Flight Attendant Leaves Legacy to her Profession
Pre-merger Northwest Flight Attendant Diane Seward, who dedicated a 25-year career to flying and serving at times as an AFA elected leader, drew up her will on September 12, 2001, the day after the devastating attacks that forever changed the world. Although not an AFA member at the time, we infer that Diane was compelled by those events to take action in defense of the profession she loved when she named AFA as a beneficiary in her will. Diane passed away on January 26, 2012. We extend our deepest sympathy to Diane’s family and friends. While her estate has not yet been settled, we will direct whatever funds are received to fulfill Diane’s wishes.
Replete with references to the airlines where she was employed and the aircraft she flew throughout her 25-year Flight Attendant career, the following is Diane’s story, in her own words:
“In the fall of 1961, I was hired as a air hostess at Bonanza Air Lines. We owned six airplanes -- Fokker F-27s (Silver Darts). I was in the first class that did not receive DC-3 training. After three years in the desert, I chose to quit and move to the Pacific Northwest where I was hired by West Coast Airlines (WCA). Not many months later, I decided to marry and so I quit a second time--because marriage and flying were not discussed in the same sentence. Days later, I decided that I still wanted flying more than marriage. WCA was willing to rehire me and, this time, I stayed through two marriages and divorces and many airline changes until August 2002. At WCA, I was based in SEA and flew on DC-3s, F-27s, and DC-9s, -10s and -30s.
“Then came Air West and Hughes Airwest, where I worked onboard 727-200s. I became a union activist and stayed active for twenty years. Then came Republic Airlines, deregulation, pay cuts, and base closures (including wonderful SEA). I commuted to MSP for a short time and eventually transferred and moved to MEM. I worked onboard MD-80s and 757s. By this time, because of the social attitude, the number of men that sought the job, and equal-rights legislation, we finally became ‘Flight Attendants’.
“In 1986, Northwest Orient Airlines bought Republic Airlines--such a long way from WCA. I was based in LAX and finally back in SEA. I worked onboard DC-10s, -30s and -40s; A-319s and A-320s; 747-200s and -400s. I retired as a Northwest Airlines purser.
“I believe that I worked through a great era in airline history and was privileged to work in the same industry for my entire career. The time and people I remember with love were at Bonanza, West Coast, and Hughes Airwest.”
Diane’s union activism included serving as an AFA MEC Chair, on her negotiating committee and as a System Board member. We are inspired by Diane’s commitment to AFA and will rededicate our continuing efforts to advance the Flight Attendant profession in her name.