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Iris Peterson: 59 Years As A UA Flight Attendant (and still flying!)

Iris Peterson: 59 Years As A UA Flight Attendant (and still flying!)

 

Old May 2, 05, 3:28 am
  #1  
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Iris Peterson: 59 Years As A UA Flight Attendant (and still flying!)

May, 2005, Marks The 75th Anniversary of The UA Flight Attendant Profession

In 1930, Iowa-born Ellen Church learned that Boeing
Air Transport, one of UA's predecessor airlines,
was planning to hire male stewards to work on board
its Boeing 80A aircraft flying between Chicago and
San Francisco. She thought that a woman with
nurse's training could do a better job and proposed
the idea to Boeing Air Transport manager Steve
Stimpson, who convinced Boeing's executives, and a
profession was born.

When Ellen Church was hired, she assembled a top
flight team of seven nurses for the job. The
world's first stewardesses -- they were renamed
flight attendants in 1973 -- not only served
customers but loaded baggage, hauled fuel and
sometimes even pushed planes into their hangars at
night. A profile of Church and a timeline of the
decades-long flight attendant success story are
found in the current issue of Hemispheres.

Other airlines did not begin to hire flight
attendants until 1933.

One UA flight attendant, Iris Peterson, began her career in
1946 and currently ranks as the No. 1 flight
attendant in terms of seniority. In 1968, the same
year that UA stewardesses were first allowed to
hold the job if they were married, Peterson
participated in aircraft safety planning and was
instrumental in making 17 different safety items
part of the standard onboard equipment worldwide,
including the evacuation alarm on commercial
aircraft.
Teeejay is offline  
Old May 2, 05, 4:45 am
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Commercial airline pilots are required by law to retire at a certain age for safety reasons. If FA's are really required to be aboard for passenger safety, then why are they not required to retire by a certain age? I've never encountered this FA, but would have to wonder how physically capable she would be to assist passengers in an emergency evacuation. Feel free to flame away!
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Old May 2, 05, 5:04 am
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I have flown with Iris. I will tell you that she does not look her age and seems to do as much and as well as the younger (well, younger than her) flight attendants on the flight.

She is based in SFO and seems to do the NRT flights the most.

Pilots, the FAA says, must retire at 60 due to declining mental acuity--not because of physical ability. There are no physical requirements to the job, other than they must pass a Class I physical every six months. You've seen a lot of the pilots. That physical is not that hard to pass (except the EKG, perhaps). That's to hopefully make sure that they don't drop dead while flying the plane (which has happened).

The mentail acuity mentality would be a hard sell in relation to flight attendant duties. Physical fitness tests have never been a part of flight attendant recurrent testing. There are certain physical factors associated with the annual recurrent training (pulling the window exit out) so they have to at least be able to do that.

But I see no reason to have a pre-set age at which flight attendants must retire. In fact, I will not be surprised to see the pilot age raised to 65 in the not too distant future.
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Old May 2, 05, 12:23 pm
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I have flown with Iris as well, from NRT-SFO. She retains her enthusiasm and works very hard on a flight. It is a pleasure to have her as an FA.
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Old May 2, 05, 12:38 pm
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Very impressive! Especially since I can't seem to work for the same company for longer than 2 years
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Old May 2, 05, 1:38 pm
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Wow. Iris has been working for UA longer than either of my parents have been alive! That really is impressive!
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Old May 2, 05, 1:53 pm
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Originally Posted by Always Flyin
I have flown with Iris. I will tell you that she does not look her age and seems to do as much and as well as the younger (well, younger than her) flight attendants on the flight.

She is based in SFO and seems to do the NRT flights the most.

Pilots, the FAA says, must retire at 60 due to declining mental acuity--not because of physical ability. There are no physical requirements to the job, other than they must pass a Class I physical every six months. You've seen a lot of the pilots. That physical is not that hard to pass (except the EKG, perhaps). That's to hopefully make sure that they don't drop dead while flying the plane (which has happened).

The mentail acuity mentality would be a hard sell in relation to flight attendant duties. Physical fitness tests have never been a part of flight attendant recurrent testing. There are certain physical factors associated with the annual recurrent training (pulling the window exit out) so they have to at least be able to do that.

But I see no reason to have a pre-set age at which flight attendants must retire. In fact, I will not be surprised to see the pilot age raised to 65 in the not too distant future.

The latest is over in Newstand on 60 & out for the pilots.


U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear pilots challenge.......
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Old May 2, 05, 2:16 pm
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I have never flown with Iris personally but one UA flight attendant told me some stories about Iris not being "all there" all the time. She apparently lives in Hawaii and is based in SFO. Once on her way to work, she got to SFO and thought she had already done her trip and went back to HI on the next plane. In another case, the captain had alerted her to some flight security situation that she was supposed to communicate to the rest of the crew, but she forgot to do so. With stories like these, I'm beginning to think that a company should be able to force a person to retire at a certain age. After all, at some point you have to make room for others as well and not only think about yourself. I know many older people who are very competent and keep working, so of course there are many arguments against it as well.
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Old May 2, 05, 2:32 pm
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Originally Posted by TakeMeToEZE
Wow. Iris has been working for UA longer than either of my parents have been alive! That really is impressive!
You sure do have a way of making some of us feel old...
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Old May 2, 05, 2:35 pm
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Originally Posted by Seeksreal
I have never flown with Iris personally but one UA flight attendant told me some stories about Iris not being "all there" all the time. She apparently lives in Hawaii and is based in SFO. Once on her way to work, she got to SFO and thought she had already done her trip and went back to HI on the next plane.
I heard the exact same story

But as far as I know, she lives in Seattle...
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Old May 2, 05, 3:07 pm
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Originally Posted by Pegasus23
The latest is over in Newstand on 60 & out for the pilots.


U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear pilots challenge.......
Nowadays we look younger and are in a better physical shape than same age people 20 years ago, 60 & out seems to be a bit outdated, for any profession, as long as one is healthy and mentally physically fit, why can't they work a little longer...

I have flown with Iris numerous times, she is truly a pleasure to work with. She looks like she is in her 60s, fast and hard worker, she is primarily in F/C and always works thoughout all 3 cabins. Yes she is in her 80s but she does not lose her mind more than we do... she is one of the first people who participated and passed the purser training, one of the first few poeple who went and passed the cabin defense training 2; can you imagine someone in her 80s does the kung fu moves and hit so hard to get passed by the instructors ( I am in my 30s and I had to retake one of the moves), and refused the offer for the lower bunk then hopped onto the upper bunk within half second during the rest break. She is always sharp and on top of every thing. Funny that poeple who gossip bad things and rumors about her always say at the end " well I 've never seen/worked with her ..." Well, I say do not judge a book by only hearing about a book. People joke and talk about mistakes she had made but forget the other many, many good things she's done, and themselves too make mistakes and do some stupid things.

Iris is part of the airline history, if there is some kind of recognition for her on the day she retires, it would be appreciated by many people
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Old May 2, 05, 3:11 pm
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Mrotenfan, what lovely stories about Iris. Thank you for sharing so positively. Do you still fly for UA?
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Old May 2, 05, 3:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Mrotenfan
Funny that poeple who gossip bad things and rumors about her always say at the end " well I 've never seen/worked with her ..."


I too appreciate what you took the time to share. FWIW I personally do not approve of using these forums to criticize or disparage by name individuals who are not "public figures."
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Old May 2, 05, 4:34 pm
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I was riding the SFO bus a few weeks ago from the domestic to Int'l terminal, and it was full of a half dozen FA's all talking about Iris - nothing but praise "works harder than many of the younger FA's" - and this was from her peers, so she certainly is well liked by many that work for her, as well as customers.

I'm flying SFO-SYD at the end of May in F and I'm hoping like heck I get her on my flight.

- T
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Old May 2, 05, 5:20 pm
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Originally Posted by TonySCV
...and this was from her peers, so she certainly is well liked by many that work for her, as well as customers.
And yet, I have this recurring vision where it is going to have to be me who has to pull her into the raft and not the other way around... Let me clarify: If there were a physical and mental agility test for FAs that proves he or she is fit to do the job, I'd have no problem to let her continue so long as she passes. But since the "flight attendants are here primarily for your safety"... ...I'd rather not take any chances. That said, this is clearly not an "Iris-issue"; over the years I have seen several (noticeably many?) FAs on UA who might not pass muster, either.
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