The airline flew a special flight in honor of the 100th anniversary of the first Black woman to get a pilot’s license.
American Airlines recently operated a flight from Dallas Fort-Worth Airport (DFW) to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Arizona, with an all-black female crew.
100th anniversary of Bessie Coleman
This includes everyone involved in the safe operation of the flight, including the Captain, flight attendants, aircraft maintenance agents, to even the cargo personnel. The flight was to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Bessie Coleman getting her pilot’s license.
Onboard the flight was Gigi Coleman, Bessie Coleman’s niece, who now runs an after-school aviation program named after her aunt. Gigi expressed her gratitude to American Airlines for the chance to highlight her great aunt’s accomplishments in the field of aviation.
“I believe she would’ve been really amazed and in awe. I was in awe, and this is 2022. My great-aunt received her license 2 years before Amelia Earhart. She wasn’t in the history books. No one knew about her.”
This was the 1st time in American Airlines’ history that a flight was operated by an all-black women crew. Bessie Coleman was the 1st ever woman of color to get a pilot’s license. Fueled by her passion for aviation, she had to travel all the way to Europe to attend flight school, as females had virtually no opportunities in the United States. Bessie obtained her pilot’s license in 1921, over a hundred years ago.
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American Airlines flight AA 372 was operated from DFW to PHX to mark this occasion. According to Simple Most, the flight was operated on August 8th on a Boeing 737 aircraft registered as N43AN. Data from Flightradar24 shows the plane departing Dallas at 22:50 UTC for the two-hour journey west.
The crew on this special flight comprised of:
- Beth Powell – Pilot, Boeing 737 Captain
- Charlene Shortte – Pilot, Boeing 737 First Officer
- Cheryl Gaymon – Flight Attendant
- Mary Roberson – Flight Attendant
- Vanessa Bennett – Flight Attendant
- Breana James – Flight Attendant
- Sharron Brooks – Ramp Crew Chief
- Nicole White – Ramp Crew Chief
- Maya Matthews – Fleet Service Agent
- Natasha Williams – Fleet Service Agent
- Alisha Bates – Fleet Service Agent
- Patricia Milfort – Manager on Duty, Customer Operations
- Tracy Brown – Customer Service Agent
- Arlene Law – Customer Service Coordinator
- Lynette Daniels Moody – Customer Service Coordinator
- Lillie Hayes – Customer Service Coordinator
- Kacy Stevenson – Customer Service Coordinator
- Muje Abdul-Qadir – Control Center Coordinator
- Pamela Calton – Aviation Maintenance Technician
- Crystal Tochi McDaniel – Duty Manager, Cargo Services
- Audrey Van Hook – Cargo Crew Chief
- Sandra Butler – Cargo Crew Chief
- Jessika Mejia – Premium Guest Services Representative
- Veronda Butler – Senior Manager, Premium Guest Services
Black representation in aviation
Even in 2022, black representation in aviation in the United States remains extremely poor. According to American Airlines, black women pilots now account for less than 1% of all pilots in the US commercial airlines industry. Therefore, it is clear that much work needs to be done in this regard to make the aviation community more inclusive and diverse.
Thankfully, several organizations are working towards this goal. American Airlines is working through its Cadet Academy, while Gigi Coleman’s organization, the Bessie Coleman Aviation All-Stars, is doing its bit by promoting aeronautical studies among young kids.
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