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.
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.