Fanshawe's flight services students gain practical skills through dinner series

A photo of students in the flight services program, wearing flight attendant uniforms CREDIT: COURTESY OF KATERINA PEARN
Fanshawe flight services students gather outside Fanshawe's Norton Wolf School of Aviation.

Fanshawe’s flight services students had the chance to work with the public, refining the practical skills they will need out in the field (or, up in the air). The program held its second annual dinner series at a local restaurant, a partner of the program.

“We’re partnering with a local restaurant called Katana Kafé and it’s located right at the London Airport,” said Haley Whitelaw, program coordinator of the flight services program. “Our aviation school is [also] located at the airport and people who come out to dine get to be right on the view of the runway as well. They can see the aircraft coming in and taking off while they’re dining, which is really exciting for people who are aviation fans.”

Students will gain hospitality experience as they work with real customers from the London community. For those who already have dining experience, it brings it to a fine dining level, so they still walk away with additional experience. They do everything from the second the customer walks in the door.

Navigator. Londons student lifestyles magazine.

“They greet them when they arrive, seat them, they have an explanation of the menu, offering drinks. And then there is the appetizer, main, the dessert, and then afterwards, we always try to make it a little personable and have a little chat and thank all of the guests for supporting us.”

The entire night is typically about two to two-and-a-half hours long.

The series has been taking place since January. The final dinner for this year will be March 13.

“Last year presented some challenges because we were on and off with the different capacity limits and there were Omicron variants. This year has been fantastic because we’ve been able to increase the number of nights and we’ve sold out all except one evening. It was so well-received by the community and well supported.”

One happy customer provided a review for the students. They wrote:

“I want to commend the dinner and the service at Katana on Monday evening. As a customer, it went seamlessly. Congratulations. The students all presented impeccably and most of all seem to be having fun. It looked like an amazing experience for them. This is one of the best Caesar salads I’ve had. I have to say seeing Flair taxi by and the G280 land and taxi to its hangar made the experience even better.”

“It was nice to hear the customers enjoying the service but also the food and they had a good time,” said Whitelaw. “It’s just a fun evening and it’s an added bonus when you get to see the aircraft outside your window.”

The final dinner will serve as the students’ final exams before they take off on their careers in flight services. Many students already have jobs as they continue on to places like Greece and Dubai.

“I would like to give a special thanks to the staff and chef Nate at Katana Kafé; we really value their partnership for this dinner series!”

Although the dinner series is coming to an end for this year, it will be back up and running from Jan. to March in 2024.