“When passengers step onto the plane, I treat them like they are my family,” says 15-year Piedmont Flight Attendant Alexis Nixon. “Like a parent cares for their children, my role as a flight attendant is to take care of people as they travel on life’s journey and make sure they arrive safely at their destination. Being a parent is great preparation for being a flight attendant.”
As a seasoned flight attendant, Alexis shares that a lot of new hires reach out to her for advice and want to know what it was like flying in earlier days. “They can’t believe there was a time when airlines wouldn’t hire married flight attendants and there was no such benefit as maternity leave,” says Alexis. “Flight attendants had to fight for changes to be made; they were not handed to us.”
Alexis enjoys sharing her flying experience and the importance of showing care to the next generation of flight attendants. “I encourage our flight attendants to treat our customers like they would their own family because everyone on the plane is part of someone’s family,” she says. “In this competitive industry, we have to stand out and shine as flight attendants and make sure our customers know they were on a Piedmont serviced aircraft.”
Originally from Ocala, Florida, after high school graduation, Alexis studied ballet for two years. After ballet training, she decided to pursue a different path. “I’d always been interested in aviation even though I had never stepped foot on a plane,” said Alexis. Her first flight was to her flight attendant interview with the original Piedmont Airlines, where she joined the company in 1970.
Alexis recalls that in the late 1960’s, flight attendants were required to be single, of a certain weight and those who were married were not hired. In 1972, Alexis married a Piedmont pilot and resigned from her job when they decided to start a family.
Almost three decades later, in 2006, after her seventh child left for college, Alexis went back to the industry and joined US Airways Express as a flight attendant. “I returned to the job because I have a real passion for flying,” said Alexis. “I was hired because of my previous experience with the original Piedmont Airlines; and instead of random weigh-ins, we’re now doing random drug tests. The industry has changed a lot but I still love my job.”
With the original Piedmont airlines, she previously flew on larger aircraft and working on smaller regional aircraft for US Airways Express was a much different experience. “It took some getting used to but the more intimate setting gives you more opportunity to talk and interact with the customers and answer their questions,” she reflects. “After all these years in the industry, I still get excited with each take-off and landing.”
Thank you for all you do to take care of our customers, Alexis. Happy Mother’s Day!