The VIP/Corporate Flight Attendant guide to freelance work

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By cabincrew.com on Tuesday 10th Dec, 2013 at 16:25

After some time flying in the corporate world, you may consider the option to work freelance – this offers freedom to do other things and the potential to make good money for the right person. As in every job there are the good and the bad sides, so we will look at these in more detail. However, there are many other aspects also to consider.

After some time flying in the corporate world, you may consider the option to work freelance – this offers freedom to do other things and the potential to make good money for the right person. As in every job there are the good and the bad sides, so we will look at these in more detail. However, there are many other aspects also to consider.

Upsides: Flexibility and freedom of freelance work

The best thing about freelance work is the flexibility and the freedom, you choose when you want to work. The next good thing is that you can earn good money for your trips. If you decide to freelance then your rate could be anything from $150 - $450 US dollars per day – this really depends on how much experience you have, your training and your aircraft types.

It may sound like a lot of money but you could be travelling 2 days to work on a one day trip and you may not work again after for some time. But if you get a few long trips – it can be very lucrative. Some owners prefer to hire freelancers just for long trips and the rest of the time they won’t have a flight attendant on board as it is not a legal requirement on most private jets.

Realistically, freelance works best if you are prepared to be on standby and leave for anywhere within a few hours notice and if you have a good contact network in the business. You do have to be extremely flexible and confident in your abilities too, as it may be an aircraft type you haven’t worked on before, in a country you don’t know and you still have to organize catering and leave within the next few hours…So preparation is key!

Downsides: Uncertainly and quiet times

The down side to freelance work is that jobs can sometimes be few and far between and you might not know when the next work will be. So often a back-up plan, some studies or alternative career might be in order. You also have to consider that you are liable for your own training costs (depending on the operator and country regulations if training is necessary for legalities) and for you to remain current on safety and emergency procedures and aviation first aid. You will not be covered by health or life insurance, so it is wise to have your own cover. You have to decide whether you can make freelance flying worthwhile to you.

So, how to find freelance work?

There are aviation job websites and agencies worldwide that you can register with – however many jobs as a VIP flight attendant are never advertised and mostly are through word of mouth and who you know, so it is a good thing to keep networking with other crew members. Sometimes it can be that an agency will call you with a suitable position and ask you if you are interested and they will keep you on their database for future opportunities. It is often a good idea to send out CVs and photos ‘on spec’ too, to agencies and private aircraft operators as you never know who may see your CV... Often it is just a case of being in the right place at the right time… The corporate aviation world is quite small too, so word gets around and you may be headhunted, or just get lucky!

Contract work can be a bridge between full time and freelance flying, in that you may just agree to do one months flying or three months flying. In this case you are usually salaried per month and receive a per diem (a per night payment). Accommodation, transport and health insurance are often provided in these cases. Contract work can often be very interesting too as you may travel to some more unusual destinations where only a short contract is advisable!

A word of warning – When ever possible get a ‘contract’ or a written agreement between yourself and the potential employer before leaving the country, whether it s a one day trip or one month trip. It can be the case that payments suddenly change, the trip changes length or you find out you are working for free. Try and get a payment in advance if possible or arrange a schedule for payment. Be aware that anything can happen: If you have an accident, the operator will probably have no medical insurance coverage for you or you may find that your are working on an illegal visa or even entering a country where you need a different visa, which you may not have been informed of! Trips can and do go wrong sometimes, so do your research, check the small print (and have an adventure!) and enjoy the freedom freelance flying can bring.

About the author:

Patricia Green has been Cabin Crew for major airlines in the UK and Middle East for seven years and also an SCCM. She has also worked as a VIP Flight Attendant working for very high profile clients and world leaders on their private jets. Last year Patricia moved to flying on a freelance basis in order to concentrate on working as a freelance instructor as well as setting up as a Cabin Crew Consultant. She advises potential crew how to get their dream job and helps experienced crew move from commercial to corporate flying. In response to many requests from fellow crew and students, Patricia has written a series of E-books to help guide new crew with lots of insider advice and useful hints and tips.

For more information please visit www.cabincrewconsultant.weebly.com

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