There is an elite league of wonder women working in our midst. They are discreet, elegant and above all extremely resourceful. They make little miracles happen, and they do it at a cruising altitude of some 8 miles up in the sky.
When picturing the job of a flight attendant for a private plane, images of glamorous globetrotting come to mind, and while there may be a bit of that too, the reality of this high-pressure position is far more industrious than often imagined.
Sonia Neuenschwander has been Chief Flight Attendant for Swiss business aviation company Albinati Aeronautics since 2009, after her assignment in 2006 to the first Global 5000 that came under management. Today she is responsible for supervising the flight attendant team, overseeing the ground preparation for each flight and occasionally taking to the air with one of her trainees for sky-high instruction and quality control.
With over ten years in the field, Sonia is a goldmine of industry experience and know-how. In this exclusive interview with one of the finest in the field, discover the 10 “golden rules” to being an excellent hostess….
Passion makes perfect – More than being motivated by the desire to please, an excellent flight attendant has to be animated by Passion. We work long days and hours, and often on weekends too, so without passion, the job will get tiring very fast.
The Wow Effect – The difference between a good flight and an amazing flight is all about creating a unique and magical inflight experience. Creating a memory, an emotional anchor, is very important to Albinati Aeronautics because, if achieved, it inspires clients to continue working with us.
Discreet care – It’s a flight attendant’s job to know and understand her client as well as possible and develop a rapport of trust, without being invasive. We have to be present, attentive to every detail, and yet invisible at the same time.
Bespoke Swiss-quality service – An outstanding hostess takes a lot of pride in fulfilling each client’s needs and expectations. She maintains the highest quality of Swiss service and never fails to deliver the excellence Albinati Aeronautics has come to be known for.
Exceed expectations – Clients are always happy when we go the extra mile. We focus on the little details that make all the difference.
Organizational creativity – The most challenging part of the job is being able to perform a five-star service in a confined space in altitude with all the restrictions and difficulties that come with it. The galley of the plane is quite small, so it is essential to think outside of the “little” box.
Prioritize and multi-task – If an in-flight experience was likened to an orchestra, then a flight attendant would not only be the conductor, but also all the musicians! This takes a highly developed ability to multitask and prioritize under pressure.
Utmost confidentiality – Respecting our clients’ privacy and confidentiality is paramount for their well-being, and above all, for their safety.
Be Positive – This is a must for all types of situations. When it comes to facing unforeseen circumstances, the best flight attendants will apply the three R’s: Realize, Reflect and React, and do so in a calm, polite and professional manner.
The Ambassador’s touch – A flight attendant is first and foremost a representative of Albinati Aeronautics, and must always have the company’s best interests in mind, committed to upholding Albinati Aeronautics’ standards. This means maintaining a high level of discipline, conduct and appearance, as well ensuring that our Standard Operating Procedures when it comes to safety, security and service are respected.
Easier said than done. “I imagine it is like an actor who is about to go on stage,” Sonia says. “Every flight is the opportunity to deliver an Oscar-worthy performance, and perhaps it’s the adrenaline that comes from being under pressure – and our utter devotion – that helps us find the resources to make it happen every time.”