Connection & Empowerment: Pilot Interaction Leaves Lasting Impression

At Endeavor Air, we know that every customer interaction is an opportunity to leave a lasting impression and deliver a positive experience for those we serve. We are always proud to share stories we hear from the line — from our customers and crew alike — of meaningful and memorable encounters that help shape the customer experience and reflect who we are as a company. Recently, one customer shared her interaction with two of our pilots, which proved to be a moment of connection and empowerment that she won’t soon forget. Here’s her story:

On my flight back to Minneapolis today, I noticed as I was boarding the plane that the captain was a woman. I told the flight attendant to let the captain know I think it’s really awesome that there’s a lady captain flying the plane. I thought that was the end of it, took my seat, and enjoyed hearing the female voice giving directives over the loudspeaker.

As I’m about to exit the plane after we landed, the flight attendant waves me aside at the front of the plane. “Are you the one who asked about our captain? She wants to meet you, step into the cockpit.” So I did, and I met my two wonderful pilots, Captain Jackie and First Officer Craig.
Jackie told me how when she started flying in 1988, she got catcalled over the radio by the older men, and how it was an awful environment for a woman. Craig added to that, saying it used to be a really despicable, disrespectful culture in commercial aviation. Jackie said the big brouhaha came when an airline she was working for told her to cut her hair and she refused. She laughed as she told the story; Craig looked disappointed.

Over the years, Jackie told me that she continued to advocate for her own rights. It didn’t get easier: she got stronger. Jackie and Craig both went on to say that they are proud to work for Delta Air Lines because Delta fosters a safe, open, respectful for women, men, everyone.

They asked about my interest in aviation, and if I was pursuing a pilot’s license. I told them I attended space camp as a kid, and liked it. And I built a lot of Leo da Vinci’s flying machine models as a teenager, and I’ve pursued hang gliding, sailing, and captainship in the form of kayaking and whitewater raft guiding. They said it sounds like flying could be just the career for me, and advised me on some places I could take lessons for beginners.

Needless to say I’m elated, but let’s illuminate why. My genuine interest in applauding a woman in a position of power led to a thoughtful, kind, respectful conversation that benefitted all parties. Jackie and Craig got to share their stories, and I got to share mine. They gave me their phone numbers and asked me to share the photo with them. We made a connection. It came from talking about something real.

Hooray for women, hooray for men, hooray for every human who is respectful, compassionate, curious, and honest. More of that, please!

Thank you, Delta and Endeavor Air, for hiring these two wonderful pilots. They’re great fliers, and even better conversationalists. Cheers to flying, and my potential new career path!

-Katie Vogel, Minnesota

Thank you to Captain Jackie and FO Craig — and all our employees — who make memorable experiences like this possible!