I’ve put together a short video blog, (dare I say "Vlog"?) answering several of the questions that I received about the luxury travel industry and how it’s affected by Covid-19. Not all of your queries made the video cut (mostly because I couldn’t listen to myself talk anymore.. anybody else struggle with this?) but I’ve included a written Q&A highlighting the questions of the video and including others that I didn’t get to in the vid.
Are Training Schools and facilities still up and running? -Deborah
Yes and no! Check out our blog post about Covid-19 and training facilities specifically.
To summarize - For flight attendant training, one of the two schools we endorse IS still fully functional and operating their standard schedule for Flight Attendant Initial training at four of their locations: FlightSafety International. (This is my personal choice for my training as well).
For STCW Basic Yacht training, all of our endorsed MCA and USCG approved institutions in Fort Lauderdale are closed due to Florida’s stay-at-home orders, but all are hoping to re-open to their standard operations come May. Keep checking in for updates :) .
The economy is crashing. Why do you think jobs will be available if I decide to pursue this? -Joanna
Great question - especially when you consider that yacht stew and private jet flight attendant jobs are essentially a combination of travel, service, and hospitality – all of which are industries that are going to be SEVERLY affected by the pandemic. That said, in these industries specifically, we’re working for people of such high net worth that they retain wealth even in tremendous economic downturn. For example, a multi-billionaire who loses HALF their fortune in a stock-market crash is STILL a billionaire- giving the superyachts and private jets industries more security than most others.
Where are you and what are you doing? Do you still work on yachts and jets? -Aiden
Yes! I still work full time as a personal flight attendant on a G650 for a CEO in the New York City area. We’re not currently doing any flying or traveling at the moment, but my flight team and I are lucky enough to have job security through this pandemic.
**PS- I’d like to add that NOBODY I personally know in either industry – Superyachts or Private Jets who had a full time job before the pandemic has lost their job or had to file unemployment since the market crash. Everyone in my circle is retaining their positions and salaries while waiting for this to subside. Not saying it hasn't happened outside of my fairly large network.. but it doesn't feel as prevalent as other industries.
I had just started doing some contract flights when all of this happened and the remaining flights on my schedule canceled. Is anybody actually flying right now? -Mallory
First, congratulations on already getting some contract “freelance” flights under your belt! This is by far one of the biggest roadblocks green flight attendants face entering the industry. To my knowledge, there are no jet programs that are flying or operating normally, particularly in the major hubs. There are too many travel restrictions and stay at home orders. I do believe though, that as these restrictions are lifted and Covid-19 starts to leave the world’s system that there will be a TON of flight opportunities – particularly in private. CEO’s & business moguls will be hopping around doing damage control and economic strategy building and the wealthy and famous will be itching to stretch their legs and travel after their quarantines. The people who can afford to fly private are more likely to splurge on it to avoid commercial airports. Hang in there! I predict we’re going to get SMACKED and there will be a ton of flying opportunities for you soon.
I bought your guides and had planned on getting into the yachting industry this spring and was excited and ready but then everything happened with Corona virus. Just wondering what’s going on with it and how you think I should move forward? -Daniela
The superyacht industry, as you know if you read your guides, typically follows a travel pattern called the “milk run” - essentially the vessels follow the weather around the globe. With Fort Lauderdale, Florida as home-base, most will be there in September/October for re-fits, crewing, maintenance & repairs, and the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, then go down to the Caribbean for the winter season. After the busy Winter season is over, most vessels will return to South Florida (again for re-fits, crewing, maintenance, repairs etc before setting off again to New England, the Mediterranean, or sometimes Alaska.
We discuss the importance of taking advantage of this travel pattern in your guides, and basing yourself in Florida for job-hunting when the majority of vessels are in town – usually in April & October. The pandemic has of course disrupted the usual milk-run pattern and hiring season. I predict there will still be a strong summer season for superyachts - it will just begin a bit later than usual. I also believe a lot less boats will be crossing to the med and most will stay in and around the US this year.
Do you think we should expect a big pop in hiring in the yachting industry when everyone is out of lockdown? -Thomasin
Tying in with the previous answer, I don’t think you’re going to see a big “pop” in hiring with superyachts pre-summer season. I think we’re going to see more of a gradual hiring build based on each owner and captain's comfort traveling as we come out of the pandemic.
How do you think the jobs will change in the coming months? -Carissa
In terms of job duties and responsibilities, I think both industries are experiencing an even stronger focus on hygiene, sanitation and disinfecting procedures. There’s also going to be a lot more scrutiny with where and how food, supplies, provisions and catering are sourced. I think the travel will also change, focusing more domestically than we’re used to for the rest of the year. Covid-19 will leave the world’s system at some point, but every country seems to be on its own timeline, so I’m guessing most of the travel in both industries will stay closer to home until this is well over-with.
**Stay tuned for an Aircraft Cleaning guidelines blog post, discussing the specific recommended procedures and products sanitizing each breed of aircraft**
What, other than studying my guides, can I be doing at home during this time to prep if I still want to work on superyachts? -Gianna
There are SO many things you can be doing at home for both superyachts AND private jets, and TONS of amazing free or inexpensive resources out there to help you excel at your luxury service craft. I’m going to be putting together a long list of suggestions for BOTH industries and posting it to the blog later this week, but here are some ideas to get you started:
Start a Pinterest page or board specifically to pin posts related to luxury service & travel – table settings, entertaining ideas, travel tips, cocktail recipes, hors d’ouevres, etc.
Hopeful Flight Attendants – Practice your napkin folds, culinary skills, plating, etc. Take pictures of your dishes to add to collect for your hiring package
Hopeful Superyacht Stews – Practice your table settings, napkin folds, and popular cocktails if you have the means – then enjoy them!
Join MasterClass – they have courses taught by pros in mixology, cuisine, wine, photography, leadership, and so much more!
Start a personal blog about your own journey coming into the industry
Perfect your CVs and Cover Letters
I also highly recommend isolation wine tastings if you have the means :). Practice opening your bottles, pouring, tasting, and pairing properly.. then toast to your career dedication!
When do you think it actually makes sense to pursue this? -Joshua
I think you can definitely BEGIN pursuing your career shift to yachts or jets by studying your guides and strategizing your training and job hunt. In terms of the specifics as to when, of course I can’t predict the future.. I would say keep an eye on your chosen training facilities’ schedule and the world climate. Hopefully in the next couple months the pandemic will start to dissipate and things will begin functioning almost normally within these industries. Your guides discuss the importance of taking the time to set yourself up for success before coming into luxury travel, so try to take advantage of this time to make yourself an even stronger candidate for when the industries are ready for you.
Keep your great questions coming! It's helpful for everybody to be involved in this conversation as we get through this strange strange time.
Side note - if anybody is going through a particularly hard time and needs some support - you have it here. <3L