Airmen who fly friendlier skies

Story and photos by Senior Airman Caitlin O

Traveling can be a very stressful experience, with confusing airports, long luggage check-in lines and battling through large crowds of people – it’s a
wonder anyone gets off the ground.

In the midst of all this chaos there are a few “quiet professionals” who stand tall, devoted to making every flight more enjoyable.

The dedicated service of military flight attendants is a job that rarely gets recognized, but for the Airmen of the 76th Airlift Squadron their knowledge and expertise is second to none.

“The majority of our missions include supporting combatant commanders and congressional delegates and Department of Defense distinguished visitors from a variety of nations,” said Staff Sgt. Pamela Parsons, 76th AS flight attendant.

During their travels, flight attendants help bridge and maintain relations between U.S. and foreign counterparts.

In order to prepare for their day-to-day duties, 76th AS flight attendants must first go through specialized training along with the seven-week technical education. Flight attendants receive much of the same training as their aircrew members.
Once they finally arrive to their duty station they also receive aircraft-specific ground and egress training.

“Egress is the emergency procedure used to evacuate passengers and crew from the aircraft,” said Tech. Sgt. Alyssa Postel, 76th AS flight attendant. “We are trained with the help of a C-40 simulator, which shows the exit doors and windows. We are expected to evacuate as quickly and as safely as we can.”

Besides safety, Air Force flight attendants keep their travelers comfortable by planning and preparing high-quality meals.

“When we do the initial planning we look at the itinerary ahead of time and plan the trip meals,” said Postel. “We make up a menu with options on it trying to vary the meals … so it’s not the same thing each meal. Once the passenger chooses a meal of their liking we go out and purchase all the ingredients fresh so we can start preparing.”

Out of the various tasks flight attendants have, cooking is a group favorite, Postel

“We all have our specialties and preferences, but for the most part everyone here likes to cook,” said Postel. “We enjoy picking up different tips and tricks from magazines and old family recipes.”