Cindy Heffelfinger and Jessica Meckes are both business aviation contract flight attendants. But they have something else in common: they are mother and daughter.
Heffelfinger–mom–got into the business after several false starts as a cosmetologist, cardiac care specialist, paralegal and finally as an airline flight attendant. “I absolutely loved flying, loved the travel and loved the job,” said Heffelfinger.
It was while she was flying for USAir that a friend invited her to help on some Cablevision sports team flights. That was followed by corporate flights for several companies based in Allentown, Pa. “I got my first couple of checks and said, ‘That’s it’!”
That was about eight years ago. Today, the 47-year-old contract flight attendant is flying all the hours she can handle, and a few more. “So about a year ago, I started encouraging my daughter to get into the business.”
“Mom would tell me about the places she’d been and the people she had met, and she made it sound so interesting,” said Meckes. In March, 23-year-old Meckes completed her initial cabin safety training and is already working for several charter operators in the Allentown, Pa. area, where both women live.
Catering, said Meckes, is the most difficult part of being a business aviation flight attendant. “But I like to cook and I like to impress. And so far I like the job.”
While mom prefers the contract flight attendant route, Jessica would prefer a full-time job with a Part 91 flight department operation.
One of Cindy’s regular clients will take delivery of an executive/VIP MD-80 early next year, and the owner expects to carry two flight attendants on some trips. So the possibility of working with her daughter on the same flight is a distinct possibility. “I’d love to fly with her,” said Heffelfinger.
Would daughter Jessica like to work with mom? “Sure,” said Meckes. “She’s one of the best women I’ve ever known and I love her to death.”