How long have you been a stewardess?
I started my career in 1996 exactly, so it’s been about 22 years.
What does your job consist of?
Quite simply to welcome our passengers on board the aircraft and ensure their safety and the smooth running of the flight; we look after their comfort and safety.
Have you always wanted to do this job or, if not, how did you come to become a stewardess?
Yes, I’ve wanted to be a stewardess since I was very young. I’ve always wanted to be a stewardess. At school, when we were given a little card at school asking us what we wanted to be when we grew up, I always answered stewardess; when I was very young I used to point out planes to my parents and tell them that I loved flying. And when I got on a plane, I looked at everything that was going on around me and I didn’t sleep because I was fascinated. I wouldn’t know how to explain it but I always knew that I wanted to do this job and work on an airplane.
What was your training?
At the end of my schooling, my parents enrolled me in a tourism school in Paris. I then went to London for two years to perfect my English. It was to have the best chance of being recruited; I was on an Air France visa at the time. But recruitment was frozen at Air France for five years and finally I was recruited by a foreign commercial airline and did intensive training for commercial aircraft. I was based in Paris for six months before joining the VIP section. NetJets then recruited me and gave me a thorough and comprehensive training, which really got my career off the ground. I have extensive international experience flying VVIPS on different types of private jets. I am now working as a freelancer and I was supposed to sign a contract with a VIP based in Africa but unfortunately it was during the beginning of the covid, so it couldn’t be done. At the moment I’m looking for a job and an opening may be opening up; I hope it can be done because all my experiences have strengthened my ability to adapt.
Can you be a stewardess directly for the private sector or do you have to start by working for commercial airlines?
In private aviation, you need a minimum of three years of experience in business class. After that, it is really over time that you learn our profession when you work in the private sector. It’s really a continuous learning process but it’s an asset.
Do you always follow training courses?
I want to say yes. There is refreshment training where we are always upgrading, improving our service. We also have to be up to date on safety equipment.
What are the evolutions within the business?
There are evolutions which are made according to years of experience. In private jets, there are usually two of us, and we can move up to the position of lead flight attendant and then chief hostess. Many of my colleagues also became instructors afterwards.
What major differences have you noticed between commercial and private aviation?
Working as a VIP flight attendant is a lot more fun to be honest because you have a very important logistic management of the aircraft. Another very important point is that the contact between a VIP flight attendant and her passengers is more personal because over time, she gets to know them, which allows her to provide them with a service beyond their expectations because for me, having a sense of detail is the key to guaranteeing a service of excellence. I really like private aviation, it’s another world. But you have to be very organized and you can’t make mistakes. My job is also very different from that of a commercial flight attendant and it’s very rare to know in advance where you’re going.
What do you like most and least about your job?
I like the challenge and for me all my flights are a challenge. I also like all aspects of my job, it’s really an atypical job and I always make sure that my flights are a success. I promise I am extremely sincere when I tell you that I love everything about my job. Sometimes the schedules are hard but when you love your job you accept flexibility and you get used to it.
Can you tell us about a typical day?
There is no such thing in private aviation. I can tell you how it goes quickly. The day before my flights I prepare my catering orders according to the profile of my passengers, I make sure that the “linen” is clean (I am a bit meticulous). Having an eye for detail is extremely important, that’s what makes the difference.