With over 100 years of combined experience, these flight attendants have seen just about it all. They’ve flown all over the world and are now sharing some of the sweetest times they’ve had. From the kindness of a stranger to a precious moment with an elderly couple, these stories are sure to put a smile on your face.
Heather Earl has spent 20 years flying with Delta. On this particular flight, she noticed an elderly couple in their 90s while pre-boarding. With some obvious discomfort, they slowly left the aisle and settled into their seats.
“I saw that the gentleman had two hair ties wrapped around his wrist. I noticed because they were bright blue and were sticking out from under the lapel of his neatly pressed navy blue blazer. This couple were of a a time when flying was an opportunity to dress up.
On the way, they asked me how long they had before the other passengers boarded. I said they’d be on board any minute. The wife patted her husband’s knee and turned her back on him.
He immediately took a comb out of his breast pocket and began combing and braiding his wife’s long gray hair. He smiled at me and said he learned to do her hair because his arthritis prevented it. He proudly told me that he was very efficient and that he was sure he could finish before the other passengers arrived. He had just finished rolling up the rubber bands at the end of his pigtails as the other passengers began to stream down the aisle.
I noticed the couple smiling and waving at the arriving passengers. Every time I passed this couple, they were holding hands.
That’s right, unconditional love!
A song saved the day
Lara Ketterman is always up for a good challenge. While she’s still flying, she’ll never forget a very delayed flight out of busy Newark airport.
“We were flying a Boeing 757 with 190 passengers to Phoenix. It was the first flight in the morning, and everyone was nervous because they woke up early to catch this flight. I don’t mean to disparage any particular city, but it’s a New York airport full of angry citizens.
We pushed back the time, along with all the other airlines. After finishing the safety demonstration, a few of us flight attendants gathered in the back galley for what we knew was a long taxi ride to the runway.
After about 15 minutes, the pilot told us that we were number 68 for the start! Passengers groaned and started ringing their call buttons to hear about their connections. You could feel the tension in the plane.
We had this lovely family in the very back row with a young child about six years old and a toddler on their lap as well. I felt bad for them to sit so long before we even took off. The six-year-old was this sweet little girl with a fun ponytail and rose-colored glasses.
I stood in the aisle and talked to them while everyone around me complained about the delay. The little girl asked what was going on and I told her that we were delayed for takeoff and that put some people in a bad mood. She replied, ‘Well, we should sing the Oscar Meyer song! No one is in a bad mood when you sing this song! I laughed and said, ‘Okay honey, you start and I’ll follow you.’
Her sunny little voice began: “I wish I was an Oscar Meyer sausage, that’s what I really wish I was-ee-ee, because if I was an Oscar Meyer sausage, everyone would be in love with me .”
I said, let’s sing it again, and this time I joined them, along with his parents. Then another flight attendant came over to sing. We sang several times and like magic the passengers stopped complaining and started listening and with each song more and more people started singing. When we stopped, everyone clapped and clapped! This little girl knew way more than most adults how to turn negative into positive.
And ladies and gentlemen, that’s how I got 190 New Yorkers to sing Oscar Meyer Wiener’s song!
The kindness of a stranger
Flying for nearly 40 years will give you plenty of stories. Lara shares another about the vital kindness of a stranger.
“We were boarding a flight from Raleigh to Phoenix. Everyone was getting settled in and the door to the plane was still open. Earlier, I had greeted a very frequent traveler who was already hard at work on his laptop. I was in the back kitchen preparing the beverage carts for service when I heard a passenger call button. I went out into the cabin, I saw the light on above a lady sitting near the window. She turned and looked for me. She looked stressed and anxious.
I asked her what I could do for her and she told me her insulin pump battery was dead and I had a AAA battery on board. I thought a lot. It was the first time someone asked me for a drum set for an important reason. I looked up and everyone was listening and watching. I said I wasn’t sure, but I would call ahead and ask the gate agent to get one.
At that moment, the great traveler raised his hand. I walked over and he was disassembling the mouse from his laptop. He handed me the battery and went back to his work. No words, just actions. I thanked him profusely and he just waved me off. Some of the passengers cheered, but the man kept working, and we left on time with a working insulin pump for a diabetic passenger.
Kentrell Charles flew with American Airlines for nearly 25 years. He loved spending time in the sky with his passengers. So it’s no surprise that they showed their appreciation.
“Our flight was full and already delayed for several hours. Our goal was to board passengers quickly and seamlessly, push open the gate safely, serve snacks, and enjoy the long flight. Several of my first class passengers said they resented the delays and were upset about them. All I could do was listen and apologize. It’s always difficult when the delays are out of your control.
Well, I guess my serve made up for it. After arriving at our hotel, I saw several of our passengers in the check-in line. We wave and smile. Some time passed and I got a call from reception. They said a free dinner was waiting for me. All I had to do was call room service and order what I wanted.
I was so touched and suggested there had been a mistake. The reception told me that two hotel guests had spoken to the manager about my excellent service. I was so moved and couldn’t wait to place my order.
Our layover was cut short due to the delay so all I wanted to do was relax and stay low. I left a nice thank you note at checkout and had a great flight home. I hope my passengers have understood that their gratitude means the world to me!
New ‘Dos’ for the crew
You could say that Nancy Lee has seen it all! She has been a flight attendant for over 40 years and still loves it! His story is funny, and I actually wish I was on that plane!
“In the mid-90s, I took a late flight from Orlando to Los Angeles. I noticed a passenger with the most gorgeous hair color and haircut. She said she was a model. Turns out there was a barbershop contest in Orlando. And the winner was on our flight! Because all the other passengers were sleeping and we were bored, he gave us a free haircut on the plane. We looked great and someone got lots of free drinks from us.