If you've ever flown on an Etihad Airways flight, you know how seriously they take service, so it should be no surprise that they're really making sure that the people they choose to be the Butlers of their new 10 Airbus A380 fleet are the best of the best. The company sent 13 men and women to The Savoy hotel's Butler Academy for some serious academy training alongside head butler, Sean Davoren, and his team.
“The Savoy has long had an ethos of ‘personal service naturally’,” says Head Butler Sean Davoren, "and is the first hotel to establish its own school to train professionals. Our 24-hour Butler service here at The Savoy is designed to exceed all expectations, whether a guest needs to arrange dinner reservations, in-suite dining, secretarial services, personal shopping, theatre tickets, last-minute travel arrangements or administrative support."
The group of 13 are all In-Flight Chefs or Food & Beverage Managers and each one was carefully chosen for the position, "which combines the skills of both Concierge and Maître d’hôtel to provide superior service to the discerning guests of The Residence by Etihad." They spent two weeks at the London School of Hospitality and Tourism at the University of West London, which spanned a range of topics, including "customer care for VIP guests, advising on formal clothing, international etiquette, wine tasting, floral arrangements and much more." During their third week, they shadowed The Savoy's butlers to get first-account experience of the position's daily duties.
"Training professionals for the Hospitality Industry is something for which we have many years of experience and relevant expertise at London School of Hospitality and Tourism," says Patricia Paskins, course leader for Diploma for Butlers at University of West London. "We are delighted to be involved in this butler training which, for the first time, has been for a prestigious airline. The standards of excellence in service and the attention to detail required from a butler remain the same wherever it is carried out and this important addition to the ‘butler portfolio’ defines just how versatile this role can be."
If you don't know what The Residence by Etihad is, it's a three-room cabin (complete with a living room, shower-room, and a double bedroom) that will soon be introduced on the airway's upcoming fleet of 10 Airbus A380s, with the first aircraft planned for an inaugural flight to London Heathrow on December 27—with the new butler on board, of course.
A second group of butlers will head to the Savoy Butler Academy in early 2015.