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Justin Borg from VistaJet talks to Erica about introducing WSET wine training to Cabin Services

Justin Borg from VistaJet talks to Erica about introducing WSET wine training to Cabin Services

Enjoy Discovering Wine (EDW) have been working with VistaJet since 2015 running bespoke WSET Level 1 Award in Wine courses for all VistaJet cabin hostesses.

VistaJet is the first and only global aviation company. Having flown corporations, governments and private clients to 187 countries worldwide, the VistaJet team is committed to doing everything possible to go above and beyond passengers’ expectations, including providing the most expansive experience of wine tasting in the sky.

Erica interviewed VistaJet’s Cabin Services Coordinator, Justine Borg, to find out what her expectations were for working with EDW.

JB: I wanted to work with Erica and Helen to ensure that when we ran the WSET qualification courses, there was a clear, organized structure which would be easily communicated and understood by our colleagues; from day one the EDW team delivered this.

I wanted the team to appreciate the opportunity presented to them. The added knowledge gained through the course is a real asset for our hostesses and helps to showcase to our customers how professional and well prepared our cabin hostesses are.

With the WSET Level 2 we want to take a step further with the service our customers receive onboard, presenting cabin hostesses as a reliable source of knowledge and specialists in hospitality. Potentially our customers will even leave the aircraft taking away a new piece of information about the wine from our tasting list.

Some feedback we receive from the customers is that they enjoy making conversation with the hostesses. For some, wine tasting is a true passion, so they feel pleasantly surprised when the cabin hostesses can engage them in a conversation about wines, especially when they can provide insights about the best wine regions, the effect of climate and weather or food pairing.

Like this, cabin hostesses also get job satisfaction, feel appreciated, and feel proud of themselves for being able to share interesting facts about wine production, grape varieties, wine tastes etc.

For me, because I genuinely care and am passionate about my work, it gives me great satisfaction to know my team are gaining an extra qualification. Sometimes they might not believe me when I say, ‘good luck and make me proud’ but I know how hard they work; to make this achievable gives me great satisfaction in my job. I did the WSET Level 2 course years ago myself, so I have good insight into what they go through; I want them to understand how beneficial it is for them.

VistaJet’s philosophy is: to give our passengers the very best. We, therefore, train and prepare our cabin hostesses to deal with any scenario out on-the-line. Through EDW we offer the WSET Level 1 Award in Wines as part of their initial training, meaning that they know straightaway the basics of wine styles and service, including how to pair food with wine. This also means they have confidence for the first flight.

We don’t stop at WSET Level 1. We offer WSET Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits too; which from 2018 includes Erica and Helen coming to our semi-annual strategy week in Malta to run a revision and tasting workshop to support the cabin hostesses’ studies and ensure success.

As a future consideration we have discussed offering a WSET Level 3 Award in Wines, it would be a benefit for the company and for the cabin hostesses themselves. If we have a customer who owns a vineyard or a wine company, we can allocate a cabin hostess who has WSET Level 2 and 3 knowledge so that the customer feels confident in the service they are receiving.

Anticipating our customers’ needs is something we pride ourselves on. We need to predict their expectations even before they come on board; it is about being efficient and paying attention. The WSET qualification with Erica and Helen, is an aspect of the training that helps us meet and continuously surpass the expectations of our customers.

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