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Moving from Airline to VIP Crew


Typical food service in an economy class cabin

In the Covid-19 world, many cabin crew are looking around and exploring how to stay relevant, maintain skills during furlough and also to develop their cabin crew career. Would you as a crew member be interested in transitioning into a 'corporate or VIP' position and if you are how would they go about it - what skills do you need?


In previous blog posts we have talked about becoming a VIP cabin crew member. As a recap, you would be responsible for attending to the needs of 'very, very important people', otherwise known as VVIPs, ranging from diplomats to royal family members.


Normally, it would be expected that you have considerable experience working in a first-class or business-class cabin, but any highly skilled service-orientated position would also be acceptable – for instance working in a 5-star hotel. Whereas an airline crew or hotel, will typically have a large number of crew members or staff, business jets are designed for just a small number of crew. It is therefore highly personalised, with often demanding requirements.


From an experience perspective, you can expect to be asked for a minimum of two years. As with a conventional cabin crew role you would be expected to serve specially requested food and drinks, but unlike cabin crew, there's no responsibility to sell goods on board, as these are privately owned aircraft and private clients. One advantage is that the SEP qualifications you have obtained from an airline role will serve you in good stead.


Typical food service on a business jet

Perhaps the biggest challenge airline crew members making the transition to corporate aviation will face is an increased level of independence and therefore responsibility. On small business jets, VIP crew members will not just be responsible for conducting a cabin service, they will have to plan, order and prepare it. You will become responsible for shopping or ordering food from catering companies, planning menus, liaising with airport authorities and your operator and of course providing exceptional customer service.


A high standard of personal grooming is expected and some vacancies insist on certain age ranges and non-smokers. Also consider that you may find that many of these positions are not based in your home state, often in countries with recent wealth such as those in the Middle East. The willingness to relocate may be a consideration, but you would more often than not be paid for in terms of flights and moving costs. Equally, there are also a number of roles where you are free to live where you like and the operator will position you or cover reasonable travel costs to get you where you are required.


A further transferable skill comes about because you may work for a small fleet of aircraft owned by government officials, a large corporation or large royal families. These tend to be international roles and as such, you may be placed at an advantage if you are able to speak more than one language.


The life of a crew member can often appear to be very glamourous and you will find many avid bloggers and social media personalities. However, aside from behavioural and social skills, there is a different expectation to maintain confidentiality and discretion at all times as high-profile clients may be discussing sensitive information during their journeys.


Becoming a VIP flight attendant requires hard work and dedication and you will need to do your research and learn new skills. If you work hard enough and can make yourself stand out you are more than likely going to get a response from an application offering you your dream job. Working as VIP/corporate crew will give you an opportunity to meet people you never could on a regular job, such as royal family members, superstars and billionaires and you will travel to places you have never been to before. We can help you take the first step and make your CV stand out from the crowd by completing our online VIP Aspire course.

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