I remember exactly when I wanted to be a flight attendant. I was on a United Airlines flight heading to San Francisco with my grandmother and I must have been around 7 years old. We we’re going out there to visit my favorite Aunt who lived right outside the San Francisco area. I remember the thrill of boarding the plane and then watching from my window the airplane rolling down the runway and then taking off. My face was pressed against the window looking outside, just thinking about the freedom of traveling somewhere new outside my neighborhood. I was never scared of the plane taking off or landing, I just remember the excitement of getting to experience a new land that was so far away from my parents and friends. I was ready for my adventure!!
Ever since that summer vacation I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I grew up! I wanted to be a flight attendant! When I was 12 years old and in junior high school we had to write a report on what we wanted to do as a career. I went to the Occupational Outlook Handbook and turned straight to the flight attendant page. From that day on I did everything I could to prepare myself for my exciting career.
I’ve had a variety of jobs growing up all of which revolved around customer service and safety. When I was 15 years old I worked during the summer at Children’s Hospital as a volunteer aid. At 16, I worked in the restaurant business starting as a bus boy and working my way up to host, waiter, and then bartender. At age16 through 19, I worked during the summer as a camp director for the City and during the off-season I was the receptionist for the Parks & Recreation department. When I graduated from college I went to work as a reservation manager in a top rated hotel. Besides my job duties as a reservation manager I also worked in housekeeping, sales, and as mod (manager on duty) when needed. Always in the back of my mind was the big picture of getting on with a major airline. My big break came in May of 1989, when there was an ad in the local paper looking for flight attendants. I went to the interview and I was offered the position and then I was off to training for 6 weeks. And I’ve been flying ever since. Over 22 years!
In the last 4 years I’ve taken on a new title/responsibility, that being a corporate flight attendant. It involves the same duties as a commercial flight attendant except there are different aspects in regards to my responablitites; there’s more arranging, direct communication, coordination, organizing and planning that is involved on my part, something I don’t get to partake in as a commercial flight attendant. Besides sometimes being the only flight attendant I’m also responsible for the ordering and catering of the plane and other miscellaneous duties. I found my way into the corporate flight attendant field by accident. A pilot I was flying with kept encouraging me to get into it because he thought It would be a perfect position for me. He gave me the name of an organization called NBAA “National Business Aviation Association”. He mentioned how they gave out scholarships for a wide range of training and he believed one of them involved corporate flight attendant training. Well the rest is history. I applied for the scholarship, won and was off running or should I say, “flying” to attend Flight Safety International, initial corporate flight attendant training. I was hired by Jett Sett Management and flew exclusively for a top auto company as well as doing a variety of private charters.
My parents taught me since I was a kid to follow your dreams and always learn something new everyday, no matter how big or small it might be. And that’s been my motto to this day! On my days off or when my schedule permits I take classes and seminars ranging from business classes, customer service training, safety courses, to things that interest me at the moment. I’m always learning or developing a new skill. As a commercial / corporate flight attendant and as a purser on international flights you never know when it’s going to come in handy. If you haven’t already guessed flight attendants wear numerous hats.
Well, that’s my story in a nutshell. I’m still enjoying my job and finding new adventures all over the world everyday!
~Don Jackson aka Jackson
“ Fly with a person you can trust!”