Oldest Flight Attendant Currently Working?

submitted by Jackbr

I was reading threads from a few years ago about Iris Peterson, the UA FA who retired age 84.

Does anyone know who the oldest FA is now? I think at US carriers they know what year the no.1 Senior started flying, which might provide an indication.

Has anyone flown with these "number ones"? What routes/aircraft do they tend to stick to?

all comments

1. dutchflyboi

2. jetjack74

Bob Reardon out of MSP here at DL is the oldest flying FA I believe. He's been flying since 1951, and he's 87 IICR. He flies MSP-NRT-MNL 6 day trips

[Edited 2011-09-02 17:12:29]

3. Jackbr

Quoting dutchflyboi (Reply 1):

At CO, the number 1 is either 74 or 75. I have flown with Norma, she flies EWR-HKG http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/...2/28/eveningnews/main7192655.shtml http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/1....html

Forgot about Norma at CO...there was a thread on another forum about her, saying some rather unpleasant things about her.

4. Viscount724

Quoting jetjack74 (Reply 2):

Bob Reardon out of MSP here at DL is the oldest flying FA I believe. He's been flying since 1951, and he's 87

Related news and blog items. He celebrates his 60th anniversary with NW/DL on October 1. http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/127660163.html http://boardingarea.com/blogs/flying...oeuvres-i-think-they-deserve-more/

5. dutchflyboi

Quoting Jackbr (Reply 3):

Forgot about Norma at CO...there was a thread on another forum about her, saying some rather unpleasant things about her.

  well. I know she is set in her own ways! She is good at what she does, but she doesn't like lazy F/A's... When you work with her, if you give her some respect for being at the job so long, she eats out of your hand, LOL

6. pqdtw

The oldest flight attendant at Delta is not Bob Reardon. He is the most senior, however. The oldest flight attendant is currently based at NYC on the PMNW side. She is 86 (a year older than Bob, who is 85, not 87), and has been flying since 1992. She began her career with American Airlines and worked until retirement at the Admirals Club at LaGuardia and retired after a full career. After 6 months of retirement, she decided that she wanted to get back to work, so at the age of 66, she applied to be a flight attendant for Northwest and was accepted.

For reasons of her privacy, I do not want to publish her name on here. If there is a flight attendant anywhere older than this lady, I doubt it . . .

And for the record, she was on my crew last week from EWR to AMS and back.

7. jetjack74

Quoting Jackbr (Reply 3):

Forgot about Norma at CO...there was a thread on another forum about her, saying some rather unpleasant things about her.

Well, theres alot of people who don't like Bob at the former NW. His reputation is all over the place, some love him, so hate him, and really hate him. He has the tendency to blow up on occasion, and for most of us, we just say, "that's just Bob". But that really shouldn't be the case. Everyone should be held to account, but they aren't. At union carriers, no one rats anyone else out, otherwise your name gets around. Fo many FA's, the fact that the most senior FAs get the best schedules, only get best trips, and work only a few times a month, and get full month's pay, give this job up is hard. Which why the physical aspect of it is the make or break point as to whether someone decides to retire. Also, many of the stalwart FAs In the case are single and this job is the only thing keeping them alive. It's the only thing they have, and loneliness is a very fearful thing for some people. In Norma's case, she might be the typical senior, old, woman who still feels she has "something to prove" to people. But she also might not. There are some, who are pursers, who still have an issue with women's role and standing in the airline industry. When they first started, they had to fight to get respect, because FAs were not respected then, and we still aren't. In fact, the public is very indifferent to FAs and in many ways, resent our presence on aircraft. But some still feel a very personal war must be waged, and can be very snippy, or disrespectful. Many of them have very short fuses and feel the need to dress their crew and passengers down. And they do their legacy, their company, crew and their passengers a great dis-service. I give the senior FAs their due respect until they give me a reason not. I won't take garbage from someone who feels it's their right to intimidate me or my peers, whether it be passengers or crew. You gotta give it to get it. I don't care it male or female, just don't be a jerk

8. jetjack74

Quoting pqdtw (Reply 6):

She is 86 (a year older than Bob, who is 85, not 87), and has been flying since 1992.

According to both articles, it says he's 87. If you have proof he's 85, please present it.

9. pqdtw

Quoting jetjack74 (Reply 8):

I asked him last year when I had breakfast with him in NRT, and he told me he was 84 then. Unfortunately, I don't have a transcript of our conversation.

10. jetjack74

Quoting pqdtw (Reply 9):

I asked him last year when I had breakfast with him in NRT, and he told me he was 84 then. Unfortunately, I don't have a transcript of our conversation.

Well it's 2 articles that say he's 87, so he's the oldest, on record. I don't how old our #2 is here in Seattle

11. type-rated

When F/A's get that old do they still actually work the carts, service, etc? Someone once told me at DL that usually the very old F/A's don't do that much work but are kind of "goodwill ambassadors" on the plane for the passengers.

12. jetjack74

Quoting type-rated (Reply 11):

When F/A's get that old do they still actually work the carts, service, etc? Someone once told me at DL that usually the very old F/A's don't do that much work but are kind of "goodwill ambassadors" on the plane for the passengers.

Well, some have the idea that just looking busy is worth their presence. My take is, that when it's too hard to carry a tray of drinks, it's time to retire. Just being able to walk the aisles aimlessly on a plane does not satisfy "the ability to do the job".

13. Ire2008

I highly doubt in any other country you would be aloowed still work in your 80s other than the US!

Kevin

14. MD11Engineer

Quoting jetjack74 (Reply 7):

Well, theres alot of people who don't like Bob at the former NW. His reputation is all over the place, some love him, so hate him, and really hate him. He has the tendency to blow up on occasion, and for most of us, we just say, "that's just Bob". But that really shouldn't be the case. Everyone should be held to account, but they aren't. At union carriers, no one rats anyone else out, otherwise your name gets around. Fo many FA's, the fact that the most senior FAs get the best schedules, only get best trips, and work only a few times a month, and get full month's pay, give this job up is hard. Which why the physical aspect of it is the make or break point as to whether someone decides to retire. Also, many of the stalwart FAs In the case are single and this job is the only thing keeping them alive. It's the only thing they have, and loneliness is a very fearful thing for some people.

In Norma's case, she might be the typical senior, old, woman who still feels she has "something to prove" to people. But she also might not. There are some, who are pursers, who still have an issue with women's role and standing in the airline industry. When they first started, they had to fight to get respect, because FAs were not respected then, and we still aren't. In fact, the public is very indifferent to FAs and in many ways, resent our presence on aircraft. But some still feel a very personal war must be waged, and can be very snippy, or disrespectful. Many of them have very short fuses and feel the need to dress their crew and passengers down. And they do their legacy, their company, crew and their passengers a great dis-service. I give the senior FAs their due respect until they give me a reason not. I won't take garbage from someone who feels it's their right to intimidate me or my peers, whether it be passengers or crew. You gotta give it to get it. I don't care it male or female, just don't be a jerk

Could it be that they simply have an oldfashioned work ethics and attitude? None of the touchy-feely stuff of today. I see the same in my mother, who a few years retired from a senior management position in the field of nursing. The attitude for her is: "Dienst ist Dienst und Schnapps ist Schnapps" ("Duty is duty and party is party, don´t mix them"), also if somebody wanted to be excused from work due to having partied to much the night before "Wer saufen kann muss auch arbeiten können!" ("Who knows how to booze has to know how to work as well!"), "Du bist hier zum arbeiten, nicht um Spass zu haben!" ("You are here to work, not to have fun!"). She would protect and support her subordinates, but would also have very strict rules about performance at work and would expect her criteria to be met. If not, she could be extremely unpleasant. Having talked to some older mechanics, who did their apprenticeships during the 1950s and are close to retirement now, they tell me stories, which would be absolutely impossible today, like the master throwing a hammer after an apprentice who fucked up or give him a slap. We have one old licenced engineer and shiftleader, who will retire somewhere around next year or so. He has been a first sergeant in the Luftwaffe for many years and has two modes: Either he talks very softly, or if provoked, he´ll use his barracks yard voice and you can hear him at the other end of the airport when he gives some idiot who f'cked up a bollocking. He wouldn´t write a report to HR or the boss, but he would deal with sloppy workers in a very direct manner and when he is finished with the defaulters, they will have shrunk to about a foot in size. But on the other hand, if you perform in accordance with his (again very strict) expectations, he would forgive mistakes and would support you.

Jan

15. axelesgg

Just fly with SAS and you'll find old attendants!

16. okAY

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 14):

Goosh... I have always known the Germans to be on the rough side... But.. Wow! Thankfully this is old-school even in Germany? I mean, if my boss would ever come shout at me, I would get up and walk straight to a higher lever manager and report this person, without a blink of an eye. I have always thought, one starts shouting when he does not have anything to say. And also, what I do is my business, of course I carry the consequences, but my boss is not my parent, if I do something wrong, we deal it in an orderly fashion, but do not, never ever, patronize me.

okAY

17. Eltomzo

Aren't flight attendants meant to be there for safety above all? Some OAP is going to struggle with the physical aspects of the job, surely, and that must be a risk from a safety perspective?

18. montenegro

If you take a flight of JAT you would be able to see the selection of the oldest ones flying around I'm sure.

19. MD11Engineer

Quoting okAY (Reply 16):

Goosh... I have always known the Germans to be on the rough side... But.. Wow! Thankfully this is old-school even in Germany? I mean, if my boss would ever come shout at me, I would get up and walk straight to a higher lever manager and report this person, without a blink of an eye. I have always thought, one starts shouting when he does not have anything to say. And also, what I do is my business, of course I carry the consequences, but my boss is not my parent, if I do something wrong, we deal it in an orderly fashion, but do not, never ever, patronize me.

If that guy shouts, he has a very clear reason for it. And I´m sure the culprit in question prefers a quick and loud bollocking over being sent to the boss, who would give him a lot more career related trouble than a quick thunderstorm.

Jan

20. vlad1971

21. airbazar

Quoting jetjack74 (Reply 7):

Which why the physical aspect of it is the make or break point as to whether someone decides to retire.

And this is one of many things that are wrong with our system. It shouldn't be left up to the FA to decide when to retire.

Quoting Eltomzo (Reply 17):

Aren't flight attendants meant to be there for safety above all? Some OAP is going to struggle with the physical aspects of the job, surely, and that must be a risk from a safety perspective?

My point exactly. This is a very physically demanding job, period. Not just in an emergency but it can quickly become a matter of life or death in an emergency. To allow a 70 or 80 year old person to be in this environment is simply ludicrous.

22. gdg9

Quoting jetjack74 (Reply 8):

Quoting pqdtw (Reply 6): She is 86 (a year older than Bob, who is 85, not 87), and has been flying since 1992.

According to both articles, it says he's 87. If you have proof he's 85, please present it.

What does it matter? 85, 86 or 87. Either way, very senior!

23. 2175301

Quoting airbazar (Reply 21):

My point exactly. This is a very physically demanding job, period. Not just in an emergency but it can quickly become a matter of life or death in an emergency. To allow a 70 or 80 year old person to be in this environment is simply ludicrous.

I will agree that the job requires a certain amount of physical abilities; and that perhaps annual certification tests should be given. However, I have no doubt that select 70 and 80 year olds will be able to pass those tests. Not everyone is born equal with their physical abilities and longevity factors. Also, staying in shape helps too.

Have a great day,

24. MD11Engineer

Quoting airbazar (Reply 21):

And this is one of many things that are wrong with our system. It shouldn't be left up to the FA to decide when to retire.

Why? Back in Ireland I´ve met several aircraft maintenance engineers, who came out of retirement (age about 70) to work as freelancers. For their whole professional lives they have been working and travelling, seeing their wives for a few weeks every few months. After retirement they were sitting permanently at home getting bored and arguing with their wives. Since in Ireland you can earn as much as you like in addition to your old age pension (as long as you pay income tax), they went back to work. Due to their immense experience and knowledge they didn´t do sh#t work, they were working as inspectors. I also knew a very capable Canadian maintenance instructor, who was very fit and still freelancing at the age of 80. If the person is still capable of doing the job, why not?

Jan

25. Lucce

I think the recurrent training should include more physical exercises (carrying life rafts, unconscious passengers etc.) to check that they are fit but even after all that we can't be sure how a person would perform after a 15-hour flight.

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 19):

If that guy shouts, he has a very clear reason for it. And I´m sure the culprit in question prefers a quick and loud bollocking over being sent to the boss, who would give him a lot more career related trouble than a quick thunderstorm.

Sorry, have to agree with okAY: that's not the way to handle things. People fail to realize that the "touchy-feely stuff" that we have today is for a reason. If the boss yells to a employee and ridicules him for a few minutes and then moves on the issue is not dealt with, just the symptom. The question WHY did he fail is never answered and thus can't be fixed. Additionally that creates a pseudo working morale found in elementary schools: an employee might start hiding his mistakes so that he wouldn't be yelled at rather than admitting them and being sanctioned accordingly (many companies have a system that if you come forward admitting making a mistake you aren't sanctioned).

26. nclmedic

There are of course many different ways to be a manager, but in my line of work, publicly ridiculing and embarrassing junior doctors is just not acceptable and will usually result in a trip upstairs to HR. And as a previous poster mentioned, you don't achieve anything by acting in this way - you simply inspire hatred and resentment among the juniors. Like in medicine, cabin crews need to work as a team all the time. Without this, they are completely redundant in an emergency.

I personally don't think anyone should be discriminated against on the basis of age (for one thing it is illegal here in the UK) but there are few 80+ year olds that I've met/treated that would able to cope with some of the tasks that may be required of them in an emergency - such as lifting and moving an unconscious adult or even carrying an overwing exit.

27. MD11Engineer

Quoting Lucce (Reply 25):

Sorry, have to agree with okAY: that's not the way to handle things. People fail to realize that the "touchy-feely stuff" that we have today is for a reason. If the boss yells to a employee and ridicules him for a few minutes and then moves on the issue is not dealt with, just the symptom.

When I was an apprentice I once f#cked up quite a big time. I was supposed to change the landing gear selector valve on a 737 Jurrasic and to get access, I had to loosen a lot of hydraulic connections. I installed the new valve, but due to wanting to go on break, I neglected to check my work. I just went to the inspector (one of the old school guys) and told him that my work was done and he could sign for it (this means that he takes all legal responsibility for my work) before going to the breakroom. In fact, I was being neglicient and lazy. While I was sitting there enjoying my break, the inspector came in and chewed me out in front of everybody. The fact was that I failed to tighten several connection I loosened for access and fortunately he didn´t sign blind, but performed a leak check. I was extremely embarrassed, but this experience stayed with me for my whole professional life since then. Ever since then I doublecheck all work I do on an aircraft. And since I´m now an inspector myself, signing for other people´s work, I understand why he was so p#ssed off. I certainly wouldn´t want to lose my licence or go to jail for somebody else´s sloppy work.

And I´ve got to day, that as embarrassing it was for me, in retrospect I´m happy that he didn´t go the official way, writing a report, which might not only have ended up in my file in HR, but even with the aviation authority. I know a guy, who made a mistake through neglegience, and since the fault was discovered in flight, the aviation authority was involved. He was not only demoted with a huge paycut (he was not allowed to work without supervision anymore), he also has an entry in his file with the aviation authority, which will never be cancelled for his whole professional life.

Sometimes a short, sharp, informal shock and embarrassment is better than going through the red tape.

BTW, a while later he was my examiner in aircraft hydraulics and landing gear when I did the practical exams for qualifiying at the end of my apprenticeship. He was strict, but very fair.

Jan

[Edited 2011-09-03 10:16:45]

BTW, I told my subordinates that, if they make a mistake, and they own up, I might get angry and chew them out, especially if it gives me additional work or if it was due to plain stupidity (e.g. we normally have B747-400 with PW engines. There you open the engine cowlings in the following order: Fan cowl, core cowl, reverser and you close them in the reverse order. Once we did our first A-check for a customer, I was shiftleader during night and had to get the aircraft serviceable next morning. Now this aircraft was equipped with GE engines, where you open the cowling in the following order: Fan cowl, reverser cowl, core cowl and close it in the reverse order. It was written in bright yellow on a dark blue bbackground in letters half a foot high on the reverser "CLOSE CORE COWL BEFORE CLOSING REVERSER". What did the mechanic do, whom I asked to close the engine cowlings? Exactly, he closed them in the wrong order, causing massive sheetmetal damage. I was lucky that I had the foreman of our sheetmetal shop on shift and that he had the right materials there to make a repair. Still, the airline´s reps were not impressed and I had to make a very embarrassing call to this airline´s MOC to tell them that we f#cked up their aircraft and that it wouldn´t be ready for departure on time), but if it was a one time occurence, the story would end there. I only would get HR and the senior management involved if the guy was a repeat offender and plainly dangerous to others. But I also told them that if I caught anybody hiding mistakes, I would come down on him like a ton of bricks and the matter would go straight to the top.

Jan

[Edited 2011-09-03 10:30:17]

28. KiwiRob

Quoting pqdtw (Reply 6):

She is 86 (a year older than Bob, who is 85, not 87), and has been flying since 1992. She began her career with American Airlines and worked until retirement at the Admirals Club at LaGuardia and retired after a full career. After 6 months of retirement, she decided that she wanted to get back to work, so at the age of 66, she applied to be a flight attendant for Northwest and was accepted.

I find it amazing that an airline would hire a 66 year old for a flight attendants job, I can understand them being stuck with grandma and granddad if they have already been in the job and just won't leave but to hire someone on at the age is beyong belief.

Quoting axelesgg (Reply 15):

Just fly with SAS and you'll find old attendants!

My wifes best friend is a SAS Norway attendant, she thinks their oldest are somewhere north of 70. I've been on flights where some of the old ladies sit down the back and knit whilst the young crew do all the work, must cost them a bit in fuel hauling their bony old butts around.

29. MD11Engineer

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 28):

I find it amazing that an airline would hire a 66 year old for a flight attendants job, I can understand them being stuck with grandma and granddad if they have already been in the job and just won't leave but to hire someone on at the age is beyong belief.

With the demographic changes in most Western countries (and parts of Asia, like Japan and possibly China) expect to see this more and more. The times when somebody abovev 40 was consdidered unemployable are over. Instead companies are thinking how to keep or gain the expertise, which comes over years, especially if it is a highly qualified job.

Jan

30. KiwiRob

Don't get me wrong I'm not against employing someone over 66, just not as a flight attendant where there is a safety element to the job, that is first class stupidity IMO.

31. DIJKKIJK

83 to 84 year old flight attendants ???? No matter how fit one is, reflexes, quick thinking and decision making capacities reduce considerably above the age of 80. Keeping 80 + year olds as flight attendants, who may be required to act quickly to save lives in an emergency, is totally unwise. Do the said airlines employ 80+ year olds in ANY capacity? I very much doubt it! So why have flight attendants at that age?

[Edited 2011-09-03 12:45:09]

32. CO777DAL

I was lucky to sit next to the number 4 flight attendant at Continental and we talked the whole flight on the way home. IAH-DAL. Her name is Penny Schuchat and she has been flying for Continental for 47 years!!! Next February will be her 48th. She was SUPER NICE and looks really good for her age. I never would have guessed she been flying for CO for 47 years! She let me make a video of her and she shows her anniversary pins she has for her years of service. There is also a photo at the end of the video of what she looked like in 1964 when she started at Continental.

HD Meet Continental Airlines 4th Longest Flying Flight Attendant Penny Schuchat http://youtu.be/ixG81D4h_J4?hd=1

[Edited 2011-09-03 12:54:33]

[Edited 2011-09-03 13:05:24]

33. bjorn14

Quoting Eltomzo (Reply 17):

Aren't flight attendants meant to be there for safety above all? Some OAP is going to struggle with the physical aspects of the job, surely, and that must be a risk from a safety perspective?

I would hope recurrent training would make these FA's (or their airlines) know it was time to move on.

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 24):

I also knew a very capable Canadian maintenance instructor, who was very fit and still freelancing at the age of 80.

If the person is still capable of doing the job, why not?

My Dad at age 75 is still teaching future A&Ps at the college level. Just won some teaching award.

34. Kyrone

While I dont know exact ages, the SAS crew out of ARN is fairly senior.

35. Jackbr

Quoting CO777DAL (Reply 32):

HD Meet Continental Airlines 4th Longest Flying Flight Attendant Penny Schuchat http://youtu.be/ixG81D4h_J4?hd=1

For all the bad rap the old FAs get sometimes, she looks and comes across fantastic! She was gorgeous when she was younger too.

I think it's amazing that she started off on 707s, 720Bs, Viscounts etc and is now working on 777s across the Pacific and Atlantic! Do you know where she's based? Sounds like she's from the south - Houston?

Here she is in a 727-200 galley http://www.calmemories.com/olc%20137.jpg

calmemories.com is a fantastic site.

[Edited 2011-09-03 17:35:56]

36. ditzyboy

Quoting Jackbr (Reply 35):

Here she is in a 727-200 galley http://www.calmemories.com/olc%20137.jpg

It looks like a 707/720 galley to me. 727s did not have a small exit like that (with a round window). The 707/720s did however.

37. washingtonian

Quoting CO777DAL (Reply 32):

I was lucky to sit next to the number 4 flight attendant at Continental and we talked the whole flight on the way home. IAH-DAL. Her name is Penny Schuchat and she has been flying for Continental for 47 years!!! Next February will be her 48th. She was SUPER NICE and looks really good for her age. I never would have guessed she been flying for CO for 47 years! She let me make a video of her and she shows her anniversary pins she has for her years of service. There is also a photo at the end of the video of what she looked like in 1964 when she started at Continental.

Very nice video. I almost wish somebody would organize an oral history project to videotape old flight attendants/piliots/airline hands to discuss the aviation industry back in the day...

38. airbazar

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 24):

Why? Back in Ireland I´ve met several aircraft maintenance engineers, who came out of retirement (age about 70) to work as freelancers

We're taling about flight attendands. People who have to endure 12 hours flights across multiple time zones all the while staying alert, and in an emergency help evacuate passengers, potentially having to lift an overwing door by themselves, or lift a heavy piece ofluggage out of the way, or carry an injured person off the plane. Do you seriously believe an 80 year old person could do any of that?

39. MD11Engineer

Quoting airbazar (Reply 38):

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 24):

Why? Back in Ireland I´ve met several aircraft maintenance engineers, who came out of retirement (age about 70) to work as freelancers

We're taling about flight attendands. People who have to endure 12 hours flights across multiple time zones all the while staying alert, and in an emergency help evacuate passengers, potentially having to lift an overwing door by themselves, or lift a heavy piece ofluggage out of the way, or carry an injured person off the plane. Do you seriously believe an 80 year old person could do any of that?

I´m talking about licenced aircraft maintenance engineers, who work long shifts (12 hours are quite common, I do work on a 12 hour shift pattern myself), who have to crawl into badly accessible parts of aircraft, who occasionally have to lift heavy parts of machinery and who have to certify an aircraft airworthy.

Jan

40. RWA380

Wait a minute guys, there are people in their 70's and 80's that can perform plenty of very physical things. My parents both 80 years old have recently dug massive holes to plant a dozen large trees on their 2 acre property by hand. They are thin and healthier than most people, even many half their age. I understand they are not the majority in their age group but this is a good example of how age does not define ones ability to perform physical activty. Good job to anyone doing something they love for so long, of course they should always meet the requirements of the carrier they fly for.

41. CO777DAL

Quoting Jackbr (Reply 35):

For all the bad rap the old FAs get sometimes, she looks and comes across fantastic! She was gorgeous when she was younger too.

I think it's amazing that she started off on 707s, 720Bs, Viscounts etc and is now working on 777s across the Pacific and Atlantic! Do you know where she's based? Sounds like she's from the south - Houston?

She is super nice and very informative. She lives in Dallas and is based out of Houston. She works on the 777s flights to Europe and Tokyo from Houston M-W. She looks good in that video for someone who just got back from working a flight from Amsterdam to Houston. She was so energetic too.

Quoting washingtonian (Reply 37):

Very nice video. I almost wish somebody would organize an oral history project to videotape old flight attendants/piliots/airline hands to discuss the aviation industry back in the day...

Thanks, I wished I asked her more questions on tape, but I asked her everything under the sun on the flight up. She was so happy to talk about her experience. She was telling me when she started people cared about flying and how people dressed up. She say now it is like a bus terminal and she is speaking about some of the passengers in BusinessFirst. She works the front half of BusinesFirst on the 777s. She said she wants to retire when CO no longer exist. She said that she started with Continental and wanted to just fly for one airline. She said how everyone (employees) at CO worked so hard since 1993 to make CO what it is today and now the current CEO sold out the airline. That made me really sad for her. I told her she is so close to 50 years, to try and make 50. We talked about the 787 and since I've been in one told her how nice it is and she said that might keep her going a few more year till she reaches 50 years.

I like your idea of a oral history project. There is so much we can learn from these older airline employees. The learned so much from her about CO and the past. When Penny started flying for CO my mom was only 4. She has been there a long time.

42. type-rated

My lawyer is 77 and he looks not a day over 50, and it more active than most 30 year olds. Most of his family members have lived well past 100. So he's really only becoming middle age, I kid him about that.

I had an aunt that graduated college with an IT degree at age 78 and now, at 87 she's running an internet development company. We kid her too about getting old.

43. PI767

Quoting CO777DAL (Reply 41):

She said how everyone (employees) at CO worked so hard since 1993 to make CO what it is today and now the current CEO sold out the airline. That made me really sad for her.

With all due respect, I don't know that that is a comment you want to leave on this site for her sake.

I can just imagine her getting called into some office for speaking poorly about the company and its management while in uniform and representing her employer.

I am not saying her feelings are justified, but as an airline employee, I would be horrified and worried for my job If I made a statement like that to a passenger and it was posted along with my name on an internet forum.

If you can edit that post, you may want to.

44. CO777DAL

Quoting PI767 (Reply 43):

If you can edit that post, you may want to.

I can't edit it. She likes her job a lot and likes working for Continental. Only had great things to say about her job and Continental. She was just saying she would like to retire from CO since that was the only airline she works for. I don't think what she said was bad. She just saying Continental will be gone and that is all she ever knew. Jeff S did sell CO to UA. We talked about when she started till today. It was an amazing story and she wants to end it with CO. I was trying to convince her to stay at least till 50 years since she is so close. For that entire flight she had nothing bad to say about CO at all. Amazing actually, she just wants to end retire a CO employee.

For any long time employees like that it must be hard to go through a change like this. 47 years is a long time. I bet very few people these days will ever hold one job that long. After talking to her for the entire flight and no offense to younger Flight Attendants, but they just don't make F/A like this anymore. She from a whole different era and it will be a loss to CO when she is gone.

45. lightsaber

Quoting RWA380 (Reply 40):

Wait a minute guys, there are people in their 70's and 80's that can perform plenty of very physical things.

Yep. Like crew AA flights.   

Quoting Jackbr (Reply 35):

For all the bad rap the old FAs get sometimes, she looks and comes across fantastic!

That she did. Kudos to her for doing the video.

Ok, this will sound bad, but in my ideal f/a crew, there would be a mixture of ages. The old salts for experience (assuming they come across as personable as Penny), plus a few young pups for the hours on the feet.

IMHO, when the whole crew is ready for social security, they tend to have a bad entitled attitude. Just as a crew of all young flight attendants wouldn't come across as professional to all customers. I personally like B6's practice of hiring across a spectrum of ages.

Lightsaber

46. Jackbr

Quoting CO777DAL (Reply 44):

I can't edit it. She likes her job a lot

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 45):

Yep. Like crew AA flights.

AA is often pointed out as having particularly old crew. Do they have more "Senior" FAs than most carriers in the US?

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 45):

Ok, this will sound bad, but in my ideal f/a crew, there would be a mixture of ages. The old salts for experience (assuming they come across as personable as Penny), plus a few young pups for the hours on the feet.

I agree. While Penny looks as though she'd be just as competent at all aspects of the job as she was in 1964, I'd be interested to see what the 85+ year old FA's are like with wheeling carts, opening doors etc. That said, if they stick to Business/First, the amount of work they do with carts would be minimal I'm sure.

47. mbm3

I had the pleasure of flying with Norma from CO a couple weeks ago and I was surprised at how much she worked on the flight. She put a lot of the other ISMs to shame with her hustle and attentiveness, regardless of age, and I most certainly felt that she was beyond capable to handle her duties in an emergency situation. Plus, I really liked how she mentored the crew and think she sets a great example.

48. pqdtw

Quoting gdg9 (Reply 22):

What does it matter? 85, 86 or 87. Either way, very senior!

The point is that she's NOT that senior. She only has about 20 years in. Bob, on the other hand, is very senior having a company hire date of 1951.

For those of you suggesting that the airlines should terminate elderly flight attendants: there are laws in the United States barring age discrimination. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 states:

It shall be unlawful for an employer-

(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s age;

(2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s age; or

(3) to reduce the wage rate of any employee in order to comply with this chapter.

(b) It shall be unlawful for an employment agency to fail or refuse to refer for employment, or other­wise to discriminate against, any individual because of such individual’s age, or to classify or refer for employment any individual on the basis of such individual’s age.

A company cannot just let someone go because he or she is "too old." These individuals continue to pass their recurrent training and fulfill the functions of their jobs, so on what basis can or should they be terminated? Anything else is subjective speculation that they could not perform in an emergency. Until there are laws for mandatory retirement age for cabin crew as there are with pilots, airlines must follow the letter of the law. For those of you who don't agree, write your congressman and have him or her propose a bill to have it changed. In the meantime, don't blame the carriers; they are following the law.

On a side note, those flight attendants who are over age 72 are actually "double dipping." After 72, they are required to begin taking their pension. So those individuals are earning salary and collecting pensions at the same time. The nice take home check each month certainly doesn't discourage stopping work either.

49. RyanairGuru

Quoting pqdtw (Reply 48):

The point is that she's NOT that senior. She only has about 20 years in. Bob, on the other hand, is very senior having a company hire date of 1951.

He meant senior as in 'old' not senior as in high on seniority listings

Quoting pqdtw (Reply 48):

A company cannot just let someone go because he or she is "too old." These individuals continue to pass their recurrent training and fulfill the functions of their jobs, so on what basis can or should they be terminated?

Nobody has (seriously) suggested otherwise. There are 40 years olds who are less mobile than some 80 year olds. But, completely regardless of age, all flight attendants should be fully capable of performing their tasks in an emergency and there should be more stringent checks to ensure this.

50. Eagleboy

Quoting Eltomzo (Reply 17):

Aren't flight attendants meant to be there for safety above all? Some OAP is going to struggle with the physical aspects of the job, surely, and that must be a risk from a safety perspective?

I agree that these very 'mature' employees are probably very healthy and fit (its is a physical job after all) but looking at a safety issue, those aircraft doors are very heavy, especially in an Airbus if the hydraulic assist is u/s. This for me would be a limiting factor on the ability of these 'mature' crew to be fully capable in an emergency. In addition do US crew have minimum eyesight and hearing limits?

On the other hand I am sure these crew are hugely experienced and capable of handling any customer service/ problem passengers incidents.

51. B727FA

Quoting jetjack74 (Reply 7):

At union carriers, no one rats anyone else out, otherwise your name gets around.

Respectfully, this makes no sense. PMNW is "union" and yet people apparently:

Quote:

Well, theres alot of people who don't like Bob at the former NW. His reputation is all over the place, some love him, so hate him, and really hate him. He has the tendency to blow up on occasion, and for most of us, we just say, "that's just Bob". But that really shouldn't be the case. Everyone should be held to account, but they aren't.

This isn't a union/non-union issue. It's a personality issue.

As far as I'm concerned, all the Cat Ranchers can stay as long as they want if they pull their weight, pass recurrent and still know how to party on the overnights!

52. jetjack74

Quoting B727FA (Reply 51):

This isn't a union/non-union issue. It's a personality issue.

No, unofficially, it's a union issue. Someones' attitude is the personal issue, how we as union FAs handled it, was a union issue. No matter how bad someone is, you simply do not rat on them to mgmt, it's simply not done, otherwise, you would be a target. The method we used to to deal with problem FAs, when we were Teamsters, PFAA and AFA, was we would report them to Professional Standards(or ProStans as we called it) which was a union-sponsored entity, to keep things within the rank and file, and not write someone up". I don't know what it's like on your side, but on the PMNW side, we would rarely write someone up, or turn them in to mgmt. That's just the way it was. You guys do things differently.

53. B727FA

Quoting jetjack74 (Reply 52):

Everyone should be held to account, but they aren't.

Agreed. But it sounds like people don't always hold Bob (for example) to account:

Quote:

He has the tendency to blow up on occasion, and for most of us, we just say, "that's just Bob". But that really shouldn't be the case.

You say you use:

Quoting jetjack74 (Reply 52):

Professional Standards(or ProStans as we called it) which was a union-sponsored entity, to keep things within the rank and file, and not write someone up

I was the Chair of our PSC at another carrier. I know all about it.

Quoting jetjack74 (Reply 52):

I don't know what it's like on your side, but on the PMNW side, we would rarely write someone up, or turn them in to mgmt

Quoting jetjack74 (Reply 52):

You guys do things differently.

How can you say that? You say you don't know what it's like on "our" side and they you assert that we "do things differently."

Trust me, we take care of it on our own, too. We work it through as a crew or on a person-to-person basis. We know who plays nice and who makes waves. What many people forget is that we are still labor and we still watch out "for our own." There is very little "tattling" here (being a target and all). So now you DO know how we do it.

54. thegoldenargosy

An interesting fact about Norma Heape is that she was on board CO603 on March 1, 1978. One of the engines on her DC-10 caught on fire during take off, and the captain aborted take off. The fire quickly spread. Norma and the other flight attendants evacuated the aircraft safely. The two passengers that did die, an elderly couple, had been informed by a FA not to use a door but did so anyway.

55. ItalianFlyer

Quoting pqdtw (Reply 48):

A company cannot just let someone go because he or she is "too old." These individuals continue to pass their recurrent training and fulfill the functions of their jobs, so on what basis can or should they be terminated? Anything else is subjective speculation that they could not perform in an emergency. Until there are laws for mandatory retirement age for cabin crew as there are with pilots, airlines must follow the letter of the law. For those of you who don't agree, write your congressman and have him or her propose a bill to have it changed. In the meantime, don't blame the carriers; they are following the law.

****BINGO, well said 

On a side note, those flight attendants who are over age 72 are actually "double dipping." After 72, they are required to begin taking their pension. So those individuals are earning salary and collecting pensions at the same time. The nice take home check each month certainly doesn't discourage stopping work either.

I flew with Bob several times during my NWA years...yes, he is quirky but he was very competent (as of 6 years ago). Having done special assignment stints in training at 2 airlines, I have seen people, across the age spectrum, grounded for inability to manage the physical dexterity required to successfully complete recurrent. There is no special treatment or 'looking the other way' in ART...the FAA (and JAA im sure) watch training programs like a hawk. As for the pension issue...that is a sticking point that explains why many people continue to fly into their golden years. As several posters pointed out...to some, flying is their life...their social outlets and they sincerely love what they do and it shows. To many....pensions were abrogated or amended in the early 2000s and they have to continue to fly to save and 'make up' for a sustainable retirement. This is not a 'union thing' ..... it is a human thing and reality in the USA's 'new economy'.

56. Ford3motor

I'm not sure if he is the oldest F/A working of all the carriers or even at UA where he is employed, but the number one F/A at United was hired in 1949. He was one of the eight original Hawaiian 'stewards' hired by United.

57. jetjack74

Quoting B727FA (Reply 53):

Agreed. But it sounds like people don't always hold Bob (for example) to account:

Well, think about it. Unless Bob did something criminally wrong, his antics ie, onboard blow-ups he's been known to have, why would someone want to torpedo the guy since he's been here for so long, where he is probably endeared to many people? The populace is more likely to just let things go as opposed to the same type of display from someone who's only been flying less than month. I'm not saying he gets away with stuff scott-free, he's probably ;ess-likely to be disciplined to the same degree as a new-hire might be. And I mean this in general terms

Quoting B727FA (Reply 53):

You say you use:

Quoting jetjack74 (Reply 52): Professional Standards(or ProStans as we called it) which was a union-sponsored entity, to keep things within the rank and file, and not write someone up

I was the Chair of our PSC at another carrier. I know all about it.

Good, so you understand where i'm coming from.

Quoting B727FA (Reply 53):

How can you say that? You say you don't know what it's like on "our" side and they you assert that we "do things differently."

Dude, seriously, I don't mean to sound devisive, i'm just pointing out that different corporate cultures that we're coming from, that's all. We are still separated by labour rules and in time, we'll learn to work and live under the same policies and procedures. I'm not meant to sound like i'm resistant to the Delta way, quite the opposite. So in future, i'll try to choose my wording more carefully, if you'll not take my lack knowledge so seriously. I'm still learning from this merger. Friends?

58. qantas747flyer

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 14):

he´ll use his barracks yard voice and you can hear him at the other end of the airport when he gives some idiot who f'cked up a bollocking. He wouldn´t write a report to HR or the boss, but he would deal with sloppy workers in a very direct manner and when he is finished with the defaulters, they will have shrunk to about a foot in size.

ah the good old days.... such a shame that man has generally been altered from his natural position of being firm and dominant, to the "modern male" of today where he is expected to be in touch with his "feminine side" and passively accept abuse and bullshit from all angles. The late great George Carlin captured this phenomenon beautifully with his coining of the term "the pussyfication of men"

Rant over...

59. NASCARAirforce

I swear I saw the oldest one working for Southwest the other day on the employee shuttle at MCO. She was really frail looking and asking people to lift her bags for her and stuff.

60. dlflynhayn

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 59):

I swear I saw the oldest one working for Southwest the other day on the employee shuttle at MCO. She was really frail looking and asking people to lift her bags for her and stuff

No way that Bob at DL was probably a flight attendant before WN was even in business haha!!

61. NASCARAirforce

Quoting dlflynhayn (Reply 60):

No way that Bob at DL was probably a flight attendant before WN was even in business haha!!

Who knows where she was before Southwest. She might have been at Southern or Eastern or Pan Am.

62. B777LRF

All fine and good, but being the sexist male that I am, am finding it rather wonderful to step onboard an airline that hails from an area, where biscuit chuckers are grounded around the age of 28 or if they become pregnant. I know it's shallow and that a seasoned dolly trolly can deliver superior service (if she's in the mood, and do they ever have mood swings), but I'd rather be served by someone whom gravity has not yet been unkind to.

Have done a fair few flights on EK the last couple of months, average age must be in the mid-twenties and there are obvious good-looks criteria in their hiring process. Just the way this exceedingly un-PC bloke likes it.

63. B727FA

Quoting jetjack74 (Reply 57):

i'm just pointing out that different corporate cultures that we're coming from, that's all. We are still separated by labour rules and in time, we'll learn to work and live under the same policies and procedures. I'm not meant to sound like i'm resistant to the Delta way, quite the opposite. So in future, i'll try to choose my wording more carefully, if you'll not take my lack knowledge so seriously. I'm still learning from this merger. Friends?

I appreciate your feedback. Please understand, how your post reads to me is that at PMNW "we don't rat on people" and at PMDL "we do."

Quoting B727FA (Reply 53):

Quoting jetjack74 (Reply 52):

I don't know what it's like on your side, but on the PMNW side, we would rarely write someone up, or turn them in to mgmt ...You guys do things differently.

Does that give you some insight into my response?

I certainly am willing to take you at your word that we simply misunderstood each other; I truly hope you wouldn't think that we're all a bunch of tattle-tales here on the PMDL side and that you post was about corporate culture and not labor culture.

Peace...