March 7, 2009 - Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) made history recently when it operated a flight with an all-female, African-American crew.
The crew, comprised of Capt. Rachelle Jones, F/O Stephanie Grant, and flight attendants Diana Galloway and Robin Rogers, conducted a landmark flight when they operated Flight 5202 from Atlanta to Nashville, Tenn., on February 12. The same crew returned to Atlanta on Flight 5106.
Several passengers on these flights noticed the historical relevance of the situation and snapped photos of the crew using camera phones. It wasn’t long before the photos were circulating through e-mail, drawing attention from local and national news media outlets. After careful research, the Organization of Black Airline Pilots (OBAP) confirmed that these flights were indeed a first for a U.S.-based airline.
Jones is one of only 10 black female airline captains in the country. She used to be a customer service agent for Delta. Piloting was never on her radar until a friend suggested it. “And it paid off. This was my goal, to be here where I am today,” she said. “And I’m so happy at what I’ve accomplished.”
F/O Grant, who joined the airline in 2008 after serving in the Army, commented that “Fate may have a little bit to do with it; but for everyone who will look at us as role models or aspire to be what we are today, they need to know that it took hard work and dedication to get here.”
Flight attendants Rogers and Galloway both joined ASA in 2000.
ASA MEC Chairman Capt. David Nieuwenhuis said, “I am especially proud that this historic flight happened to take place on Atlantic Southeast. This professional flight crew sets a great example for young women, showing they can achieve their goals and dreams in the aviation sector.”