Aside, from your clients particulars, serving on a jet is similar to service in a restaurant. Below are a few tips for the newer flight attendants or a refresher for the seasoned.
First and perhaps most importantly is your physical appearance. Having a neat, clean uniform not only makes a good impression, it is a form of respect to your profession. Long hair should be tied back and combed. Stand up straight, do not slouch, and no gum.
Now onto behavior. Being witty and charming is great, but on the jet you should remember the importance of brevity in your job. Wit and charm combined with courtesy and professionalism are the ingredients needed in this occupation. Also when there’s a need to talk to the pilots, always remember that someone else may also be listening, so keep it low and professional.
Moving about. When moving through a narrow isle, walk smoothly and slowly. When compelled to get someone’s attention so you can pass, softly pardoning yourself is best as some clients may find it offense to touch them with your hand.
Preparing or serving food. Always use gloves when touching food and do not touch your face or your hair. Some clients may not mind if a chef coat or apron is worn, but these should be removed during cabin service. Chewing or munching on anything while serving your client is not professional. If there’s a need taste the food, move to do so, or turn where you cannot be seen.
Serving clients on the jet. The proper wait staff etiquette in taking orders is to start with the guest of honor, followed by the women, the men, the hostess then the host. If such is not clear to you, you could take orders according to seniority – starting from the oldest to the youngest. Sometime the jet owner may prefer to be asked so they may prompt the others who are timid to begin. Everyone is different, be flexible.
Tables aboard the jet should be served all at once. Serving the courses simultaneously too, allows the clients to start their meal at the same time. If available, utensils are usually different in between courses. Some prefer one fork for the salad and another for dinner. Be sure to remove the appropriate utensil along with the appropriate plate/course. Between courses you may use a “crumbier” to remove food crumbs to tidy up between courses. This looks more professional than using your hand or serving a new course on a dirty table.
Serving the food and drinks. Food and drinks are customarily served from the left side of the guest. On the jet, this of course is not possible. View the attached photo of how the table should look to your client. Serving the guest furthest away from you prevents you from reaching over the guests food that is closest to the isle. When you serve a plate of food, use care to not allow your thumb to go over the lip of the plate, potentially making a fingerprint on the rim or even touching the client’s food. Use a tray when serving drinks. Holding the glasses looks untidy and gives an impression that the server lacks order and grace. Make sure that glasses are served with cocktail napkins. Water drops form on the glasses and look sloppy after while. Proper etiquette in serving wine requires that stemmed glasses be held at the stem. The cask that holds the liquid should not be touched.
After service, don’t bury your head in the galley. Always be on the lookout to notice if your clients need anything else. Make sure that the table always has drinks and everyone’s table needs are attended to. Your clients shouldn’t have to continuously flail their arms every time they need your attention.
Plate clearing etiquette. Clearing of the plates should be done after everyone at that table has eaten, making sure that the other clients will not feel rushed as you do so. When removing uneaten food into the trash, be sure to block this procedure as it is unsightly to some. Finally use care to plate paper towels between the dirty dishes in your dirty dish holder. Turbulence could cause them to shift and possibly break and these dishes are sometimes very expensive.
Precise etiquette in serving guests varies, as this is reliant on cultural norms and client preference. But knowing and mastering the above general rules can really be helpful in developing your skills–allowing you to soar high in this career field!