On October 1st 1951 Bob Reardon began his career as a flight attendant with Northwest Orient. The dominant aircraft in Northwest Orient’s fleet when Bob Reardon started to fly were the Douglas DC-3, DC-6 and Boeing Stratocruiser, the Lockheed Constellation wasn’t even flying yet. When Mr. Reardon began to fly male flight attendants were rare, however Northwest Orient began hiring men to serve as flight attendants when the airline began serving liquor in flight, something most airlines did not do at the time, the logic was that male flight attendants could better handle intoxicated passengers.
Now as Mr. Reardon approached his 60th anniversary as a flight attendant, having remained with through the transitioning to the jet age, multiple mergers, Northwest Orient becoming Northwest Airlines, labour strikes, bankruptcy and now the airline being renamed Delta Air Lines following the latest merger, at the age of 87, Delta plans to celebrate Mr. Reardon’s loyalty with cake and Hors d’oeuvres. Delta Air Lines publicly prides itself on employee loyalty, and in known its employees having pitched in to purchase a Boeing 767-232 for the airline, dubbed the Spirit of Delta for the airline as a sign of their loyalty … now as the company’s most senior and loyal employee reaches an unprecedented milestone the company is turning a blind eye.
Some people at Delta point to the fact that Mr. Reardon comes from Northwest Airlines, not Delta Air Lines, as a reason for the company seemingly ignoring this event in the company’s history. Given that Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines merged as two equal airlines into one airline this should not be a factor. Others at the airline have pointed out that Mr. Reardon is a staunch union supporter, where as Delta was not a union airline, however Mr. Reardon’s stance on unions should have no bearing on recognizing his loyalty.
Regardless of all other factors Delta Air Lines needs to take a moment to assess if they truly recognize employee loyalty or if they merely like to say they believe in employee loyalty. I’m not saying name a plane after Mr. Reardon … although that would likely be appropriate given that the airline currently operates 696 mainline aircraft, 15 of which are what Mr. Reardon most frequently flies on … but the airline should certainly celebrate Mr. Reardon in a manner more befitting than simply Cake & Hors d’oeuvres.
Happy Flying … and hopefully Delta will recognizing someone who has been flying 60 years!