Flight attendant retires after 63 years

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by sobore, Aug 25, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.menafn.com/menafn/b58359...ght-attendant-retires-after-63-years?src=main

    A Hawaiian man who went to work for United Airlines as a flight attendant when Harry Truman was president is hanging up his wings.

    Ron Akana, 83, who now lives in Boulder, Colo., is to retire Sunday after one last flight to Honolulu, the Boulder Daily Camera reported. He will be crew chief and his wife, son, daughter and grandson will all be on the plane.

    On the flight back, Akana, who has been named the longest-serving flight attendant by the Guinness Book of World Records, will also be a passenger.

    "I know I'll miss it, but the time has come -- aching bones and joints," he said.
    Akana, a native of Honolulu, joined United in 1949. One of the big benefits in the early days was a chance to get away from Hawaii and see places like San Francisco and Los Angeles.
    Over the decades, he has encountered passengers like Deborah Kerr, Red Skelton and President Bill Clinton after his presidency. Skelton once entertained other passengers with a silent parody of Akana doing a safety presentation.

    "He just had everybody laughing," Akana said. "No one was listening to me, of course."

    Read More: http://www.menafn.com/menafn/b58359...ght-attendant-retires-after-63-years?src=main
     
  2. Amante41

    Amante41 Member

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    Kudos to Ron! I used to live in Denver and talked to him once during a flight...such a nice guy.
     
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  3. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    What an amazing accomplishment. This is a guy you want to sit down with and have a beer, the stories he could tell!
     
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  4. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    Congratulations to Ron on his retirement.

    Kinda wondering if he will have to return NRSA or if they actually will give him a ticket.
    :D
     
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  5. Jenny & Curt
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    Jenny & Curt Gold Member

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    Maybe he'd like to join Milepoint and be our guest at at Do or something in Denver?
     
  6. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Or on the Denver-Narita flight as a VIP.
     
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  7. PanAm
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    PanAm Silver Member

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    Pretty cool! Always nice to see folks who you can tell truly care about their jobs and enjoy them. And staying employed and active at that age is fantastic.
     
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  8. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    On my UA flight to LHR yesterday I had an FA who was retiring after 44 years (first with PanAm and then UA).
     
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  9. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    In today's day and age it is not only nice to see such a loyal employee, but it is truly great to see a company that did not push out an employee because of his age. Kudos to both.
     
  10. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    He's actually deadheading back so he will be positive space and UA has given his family positive space travel for this unique occasion :).

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
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  11. MDDCFlyer

    MDDCFlyer Silver Member

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    I'm probably going to be flamed forever for the following, but there it goes:

    1. I wish Mr. Akana all the best in the world. The following is nothing to do with him.

    2. On a general note - I would have liked living in a society where people can retire at a reasonable age and have enough financial resources and support to continue with their lives without the need to work. Something just irks me the wrong way when 80+ stay at work because they need to support themselves (and I'm not saying this is the case here).

    3. On a more specific note - I am not sure I would have liked flying in a place where the flight attended is 80+. In case of an emergency will that flight attended be able to provide adequate help for all the other passengers under their care? I am not saying Mr. Akana cannot, but the question is still a valid one. If the flight attended are there for passenger safety they should be able to perform their jobs (physically and mentally) in case of an emergency. I just have my wonders on the suitability of 80+ (as a generalization) to do the job. I would have like to think that every flight attended (regardless to age) would have passed some sort of minimum evaluation for that regard on a regular basis.

    And I know everyone would jump in and accuse me in ageism, and say that even 20 years old out of shape might not be able to do so - it is all true (apart from the ageism part); however, as a group 80+ would be less physically fit to do the job than those that are in their 30s. This is just a fact of life and the process of getting old.

    And of course there is a question of fairness, if someone needs to pick up the slack because the ability to perform is not there, it might not be so much admirable that the Company had not stepped in.
     
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  12. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    +1
     
  13. thegrailer
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    thegrailer Silver Member

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    My first thought was that the average age of a UA FA will now actually increase :D

    Long time to be on a plane. Good for him and his retirement. Guestimate about how many bis miles over all those years?

     
  14. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    All valid points but all flight attendants must pass their recurrent training to continue working on the line. If they are unable to pass recurrent training they will be forced to resign or retire. Mr. Akana has done that and met all the FARs and company training so I wish him nothing but the best for his golden years.

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
  15. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    You have an assumption that he wished to retire. Granted, I would like people to be able to retire, but a lot of people over 65 (including my mother) continued to work because they wanted to. Also note that a lot of people of means continue to work, e.g., Steve Jobs (and many CEOs) even when they could retire.

    That is ageism: he had to meet the same standards as other FAs. I guarantee you he's more fit than I am, and I'm a lot younger (though disabled), though I may out brute strength a lot of people.

    If he didn't have the ability to do the job, he'd not have been allowed to do the job.
     
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  16. jrp2

    jrp2 Gold Member

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    that guy should get a metal for putting up with flyers for that many years.
     
  17. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    What's your Flyertalk handle?
     
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  18. guberif

    guberif Silver Member

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    Pretty awesome that he got to fly those UA 752's his entire career!
     
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  19. IDGflygirl
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    IDGflygirl Gold Member

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    Nice! I've met him on one of my HI flts!:)
     
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  20. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    I've had him two or three times he's an awesome FA for sure.
     
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  21. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I'm almost afraid to jump into the fray, but I kind of agree with the "old man" comment up there... But I'm not sure what the qualifications are -- and we're talking specifically in the physical aspects -- for flight attendants. Although now that I think about it, I don't know why I don't know this, as I probably should... :)

    I'm sure someone will chime in with specifics though... I mean, is he required to be just physically fit enough to do what? Close the door, push the cart, stand for an hour, what? Granted he might be Jack LaLanne or something and be very well able to drop kick me in the face, climb over me and open the emergency door then carry me out over his shoulder, but if that's not in his job description then it doesn't matter whether he can or cannot.

    I know they're not required to grab your carry-on and swing it over their head and store it -- although I'm assuming they're required to be tall enough to reach the bin and close it -- but what else is there? Does he just have to fend for himself in an emergency, other than opening the door?

    Serious questions though... I don't think I've really thought about that until now (probably because I've never been worried that I'd have to be carried out of a plane by a flight attendant older than my father).
     
  22. Misplaced Texan
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    Misplaced Texan Gold Member

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    Not for nothing, but my grandfather could straight arm a 50 pound weight at age 80+. Can you do that right now?

    In addition to Jack LaLanne, there are guys like Art De Vany and others who prove that the typical assumption that old=decrepit has more to do with lifestyle choices and less to do with inevitability than most folks assume.

    It wouldn't surprise me at all to find out that Mr. Akana has taken good care of himself his entire life and was both physically and mentally capable of carrying out his duties at a higher level than a lot of FAs decades his juniors.
     
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  23. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Well whether I can or not is not so much of the issue, because it's not something I have to do for a living... but part of my point was that if he's not required to drag a 200 lb. man out of the plane as part of his job description, then physically it doesn't matter if he's in that good of a shape or not.

    Like I said, I don't know if FAs are required to physically do much else other than open/close the doors and reach the overheads and attend to the passengers during flight. Granted, it would probably be a good idea if they were in good shape to be able to survive some of today's brats posing as adults in the cabin for 14 hours, but I don't know if that's actually a requirement. :)
     
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  24. MDDCFlyer

    MDDCFlyer Silver Member

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    Really not to dwell on this point - I have no doubt that there are 80+ that are physically fit and able to do the required job; however as a group, compared to 30 years old they are less equip to do so. I have been on my share of flights that the flight attended had trouble even operating the lock on the door - so I don't have much trust in the airlines ability to judge physical capacity.

    I am going back to the original posting:

    Those aches and pains (i.e. arthritis) do not appear magically in one day. It is a normal process of aging (like it or not). Some get it earlier than others, some get it more severe than others. I don't want to jump to conclusions from one statement - but there is probably some truth behind it.

    Again, I am not saying that individuals cannot perform the job, but that as a group those who are 80+ are less able to do it. The fact that we can all think of examples of extremely active and healthy 80+ by name, only mean that they are the exception not the rule. I just don't trust the airline to distinguish between those who can and those who cannot.
     
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