A friend of mine from UA
showed me an internal United Newsletter. While this posting deals with United employee's experiences, I bet all of the airline people involved with the relief effort are experiencing profound emotions... I have not included the last names of the people interviewed to protect their privacy. So here's the "meat" of the "Newsreal".
"Chicago based Flight Attendant Jacqueline XXXXX, who flew the relief trip on Friday, said 'some people had been on the flight the day before and tried to prepare us. The people we were evacuating hadn't showered or slept. They had health issues. We tried to take it all into consideration. I made an announcement about finding your seatbelts and told them how to find the orange button above their heads, so they could ring it if they needed help. I showed them how to work the air vents.
'Some people gave us hugs as they were getting off the plane,' she said. 'One said "This is the most food I've had in four days." That's why I wanted to volunteer. You see it on the news, see pictures in the paper, but unless you see these people up close, you can't imagine what they've gone through.
'I really feel honored to have worked the flight. We made some nice announcements-we said "Please know that we are honored and privileged to serve you on this flight. You're in our prayers and in our thoughts." '
"Chicago Ramp Serviceman Larry XXXXX worked the first relief flight last Thursday. He says 'We didn't really know what to expect. I don't think anybody did. We say things on TV
, and we didn't know if there would be thousands of people cramming to get on the plane. There were reports of looting and violence.
'The Delta concourse, where a hospital was set up, looked like something out the middle ages,' he continued. 'People were lying in the hallways on stretchers, and there weren't people to meet them, like you'd expect in an emergency. We brought paramedics with us on the flight. The helicopters were landing at the Delta concourse, and they were taking stretcher after stretcher off and putting them on belt loaders.'
Of the mood on the aircraft on the way back, XXXXX said 'there were people on the plane who had never flown before, and who didn't know where all their family members were, but they felt it was best to get themselves and their children out. One guy I talked to had been on a school roof for a couple of days. They were happy to be somewhere warm and safe for a while.'"
Once again, I'm not posting this as a "great for United" post, but to give a-netters a glimpse of the professionalism that ALL
of the airline employees are showing during this tragedy.
I've always been proud of aviation professionals who save the day while they are "just doing my job".