Oldest flight attendant retires

Flight attendant Bob Reardon aboard a Northwest Stratocruiser in 1956. Anne Billingsley Kerr via Lady Sky Writer blog.

The oldest flight attendant in the United States has been grounded.

Bob Reardon, a St. Paul man who turned 90 in May, retired from Delta over the weekend, and, apparently, not by choice.

On a Facebook page set up to honor Reardon, flight attendant Bruce Retrum suggested Reardon is a little stung by the sudden end of his career:

Please understand that Robert needs time to sort out and reflect upon the events preceding his retirement. We invite everyone to share Robert’s Facebook page with friends around the globe, as the Company announcement, via email sent yesterday, was addressed only to Minneapolis/St. Paul based flight attendants.

On her blog, Lady Sky Writer, Anne Kerr recalls what made Reardon a legend:

“And he really knew his stuff. Once, when I had been flying for all of two weeks, our Stratocruiser had a runaway prop on takeoff out of MSP. I remember the airplane shuddering and an ear-piercing whine assaulting our ears. Bob knew right away what it was, even before the flight deck got on the horn.

He jumped up and was down the aisle in a flash – pulling pillows from the overhead racks and throwing them on passengers laps as he instructed them in the ‘crash position.’ He evacuated the forward compartment where a propeller would likely pierce the fuselage if it came off. I froze. He told me to sit down.

After the flight crew brought us safely back to terra firma we went to the Parker House and drank scotch out of coffee cups while waiting for another aircraft. The flight crew was at the airport filling out reams of paperwork as we relaxed and gathered our wits. Bob took that opportunity to debrief us on emergency procedures for runaway propellers. I was impressed.”

A Fly Guy’s Crew Lounge Facebook page

Related: Did Delta Force The Retirement Of Record-Holding Flight Attendant? (Flight Club).