In corporate flight attending, turbulence means something other than what you’re probably thinking. There will be difficult clients, picky eaters, flight delays and cancellations, cultural differences, spills, broken heals and a host of other problem situations you’ll have to deal with gracefully.
How will you handle all of these challenges? Unless you want to experience a highly unpleasant time, you’ll need to win over that difficult client or one of his or her guests. With patience and finesse – and a lot of sweetness and special treatment – you’ll have no problem coming out on top. What makes the person happiest? Does he have a sweet tooth? Does she love specialty coffee? Maybe there’s a grandchild back home the client misses and wants to talk about. How can you relate? Carefully ask questions until you find the right subject.
While you may be proud of your gourmet cooking, you might end up with a client who prefers macaroni and cheese from a box with hot dogs every day. Be prepared for this. Ask questions ahead of time and don’t feel offended that this isn’t the job that allows you to show off. There will be others.
When there’s a delay and you’re stuck on that plane just waiting for clearance, make sure you have a way to entertain your clients and their guests. Do they enjoy reading and do you just happen to have a great book or two with you? Maybe they enjoy cards or chess. The less they notice the wait time, the happier they’ll be. Getting to know your clients in any way you can is the most important thing you can do to make them happy and your life easier. And, of course, it never hurts when they like you.
Finally, keep your sense of humor. You’ll make mistakes. Clients will trip or spill and maybe feel a bit self-conscious about it. Your ability to put them at ease and laugh even at yourself when necessary will make every journey more enjoyable. Grace and humor under pressure are skills you must perfect. A pleasant smile and calm demeanor can defuse even the most tense situation.
Challenges and difficulties – “turbulence” – is all part of the job. It’s one of the things you’ll grow to love as it makes every day new and gives you the opportunity to put your problem-solving skills to the test. With the proper training and preparation, you’ll always come out on top!