Image: SkyAngels CEO, Steffany Kisling, working on the job in Cabo San Lucas while heading out to go scuba diving at Lovers Cove - all in a days work. ;)
Without fail, the first thing someone asks when I tell them about SkyAngels is "How did you get into THAT [private aviation]?". My answer is always "By accident." Which might not actually be the truth! I think it was more fate than an accident that I found myself flying around the world on private jets and eventually launching SkyAngels.
It all began almost nine years ago. At that time, I didn't even know the world of private aviation existed, but I met a man who had the means and the luxury of flying private. It was this man, who is now a dear friend, who suggested that I take my current business model (I had launched and was running a company in the luxury yachting world) and apply it to private aviation.
A seed was planted.
Since that day, every day has been an adventure. I started my career in private aviation as a corporate cabin attendant. A career that has afforded me the ability to see and travel the world, meet amazing people, create incredible memories and save up enough money to launch SkyAngels.
However, it wasn't easy getting into this industry. I found it challenging to find the proper school that could train me and provide the necessary certifications that I needed to start my career as a Corporate Cabin Attendant. After much searching, I finally found a company that could train me, but the challenges did not stop there.
After completing my training, it took me three months and lots of pounding the pavement before I landed my first flight. This was after sending out over 100 resumes, multiple times to the same flight operators. Finally, a Charter Operator out of Modesto, Ca took a chance on me or perhaps got tired of seeing my resume come across their desk and booked me on a flight.
It was on my first flight that I realized the training I had received had not adequately prepared me for the responsibilities of the job. I felt like a deer caught in the headlights. What had I gotten myself into? I had no idea what I was doing. Everything was foreign and it felt like my fellow peers were speaking in another tongue.
FBO desk clerk: "What is your tail #?"
Me: "Tail #? What is that?", looking bewildered, cheeks growing red.
FBO Desk Clerk: "Yes, I need your tail # so I can locate your catering and have it brought out to you."
Me: "Ummm where would I find that info?"
FBO Desk Clerk: "On the tail of your aircraft", looking sorry for me and a little exasperated.
Me: "Hold on" I say as I go running back outside to look at the tail of my aircraft in search of the magic number that would find the catering I so desperately needed for my flight.
This was my first experience, and the seed continued to grow...
Despite the rough beginning to my new career I found myself loving everything about it. I loved the people. I loved the smell of the jet fuel. I loved the unknown. I loved the excitement of having breakfast in California and dinner that same day in New York. I loved exploring new cities and new restaurants and the challenge of providing the perfect flight experience for my guests. I found pleasure in wowing them and seeing the satisfaction on their face as I tended to their needs with precision and with care. My guests were always so grateful and complimentary of the service I provided and I quickly acquired a loyal client base that would ask for me by name.
And so the seed continued to grow and began to blossom...
After dedicating three years learning everything I could about private aviation, talking with as many industry professionals as I could and listening to the needs and wants of my guests, SkyAngels was born. I knew what would bring value to the industry. The business model was simple really, to create a business that would fill the training gap and would provide the training necessary for crew to properly fulfill the service and safety responsibilities of the job.
It has been a rewarding road. We have been successful in our endeavors and continue to grow. We recently opened a new training facility offering training in the Bay Area (Oakland Airport), and launched our online training program. We keep on soaring and I wouldn't change the challenges, rewards, failures and successes for anything else in the world. It is these experiences that continue to mold me, teach me and guide me towards my dream.
So, the next time I am asked, "How did you get into THAT?" I will simply reply "It was fate."
SkyAngels wants to help you realize yours...
You may not be looking to start a business in private aviation, but if you are interested in starting a career in private aviation, here are a few simple steps to get you started and soaring.
To land a job as a Corporate Cabin Attendant in Private Aviation there are some certifications you will need to complete. In addition to SkyAngels SKYacademy, there are a few other options out there that offer this training. Do your due diligence and research each of these schools and choose the one that bests suits YOU and what you want to get out of your training experience. Each school has its own specialty. At SkyAngels, we specialize in customer service, hospitality, and safety. Click on the links below for more information on the training you'll need to get started. SkyAngels also offers recurrent training for active crew, both pilots and cabin attendants.
General Emergency Training Certification - this training is required by the FAA and must be completed every two years.
In-flight Services Training Certification - this training is not necessarily "required" but you will be hard pressed to find work without this level of specialized training on your resume.
CPR/AED/First-Aid Certification - required.
Food Safety & Handling Certification - recommended.
Once you have completed your training and obtained the above certifications be ready to promote yourself like crazy. Before you start sending out your resume, check and re-check your resume and cover letter. Everything you do from here on out should be perfect. Competition is fierce, but with the right training, drive and dedication anyone can soar!
Check out Air Charter Guide for a list of Charter Operators in your area. You will want to send your resume via email, snail mail and whenever possible, hand deliver it. Be sure you are sending your resume to the proper person in charge. Often times this is the Chief Pilot, Chief Cabin Attendant, Director of Operations or HR Department. Call ahead to confirm you are sending your resume to the proper person. Continue to follow up with them until they hire you or tell you to stop.
When you finally land your first flight, prepare, prepare, prepare. Get to planning and preparing for your flight right away. Things change, be prepared for change and aim for perfection in everything you do. To make a good impression plan on being flawless in your appearance, performance and professionalism. You will not get a second chance to make a first impression. This is where the proper training comes into play and becomes invaluable.
Enjoy! You will love your new career. There is nothing like it on earth. You will travel the world in luxury, meet amazing people along the way and create memories that you will share with your grandchildren around the dinner table. Stories that will leave you and them in awe because you will have experienced what so few people will ever have an opportunity to even dream about.
Start creating your memories today. Your future is waiting. We are happy to help you realize your dreams. Apply to our All-inclusive training course to see if you will be one of the chosen few accepted into SkyAngels SKYacademy.