a commercial flight attendant in the USA is roughly $40.000, while the corporate one is approximately $60.000 – $90.000.
This number is not exact, it depends on many factors, so it’s just to give you an example.
The corporate flight attendant pay is linked to how many hours of flying you have, the country or even the state where you are based, and the extras that add up to the monthly paycheck – things such as transportation, uniform maintenance, per diem allowance and also your tips.
Let’s not forget the tips, they are a nice compliment as well as a great addition to your month’s pay.
Luxury setting and lifestyle
The corporate flight attendant lifestyle is known for being luxurious.
You’ll often stay in 5-star hotels in elite and remote destinations such as on Private islands!
And if you’re fortunate enough, you’ll be able to accumulate hotel points in these places and then exchange them for free stays on your private travels.
These destinations are a big pro because corporate flight attendants get to travel to and stay in the most exclusive destinations in the world.
Of course, there are the usual business destinations such as Dubai, London, or Geneva, but there are also the very exclusive ones like the Bahamas, Maldives, Seychelles, Bora Bora… and the list goes on and on.
While a commercial flight attendant gets a fixed schedule for the month and knows how much time will be spent at each destination, those in the corporate aviation world usually have longer layovers and never know where they will end up.
Flight attendants on private jets don’t have set destinations and fly everywhere and anywhere that the client /owner needs.
For some, this may be a minus, but for many, this is part of the excitement of the job and a big plus.
You are in charge
The corporate flight attendant is in charge of the aircraft.
She has the freedom to organize the catering, flower arrangements, decorating, etc.
The role can be as creative as you like – within reason and good taste, of course.
Not only that, you are also your own boss.
You make your own decisions and don’t have anyone telling you what to do or to nag you if you make a mistake.
This is a great feature, but it also means that you have to pay attention to the smallest detail with every task, from anticipating the needs of each guest on board, to maintaining the highest standards for every aspect of the trip.
In this sense, you really will be earning that higher pay rate.
Interaction with the passengers
Depending on the type of aircraft you are working on, corporate jets usually take 20 passengers or less.
No more going down the aisles offering tea or coffee to 100+ guests!
Instead, you will be offering an exquisite and personalized dining experience.
And because of the far smaller numbers, you will get to interact with your guests on an individual basis; meeting A-list celebrities, very important business heads, and even, if the stars all line-up, members of royalty.
Of all the pros about becoming a corporate flight attendant, it is this style of working with the passengers that appeals to many.
CONS of Being a Corporate Flight Attendant
A corporate flight attendant’s schedule changes like the weather.
There could be something in your program that you are preparing for, but then you end up doing something completely different.
These jets are completely at the guest’s disposition and don’t fly to any timetable or set destination list.
As I’ve said, for some this exciting and interesting, but for others it can be unsettling and disruptive.
There are frequent delays which will involve you having to wait for hours for your guests to return and the flight to resume.
Add to this the fact that there are cancellations and changes of destination as well as trips that often get shortened or extended.
For example, – and this is not unusual, -A colleague of mine had a four-day trip to Nice that ended up being a week away trip to Nice, Geneva, and Dubai.
Best pack for all sorts of weather conditions!
You work alone
Working alone is not everybody´s cup of tea.
If it is a small crew and you are the solo flight attendant or cabin crew, then things can get quite lonely and solitary.
There is also the issue of when you are the only flight attendant on board, you are the sole problem-solver (unless the crew on the flight deck can help).
Which means that any cabin-related mistakes will be on you.
No travel benefits
Have you heard about ID90, ID50, and flying standby?
Commercial flight attendants get discounts when flying on private trips with commercial airlines.
This discount varies depending on the airline you work for, but it’s usually a big discount, between 50% to 90%.
For the most part, In the corporate flight attendant world, there’s no such thing.
You don’t get those discounts, but in some cases, you can get 2 free tickets per year.
No minimum rest periods
Commercial flight attendants have minimum hours of rest that is stipulated by law.
For example, if you do a transatlantic flight, you should rest 24 hours at your destination before flying again, and you would also get regulated rest onboard the aircraft.
But in the corporate flight attendant world, you might or might not get to rest onboard, depending on how busy your guest keeps you.
And once you are at the destination, in most cases, there is no minimum rest.
You may have a few days off until you return home (and this can always change), but it is never guaranteed.
If you have just finished a flight and your passenger needs to be somewhere else very early in the morning, you may end up getting 5 hours of rest or even less.
Being a corporate Flight Attendant is like being a nanny, bartender, chef, and personal assistant all rolled into one.
You will be responsible for the VIP guests, the cabin, catering, service, special requests, pets on board, and sometimes the weird and wacky.
In the commercial cabin crew world, you look after the safety of the passengers and their comfort as you do in the corporate world, but you don’t have to help with the catering or the restocking of the various things that the cabin needs for the next flight.
You also conduct safety demonstrations onboard, make public announcements, and sell duty-free items, things that corporate cabin crew don’t have to do.
Paying for training
Commercial airlines usually train their staff before starting them on the job.
And even though this can happen in private airlines, it’s not always the case.
So If you are thinking about becoming a corporate flight attendant, you need to be prepared to pay for your own training.
Conclusion: Pros and Cons of a CFA
The career of a corporate flight attendant is extremely challenging.
There may be stressful situations that you will have to face on your own, last-minute changes, unforeseen delays, intense customer demands, and the pressure to work at your best level all the time.
However, as many corporate flight attendants will tell you, the pros far outweigh the cons.
As you have seen, the differences between a commercial flight attendant and a corporate flight attendant are many and can be quite daunting.
Staff on both sides will have their own opinions and experiences and their own list of pros and cons. I have written these as a guide, but as I always say, do lots of research for yourself before making any decisions.
Perhaps there is no right or wrong choice, just the one that is best suited to you, one that you can make your own.
Happy flying and stay safe!