Guergana Gueorguieva lives the high life, literally. As a cabin crew relations section head for the Abu Dhabi private plane operator Royal Jet, she visits more than 70 destinations a year. She speaks about a shift serving VIP passengers on a typical four-hour flight.
If my take-off is 10am, I would wake up [four hours before]. It takes about an hour to get into my uniform. We have very strict grooming standards. Our makeup has to be applied in a certain manner and that takes time.
I leave my house. I live in Dubai Marina, so it takes about an hour to get to work.
I attend a preflight briefing. We discuss safety, security [and] service.
We start preparing the cabin. Everything has to be perfect. We try to gain as much information on our guests as possible so we can anticipate their needs. Sometimes we try to find out what the favourite scent of the guest is so we can have the cabin smelling of [it]. We fill it with the favourite flowers of the guest, favourite colours - basically as much information as we can get without invading the privacy of the guest.
Normally the guest would board. It really depends on their mood and agenda. [If they are flying at 10am] they might even come after 10am. It's their journey. But 30 minutes before the estimated take-off time we need to be ready in our positions in full uniform and fully groomed.
After take-off we will start the service. [We make their favourite meals] as standard on each flight. We normally use the large buffets but we have 10 to 15 different types of service depending on the guest's needs. A service would normally take about two hours.
Once we have done the service and made sure that the guest is happy, we will provide any additional comforts like a turndown service. We might select movies for the guest or magazines, ask what time they would like to be woken up.
After our guest disembarks we have to complete a full security check of the aircraft, making sure that nothing is left behind. Then we would make sure the aircraft is spotless and ready for the next flight because there might be a last-minute request. It usually takes about two hours - sometimes it takes about 20 minutes.
We disembark with the pilots and have transport waiting for us to take us to the hotel. [What we do when we get there] really depends on how long we have in the destination. That can vary, anything from 10 hours up to 12 days.
Normally after we check-in we have a little talk about how the flight went. Then we discuss sightseeing, what the tourist attractions are and who wants to go where.
Cabin crews are normally never night owls because the job is so unpredictable. Each one of us tries to get a minimum of seven hours of sleep.
* Gillian Duncan