10 things I’ve learned working as a VIP air stewardess – Telegraph.co.uk
During her time as a VIP air stewardess for the rich and famous, Emilia George has learned to expect the unexpected. Here she shares her most memorable stories and what they taught her.
1. Money is no object
From a £1,000,000 dinner service to a $700 bag of salad, money is no object when you can afford your own private jet. Many people treat them as a taxi service. Rather than having to see each other, a divorced couple who had shared custody of their dog would send the pampered pooch back and forth on their plane.
2. The planes are out of this world
It’s quite easy to see the interior of a VIP charter jet by a quick search on Google. A rarity, however, is sneaking a peak inside a privately owned aircraft with its own bespoke outfit. Everything has to be of the finest quality, technology must be state of the art and the more lavish the decoration the better. Everyone wants to have the most impressive plane around, so it’s necessary to go one step further and personalisation is key. There’s been on-board gyms, disco rooms featuring poles for girls to dance on and even a solid gold throne. In many cases it costs more to furbish the plane than it does to buy one in the first place.
3. It is a challenge
Resources are limited when you’re 38,000 feet in the air or stuck on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean. When the client requests something special it’s your responsibility to make it happen. This can leave you feeling like a contestant on The Apprentice, doing tasks that might see you paying a £500 taxi fare just to get a tin of caviar, or desperately trying to source a 200-piece brass band to welcome your client upon arrival.
4. You will be propositioned
Clients seem to think that chartering a private jet gives them an automatic invitation to join the Mile High Club. If you mix powerful businessmen with pretty girls eager to please then it’s a recipe for… well, you get the picture. Invitations to intimate dinners, visits to your hotel room and inappropriate touching are common. A private owner even had his cabin crew dress up in kinky outfits rather than uniforms. One is able to politely decline; you just might fall from favour for few days.
5. Plenty of perks
Staying in some of the world’s most expensive hotels and dining at the finest restaurants are among the perks. As is having all your expenses paid while you’re away. Clients like to show their gratitude, so it’s not unusual to be offered a generous tip. One crew were given £3,000 each in cash; others have been given Rolex watches and Hermès bags. If you look after someone particularly famous you might find yourself being invited to party in the VIP section of an exclusive club or being given backstage passes to see your favourite band.
6. Unusual food requests
Being asked to serve salmon that’s had classical music played to it all its life is not an unreasonable request, apparently. Neither is having your food served at a particular temperature or only eating desserts covered in gold leaf. But if you think it’s all champagne and caviar then you’re mistaken. Sometimes having £70,000 worth of food to choose from simply won’t cut it when all you fancy is a McDonald’s and demand the plane land at the nearest airport so one can be delivered to you.
7. It’s a waiting game – and can be very wasteful
Unlike flying for an airline, there is no set schedule. Often VIP stewardesses can be away for months at a time as clients like to have crew on standby ready to go. On the day of departure, it’s a common occurrence for them to arrive late or even not at all. However, it’s still necessary to be ready to depart at a moment’s notice, so you can spend days upon days going out to the aircraft, prepping and waiting. This means that everyday you’ll have to order expensive fresh food only to throw it away.
8. You’ll cover up affairs
Sometimes you will see a regular client travelling with a different female companion to which you’re usually expected to turn a blind eye. Other times you’ll be asked to make sure no traces of the other woman are left behind. This entails scouring the aircraft for giveaways and cleaning lipstick off shirt collars. Some people, however, don’t want the hassle and just bring their wife and lover on the same flight.
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9. You’ll be treated like a princess
Not only will you serve royalty, but you’ll be treated the same way, too. Obviously this is dependant on the owner/client, but if you’re lucky you’ll be given your own driver and assistant while you’re away. Designer uniforms are common and you may even be given a personal credit card or spending money. And you needn’t worry about going hungry as the plane’s chef will create whatever you like.
10. And carry precious cargo
People with the luxury to be able to afford a private jet will usually have quite an extravagant nature, so expect them to bring along some rather weird and wonderful ‘hand luggage’. One lady brought an enormous box full to the brim with Tiffany’s jewels in beautiful bright blue gift boxes. And one man boarded with an extensive collection of guns. Animals are also a must-have travelling accessory – I’ve seen falcons, playful lion cubs and even a monkey dressed in Burberry.