Archived Story

Write Again … When our Sarah was soaring

Published 10:35am Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Our older daughter, Sarah, was a flight attendant with American Airlines for nine years.

She left this profession due to increasing responsibilities as her family began to grow. And grow.

For much of Sarah’s time with the airlines she did the New York to Los Angeles and back run. In the beginning she lived in New York City, then later moved to Connecticut.

We always enjoyed having her tell of some of her experiences, and especially about some of the people she met.

One time she called to tell me about having a very friendly and personable passenger who had been a football star — O. J. Simpson. It was almost exactly two weeks later that the tragedy took place.

Many months later, she had the Goldman family on a flight, and then again after the civil trial, Jeff Goldman’s sister was on the LA To NY flight. Sarah said they both recognized each other. Our daughter said to her, “I’m so happy for you.” (The verdict.)

After the sister was seated in coach class, Sarah saw that she was crying.

Since there was an open seat in first-class, Sarah told the captain, and asked could she move her up there. He readily agreed.

Two of the nicer and very friendly couples she had on flights were Dan Rather and his wife, and Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger. She said they couldn’t have been more pleasant.

She noted that on one of her flights, Al Pacino studied a script during the entire trip.

And then there were a couple of not-so-pleasant, well-known ladies.

One, a former first lady, wanted one of her bags beside her, and not in the storage compartment above. She was told that because of its size it was a requirement that it be stored above. Much conversation ensued. This passenger in first-class made known her displeasure in no uncertain terms.

And then there was the well-known T V talk show host, also traveling in first-class, who told one of the flight attendants that she wanted a certain flight attendant in coach switched to first class.  Why? Because she wanted it, that’s why. This passenger didn’t personally know her preferred flight attendant, but she wanted her. Period.

An embarrassing moment came for Sarah when she handed a menu to a passenger in first-class.  When she realized what she had done she began to apologize, but the gentleman just started laughing. Ray Charles had a good sense of humor.

The life of a flight attendant isn’t glamorous. And one has to work a number of years before the pay is respectable.

When our Sarah was first starting out, she shared a one-bedroom apartment in New York City with five other flight attendants. They had three bunk beds in the room. Fortunately, the young ladies were rarely ever all together at home at one time.

Sarah’s days and nights in the sky are well behind her now. She had some pleasant, and some interesting experiences, and she’s grateful she had the opportunity.

She is a full-time, hands-on, devoted mother now.  Although their family has a full, sometimes almost chaotic life style, Sarah knows it’s the best job she has ever had.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t times when a flight to LA with an overnight stay in a nice hotel seems a bit enticing.

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