In corporate and private jet operations, experienced Flight Attendants make a significant contribution to the flight for efforts both seen and unseen. Contrast this to a Cabin Host, untrained in the profession, whose contribution is only what is obvious and whose possible impediment to a safe flight for the passengers is unseen.
Flight Attendants are the eyes, ears and nose of the whole aircraft, and can quickly alert the cockpit crew if something is amiss: ice on the wing, smoke in the cabin, strange sounds under the cabin floor. Constantly looking around the aircraft, versus the flight deck crews forward view they have a unique perspective of the whole aircraft. In a cabin emergency it is absurd to think a pilot should get out of their seat just at a time the cockpit workload is at a maximum to arrange diversion options. If the pilots are responsible for the aircraft, the Flight Attendant is responsible for the people. Professional Flight Attendants are trained and certified in: First Aid and CPR, use of an AED, cabin emergencies, fire safety, food safety and certified in aircraft cabin evacuation – required by some aircraft operating certificate when most seats are full. They share and learn from their peers expanding their experience and resourcefulness.
Passengers in small aircraft with close proximity to the flight crew are used to flying without a FA and when they move to larger cabin aircraft often they don’t elect to have a FA onboard for cost or privacy issues. Yet even in the small space of an aircraft a truly experienced FA has the ability to disappear – in plain sight. Consider that small jet aircraft does not fly ten hours over remote or oceanic areas and usually has the option of landing within the next 30 minutes. It is very curious to see a small aircraft operator become responsible for a large cabin operation, and incredulous to think this person would not change their view that Flight Attendants are superfluous and provide nothing for the safety of the flight. The reason to have a professional FA onboard becomes obvious when you need them, much like the experience of the cockpit crew.
Years ago a cabin host was attempting to brief passengers new to her corporate jet when the lead pax intervened and suggested the briefing was not needed because the new pax had been on an airplane before. That lead pax was a high profile personality and the cabin host demurred. During the takeoff a failure occurred in the nose wheel steering mechanism and the jet left the runway before ever gaining flying speed and struck another aircraft on the ramp. Everyone survived – and the lawyers’ thrived – when it was revealed that the safety briefing had not been accomplished and the passengers did not know how to exit the aircraft on their own.
A professional Flight Attendant would ensure all passengers know how to exit the aircraft on their own. A contribution that becomes important in an instant.