More Than a Footnote

Flight attendant Doreen Welsh, 59, retired Wednesday after 37 years of service to U.S. Airways.  Her final flight, number 1167 from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. to her base at Charlotte (N.C.) Douglas International Airport took just under two hours.  It arrived at 2:48 p.m. EST — 17 minutes ahead of schedule. 

Also retiring on Wednesday was the flight’s captain,  Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger.

Of course, the story was reported the other way around.  And make no mistake, it was the Sullenberger retirement story, not the Welsh retirement story.  She didn’t have a cocktail named for her.  He did.

The crew of flight 1549.  (Welsh is 2nd from right.)

The crew of flight 1549. (Welsh is 2nd from right.)

Being married to a longtime flight attendant, I’m sure I took closer note than others that Ms. Welsh got barely more than a “mention” in the story.   Both played heroic roles in the miracle on the Hudson, and both deserve a happy and healthy retirement.  But, of course, there was only one captain on that marvelous team, and it was Sully.

I just thought I’d take the opportunity to offer a gentle reminder that the women and men who push that heavy metal cart up and down too narrow an aisle on a tube hurtling through the sky packed with too many people being asked to pay too much for peanuts and a drink are doing the very best they can.  They’re the ones who have to take the grief from passengers who are mad at the airlines because they paid more to check their luggage than they did for their ticket for the right to settle their ample tushes into seats made for a large child.  They are the foot soldiers in the airlines’ futile war to stay solvent.

But most importantly, they are trained to save your life. 

Just like Doreen Welsh did.


About Gerry

I've been covering Connecticut news and sports since 1974. I know, I don't look that old.
This entry was posted in Diatribes, News, People, Travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to More Than a Footnote

  1. Li'l Em-Kel says:

    Well said, Gerry.

  2. Gerry's Mentor says:

    I know your better half is grateful.

  3. My wife flew into Charlotte yesterday. U.S Airways #1127. Said she thought the people who push the carts ( and trained to save lives ) were great.

    Your wife does good work, Gerry. Here’s to her and those who work in those crowded tubes.

  4. pete says:

    nicely said gerry.

    while there will always be great leaders, it is often forgotten that the people behind them are instrumental to what makes them great. they are ineffective without a competent crew of professionals to stand behind them. and the best crew is made of those who can not only follow, but can also take charge when they need to – and thus they are great leaders in their own right. even if they are often relegated to the shadows.

  5. Linda says:

    I saw this story this morning and had the exact same thoughts as you. Sadly, it isn’t only the airline industry where the people behind the scenes don’t receive the recognition they deserve. I hope Doreen’s fellow flight attendants gave her a first class send off.

  6. Lori says:

    Very nice tribute!

  7. I’m sorry, but I forgot where I had seen/heard about Doreen Welsh retiring the same day as Captain Sullenenberger. The news reports only showed pictures of the fire trucks spraying water on the plane when it landed as a tribute. The next pictures were of Captain Sullenberger, and his Co-Pilot who was also with him on the “Miracle on the Hudson”, but they did not show Ms. Welsh at all. I kept waiting to see her, but there was nothing at all.

    Ms. Welsh had been on the flight of the “Miracle on the Hudson” and the reports had even noted that yesterday, so ‘silly me’ thought she would be shown as well.

    So is this a ‘double standard’ or a ‘male chauvenist’ deal? Doreen Welsh should be “More Than a Footnote”.

    I do agree with you Gerry, that Flight Attendents need more attention and ‘Thanks’ of gratitude than they get. Thank you for reminding us of this. I think you better half should get some flowers or some kind of gift.

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