I couldn’t believe my ears when my co worker first told me about being a Flight Attendant on private jets. Say that again, you take care of the famous and wealthy while getting paid ridiculous money flying all around the world on jets???? His girlfriend was the receptionists at the private airport in Tampa and they constantly asked her to fill in when they couldn’t find a regular Flight Attendant. They were always looking for girls with hospitality experience and he wanted to know if I was interested???? Um, YES!!!! So he gave the main pilot my number and within 2 days I was interviewed and hired. 2 problems; One, I already had a job and two, the jet was leaving for Europe 2 days before Halloween, which was about 10 days away and I didn’t have a passport.
If you’ve been reading from the beginning, you would know that I was always broke and had never been out of the US so why would I have a passport? It was 2002, I was 30 years old and I’m sure most people had a passport by then so he was a bit surprised when I revealed the news. But he was good and helped me to get one expedited for like 300 and some dollars, which l’m not lying when I tell you, was all the money I had in the bank.
This was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to me and once all of the anticipation had settled down, it dawned on me that I had no idea what I was doing! The pilot made it sound so easy, just serve food and drinks, not hard right….? I was in for a big surprise. It was the night before the big flight, my shifts at the restaurant were covered and of course I couldn’t sleep! What did I know about taking care of the uber wealthy…nothing that’s what.
Food for the jets was ordered in advance from catering companies who specifically handled the jet industry and they basically took care of whatever you needed, for a price of course. It could be 3 am, 6 hours before a flight and if you needed stone crab, they would make it happen. Meat would be partially cooked so that when the attendants re-heated it in the microwave, yes, the microwave! The galley on a G4 heavy jet, well at least in 2002, is small. There is very limited counter space and minimal storage. If you have 12 guests and everyone ordered a protein with 2 sides, we had to miraculously have all 12 meals out at relatively the same time and hot using a pint sized microwave to plate and heat. I could go all day on this subject, but let’s get back to my trip.
The plan was to take 4 passengers to Germany, Amsterdam and Nice all for 2 nights each. The Captain didn’t have much advice for how to handle the meals and sleeping arrangements but he was adamant about not hanging out with the clients. We are to keep the conversations short and to the point, take good care of them, keep the plane neat and tidy and did I mention, not under any circumstances do we hang out with the clients! No problem Captain, you can count on me to keep it professional.
There was the main principal, his assistant and 2 male associates, who to me, looked like body guards. All 4 of them were under 45 years old, good looking and right from the get go, ready to party. And to be honest a great first flight for me because they were all super chill and didn’t make me feel as if they were better than me or that they needed to be treated like royalty.
The first day in Germany the pilots and I walked around a bit then ate in the hotel which consisted of many types of sausages in all shapes and colors. After dinner, we hit a karaoke bar for some German beer drinking and singing embarrassment. I’m not going to lie when I tell you that Geography and international culture were not my strong suits. So imagine my surprise when I see a group of teenagers sitting at a table with beers in their hands. Drunk Carrie goes running over to ask how in the world they were allowed to be there. Turns out there wasn’t an age limit in Germany and since the kids don’t have to sneak, they don’t take advantage. This would be the first of many things I would learn about how different America is from other parts of the world.
As we were landing in Nice, the main principle, we will call him Froggie, asked for my phone number. What???? OMG, the number one rule was not to hang out with the clients and lucky for me, I didn’t have an international phone so that one was easy to get out of until he asked which hotel we were staying in. Being the professional that I was, I simply told him that we were not allowed to fraternize with the guests so have a great trip and we will see you in 2 days.
As I settled into my awesome hotel room in Nice France while trying not to overheat with excitement, the hotel phone rings. It was my Captain who proceeded to tell me that Froggie had called to ask him if he could borrow me for the evening to help out with a corporate party he was throwing in Cannes. There would be a car arriving in an hour to take me on my 45 minute journey and then returning me back to my hotel that night. Like clockwork, he repeated over and over that this is work, there will be no drinking and no hanging out with him, I was just there to assist and then go home. ‘You have my word Captain and thank you for the opportunity.’
After I hung up there was probably about 5 minutes of me jumping up and down while doing the happy dance in my room. How cool was I, a car would be arriving soon, with my own driver to take me to the place that I’d only seen on TV for the film festival and all the super yachts!!!!!
What happened that night and the next 2 nights in Amsterdam would change the course of my life and I had no idea yet how much…oh and the ‘no hanging out rule’, hah….what no hanging out rule??????