I was recently on an American Airlines flight (in first class) landing at Baltimore Washington International Airport. Billysky my cat was staying at my parents house while I was away, so I flew into Baltimore to get the cat before driving the 2 hours home.
The flight attendant for the cabin was a bit on the older side and had a lot of personality. There was something about her – the facial expressions, the intense eyes, the way she did things – that made me rack my brains on if I knew her. I just had that feeling and finally it dawned on me.
This Is A True Story
I asked her, “Did you use to be a flight attendant on Piedmont Airlines?” She gave me that cautious look and acknowledged she had been.
I asked, “Did you ever work the flights between Baltimore and Rochester, New York?” She looked directly at my face and said, “Regularly.”
For background, I lived in Rochester, NY many years ago right out of college. I flew Rochester to Baltimore frequently on Piedmont – round trip was around $90 back then.
I said to the flight attendant, “I remember you.”
She kept looking at my face and then I could tell the lightbulb went off for her, “You talked to everyone on the plane. You were always excited to be flying, and you got really mad if the smoking section was too close to you. Your dad picked you up at the airport so it was OK if you had two drinks.”
Holy smokes she remembered more about me than I did. And yes that would be me. Keep in mind that in economy back then the pitch was far more generous and the loads were far lighter, so us passengers where less like faceless sardines.
She and I had a wonderful conversation about the evolution of the airline, working with younger people, and lots of other things. She gently asked if my father was still around, and I said yes as a matter of fact he is picking me up at the airport today.
After landing, she gave me a little “treat package” to share with my dad and we had a happy hug. First time I ever hugged a flight attendant. Very glad she is with American Airlines and hopefully her attitude, customer service, and style can rub off on many others.
Piedmont Beverage Menu
The other side of the Occupied By A Through Passenger card has the old Piedmont Airways beverage menu.
Other than the fact that Cocktails and Spirits were $3 (or $1.50 with a beverage coupon) and beer and wine were $2, other interesting things:
- Piedmont had their own very popular punch. It appears to have been a blend of grape juice, apple juice, pineapple juice, and cherry juice.
- Piedmont served bouillon. It always made the cabin smell like my grandmother.
- You could get your own little bottle of a premixed Manhattan or Whiskey Sour.
- I always thought Piedmont had the best customer service of any domestic airline (and easily still does). They were flexible, acted like humans, and treated others like humans. They seemed sincerely happy to serve their customers.
- It’s interesting to me that once you learn customer service at that level like this flight attendant had, you carry that through your career.
- I don’t talk to people in airplanes anymore. Far too close quarters, and I’ve seen the movie Airplane since then.
- To any millennials reading this, once upon a prehistoric time, passengers could in fact (and did) smoke on airplanes.
Very Final Thought
Yes I did live in Rochester, New York at one time in my life. Rochester is a great place to live if you love snow, red hots and white hots, and love getting drunk on cheap beer then eating a garbage plate (Lefty Bill and Rochester people will know what I am talking about).
I love reading on how you met again and on another airline the cabin crew who still remembers you and your dad. She must have very good memory and obviously she is dedicated to her job particularly customer service. Can you just imagine she still remembers how you hate to sit close to smoking section… I salute her!
Thank you. My guess is that it goes back to the training programs the airlines have and also the corporate culture. (Plus a young “frequent flier” back then was far from the norm).
Our conversation continues. . . I’m old enough (57) to remember the days that most, if not all men, wouldn’t think of getting on a plane if they were not wearing a suit. It was a special way to travel and we treated it accordingly. I remember the smoking sections (everywhere you went, there were accomodations for smokers) and since I grew up close to Newark, NJ (EWR), my father and I would go on Saturdays, back in the mid-1960’s to watch the “Super Connies” take off and land.
Very true and now you see why I was searching for posts about Piedmont. Once I had been out on the lake and was running so late for a flight and did not have time to change out of shorts and a t-shirt for the flight, so wore them on the plane. I felt embarrassed about that. Yes we dressed up for flying.
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