Inspiration

American Airlines' longest serving flight attendant retires after 53 years

Feb. 26, 2013 at 1:19 PM ET

A retirement party was held for an American Airlines flight attendant Barbara Beckett Monday as she celebrated her 53-year career with the company.

"It's something that I grew up wanting to do,” said Beckett, who is based in Miami. “When I was very young my parents took me to the airport and I saw the stewardesses get off the plane. And I thought that's what I want to do.”

Beckett donned the American Airlines uniform for one last trip – a last hurrah from Miami International Airport to London’s Heathrow Airport and back. Her flight was set to leave at 8 p.m.

Beckett has worked 8,000 flights for American, traveling the globe and going to places like Hawaii, Japan and Argentina.

The longest-serving flight attendant on American’s staff, she graduated from training on July 29, 1960, and has worked for the airline ever since.

Beckett’s longtime partner, her colleagues and friends, and some passengers wished her well at the gate before her Heathrow flight. Beckett said the first thing she wants to do once she retires is travel – but she and her partner joked that she will be grounded for a while before booking a trip to Hawaii.

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