Finding Love on the Line: Trans States Captain and Flight Attendant Take Engagement Photos in the Hangar

Captain Thomas Thai and Flight Attendant Emily Breeden met four years ago in the Trans States crew room, so it was only right to take their engagement photos with the Embraer 145 that brought them together.

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Trans States Flight Attendant Emily Breeden and her fiance, Captain Thomas Thai.

“I taught Emily how to bid on flights so that she could arrange the best possible schedule,” Captain Thai said. “I enjoyed teaching her how to bid and sharing information about the company, while getting to know her in the process.”

Emily appreciated Captain Thai’s effort and willingness to share his knowledge. While the couple was initially captivated by each other, they took their time to enjoy a working relationship. After many trips flying together, their chemistry grew.

“I thought he was handsome and very charming. He knew how to keep the conversation interesting, and he was a great teacher,” Emily said.

Captain Thai confessed his love and asked for Emily’s hand in marriage on Christmas Day last year in front of their family and friends.

“I immediately said yes when Thomas proposed,” Emily said. “Of course, I want to spend the rest of my life with him. He’s such a loving and very caring person. I couldn’t ask for a better soulmate.”

When asked about the working dynamic, the pair agreed that it was quite enjoyable to work and travel together.

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Trans States Captain Thomas Thai and Flight Attendant Emily Breeden take engagement photos in the hangar.

“It’s really nice to work together, because we don’t have to miss each other as much while we’re away. We enjoy the quality time together while working with a great company,” Captain Thai said.

The couple’s wedding is set for May 12, 2019 on Mother’s Day in Baltimore, Maryland.  Join us in congratulating Captain Thai and Emily Breeden and wishing them a joyous marriage.

Trans States Flight Attendants Recognized for Excellence

This quarter our codeshare, United Airlines, had 65 nominations for the UAXcellence recognition program.  Out of a total of 18 award-winners, Trans States had six flight attendants win the prestigious award! Please join us in congratulating Rebecca Reid, Alisha Nieshe, Sheryl Smith, Opal Gunn, Aryen Barr, and Michelle Scarfino, on a job well done. United considers awardees to be high-performers who regularly go above and beyond their duties with superior quality and results. Read some of their stories below:

REBECCA REID

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Trans States Airlines Flight Attendants, Alisha Nieshe and Rebecca Reid. Both are recognized as UAXcellence winners.

My grandparents raised me, so I grew up around airplanes as my grandpa was in the Air Force/Air National Guard. He was stationed in STL at Lambert and I would go to work with him when I was little and get to play on the airplanes and hangout at his office. I loved every minute of it!

I started flying when I was 19 years old at Trans States Airlines. I came across the interview by mistake as I thought I was going to interview for an Airport Customer Service Runner. Well, after the interview to be a flight attendant I was hooked. I was at TSA for about a year and then I went to TWA. TWA was a STL staple, so I was only overjoyed that I got to work at such an iconic airline. After 9/11 I was furloughed from TWA and returned to TSA. I was happy to return to my “family” and to be able to keep flying. I was at TSA another 2 years and then I took a departure from flying to attend school. From the moment I left I missed it. Once flying is in your soul you can’t let it go. Life went on and about 10 years had passed, and I came to realize that you only get one life. You might as well spend it doing what you love. I was very grateful to be able to return TSA and this time not only to some of the same wonderful people I had worked with before but with a new-found respect and gratitude that I was going to be able to do what I loved to do for a living again.

I have now been here for four years this coming September and I am grateful and honored every day. I am now a check airman and help in the inflight department with flow of flight. I love being a check airman as I get to meet the new trainees and see them apply all of their new-found knowledge.

SHERYL D. SMITH

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Trans States Airlines Flight Attendant, Sheryl D. Smith

I’ve had the pleasure of working for Trans States for three years and 10 months. I love setting and maintaining the mood of gladness on each flight!  I never know what someone’s day held for them prior to them approaching the main cabin door. Therefore, I discard anything non-positive, because those valuable customers who crossed my threshold, have usually never met me. Whatever may have them not feeling their happiest, initiated before we saw one another, and I never internalize that energy.  Those who’ve been on one of my flights gladly say, “It’s good to see you again!”

It gives me great pleasure knowing each passenger exits the same main cabin door with thankfulness for my service, appreciation of my smile throughout my announcements on the flight, joy from my personalization using names with each passenger and appreciation of my professionalism! Those emotions are frequently accompanied with a pat on the shoulder, handshake, a fist bump, even a hug or occasional request to be photographed together!

I take none of it lightly! From 50 passengers plus a Jumpseater and lap children, to 1 passenger on his “personal jet,” every flight gets the very best I have to offer.

ARYEN J. BARR

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Trans States Airlines Flight Attendant, Aryen J. Barr

Most people know me as AJ and I’m ORD based flight attendant. I have been with Trans States for four years and have had the time of my life! What I love most about being a flight attendant is getting to opportunity to meet various people from around the world with unique experiences. Learning about these people has helped me become a better person. Whether it’s a beautiful travel day and we’re 45 minutes early or we’re behind schedule, getting to know the people I encounter and trying to make their lives better brings me joy.

 

MICHELLE MANTIA-SCARFINO

michelle scarfinoI’ve worked at Trans States airlines since 2014. What I love about flying is serving customers and having the opportunity to interact with them. I try to call every passenger by name, which they love, and treat them like they are a guest in my home. No matter what they may have experienced prior to walking through that main cabin door, I try to create a positive and pleasant experience for them while on board. My goal is always to treat everyone the way I would like to be treated.

To learn more about becoming a Trans States flight attendant, click here: https://bit.ly/2Gh8xaS. To nominate a current employee for Trans States’ Above and Beyond program, click here: https://bit.ly/2rHSLR5.

State-of-the-Art Cabin Trainer Takes Trans States to the Forefront of Inflight Training

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The Inflight Management team celebrates the arrival of a new, state-of-the-art cabin trainer at our St. Louis corporate headquarters.

There’s a lot that a Trans States flight attendant has to learn before they’re released from training –  and it goes beyond providing exceptional customer service.  Flight attendants are there for our passengers’ safety, and the majority of their training centers around safety-related drills and exercises.  Our flight attendants spend weeks practicing everything from inflight medical emergencies and emergency equipment operation, to emergency evacuation procedures.

However, some of this training simply can’t be done in a classroom – it has to be done on an actual aircraft so that the practice situation will be as close as possible to what a flight attendant will face in real life.  “For example, flight attendants are responsible for evacuating passengers during an emergency situation,” explained Shonn Clark, Director of Inflight Services at Trans States.  “Before they are ever allowed to fly with passengers, our flight attendants have to demonstrate that they can execute an emergency evacuation on an actual Trans States Airlines Embraer 145 aircraft.”

Until recently, the only option our flight attendants had for getting critical hands-on training was waiting for one of our aircraft to become available at our maintenance hangar.  Since aircraft can only be used for training purposes after their scheduled flights are complete and after any scheduled maintenance has been performed, it was often the middle of the night before our flight attendants were able to start their drills. However, the recent installation of our new cabin trainer changed that.

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Practically and functionally, the cabin trainer looks and performs exactly like a static aircraft.  In fact, minus a few rows of seats, the interior perfectly mimics the interior of our Embraer 145 aircraft, which make it the ideal flight attendant training tool.  “The attention to detail is amazing,” Shonn remarked.  “It actually feels like you’re sitting in one of our aircraft.”

Cabin Trainer seats

The cabin trainer has the exact same emergency equipment as our actual aircraft, and has been certified by the FAA for use in medical, firefighting, and emergency evacuation drills.  It can even simulate smoke in the cabin, providing an unprecedented level of reality to training exercises.  The cabin trainer can also be used for non-emergency training, such as the practicing the beverage service and learning to use the PA system to communicate with passengers and the flight deck.

In addition to providing a top-notch training environment, the cabin trainer has also expedited the training process.  “Our overall training footprint has actually decreased, as the trainer is always at our disposal,” explained Shonn.  “In the past, there would be times when we were ready to start our drills, but had to wait for an aircraft to come available at the hangar.”

As one of just a few regional airlines with an on-site cabin trainer, Trans States is now at the forefront of inflight training.  “My team was excited when they first heard that we’d be getting a cabin trainer,” concludes Shonn, “and now that we have it, they couldn’t be happier.”

If you’d like to join our team of flight attendants, click here to learn more.

Trans States Inspires High School Students to Become the Next Generation of Aviators

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Students from McClure High School in St. Louis get a behind-the-scenes look at the work that goes on in our maintenance hangar.

This spring, Trans States had the opportunity to welcome math students from McCluer High School in St. Louis to our corporate offices and hangar facility for the third year in a row.  Their instructor, Jenna Henderson, is a lifelong aviation enthusiast, who started organizing annual field trips to Trans States after learning about aviation career opportunities from her neighbor, Jan McCall.

Jan, a former Trans States pilot turned Aviation Studies professor, suggested that Jenna encourage her students to consider aviation as a career path.  The industry is facing a severe shortage of qualified personnel, and a recent study by Boeing projects extraordinary demand for pilots, mechanics and flight attendants over the next 20 years.  Jan proposed a field trip to Trans States’ St. Louis headquarters so that Jenna’s students could see first hand all of the different aviation career opportunities that they could pursue right in their hometown.

Even though many of Jenna’s students had never even flown before, let alone considered aviation as a career, she jumped at chance to visit Trans States with her students.  “Trans States is in my students’ backyard, and it offers many career paths that they may not even know about,” she explained.  An annual tradition was born.

This year’s tour included a tour of the cabin trainer that our flight attendants use to practice everything from the beverage service to emergency evacuation drills, as well as a demonstration of the Graphical Flight Simulators that our pilots use during training.

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Students also toured Systems Operations Control (SOC), where they learned about career opportunities in Dispatch, Crew Scheduling and Maintenance Control.  During the SOC tour, the students spoke with McCluer alum and Maintenance Controller Bryan Cross, who told the students about his career and the steps that he took to get where he is today.

The highlight of the trip is always the visit to the Trans States hangar facility, where students have the opportunity to get hands on with our Embraer 145 aircraft and watch our mechanics in action.  For many of the students, it’s the first time that they’ve ever been near an airplane.  “I’ve never been around this type of environment before,” student Carlando Dickens remarked.  “It’s different and interesting.”

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The trip is also a great opportunity for Jenna to show her students how the math skills they are learning in class will be important later in life.  This resonated with student Megan Robinson, who remarked, “It’s really interesting to see how the mechanics basically have to take the entire plane apart, and then put it back together.  With all of the measurements that they have to do, it makes sense that they would have to understand mathematical problem solving.”

Her classmate, Hailey Drake, agreed.  “I’m glad to see that what we learn in school becomes important later on in life,” she added. “Being able to use math calculations can help you do what you want to do for a living, just like the mechanics I’m meeting today.”

Assisting with the field trip was future Trans States pilot Adam Lange.  Adam, who is part of Trans States’ Aviators program for aspiring collegiate pilots, enjoyed the chance to teach people about the airline industry.  “I don’t remember ever having an opportunity like this when I was in school,” he admits. “It’s important that kids know about the options that exist in their own hometown.”

Trans States Chief Operating Officer Fred Oxley couldn’t be happier about the annual visit from the McCluer students.  “As an industry, it is our duty to inspire the next generation of aviators,”  he said.  “In the coming years, I hope to encounter these students flying our planes, fixing our planes, and serving our passengers.”

To learn more about career opportunities at Trans States, please click here.

Flight Crew’s Actions Will “Give the Gift of Sight to Someone who Needs it”

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When a Trans States flight diverted to Raleigh, a quick-thinking flight crew ensured that a critically important shipment of transplant tissues was saved.  The shipment contained corneas, which were en route to a medical center in Providence when the flight was diverted.

Fortunately, Flight Attendant Binh Kbuor noticed that the shipment had a notation asking for any delay information to be sent to a telephone number on the box.  Binh showed the notation to Captain Jason Secondi, who immediately followed up with MNX Global Logistics, the company that had coordinated the shipment.

In the below note, the COO of MNX Global Logistics explains how Binh and Jason’s actions ensured that the valuable tissues were saved and could be used in a future surgery.

“We were shipping corneas for transplant, when the flight was diverted to Raleigh. The pilot, Jason Secondi, took it upon himself to call the consignee in Providence from his personal cell phone and let them know the corneas were delayed. That information was passed to us at our call center, and we were able to speak directly to Jason several times.  He was extremely helpful, and although the intended surgery was missed, we were able to recover the shipment from a ground agent in Raleigh and return the corneas to the lab in Birmingham and salvage the precious tissue. Without Jason’s actions, this tissue would have been lost.

We always appreciate our partnership with American Airlines Cargo, but at times like this, we must recognize Jason’s actions, going above and beyond, to assist us with this precious shipment.

As always, we thank you and your team for all your support, and a very special thank you to Jason for going the extra mile and assuring the tissue wasn’t lost and guaranteeing the gift of sight for someone who needs it.”