29 December, 2021

How one flight attendant made her journey to the flight deck

As a child, Lucy Klein thought becoming a pilot was like becoming an astronaut: something for those who were truly extraordinary.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that one day I could become an airline pilot. I had never set foot on an airplane until I was 11," said Lucy, who grew up in China's Sichuan province.

Lucy's first flight would also be the one that would bring her to live in the U.S. Back then, she didn't speak a word of English, so flying was only one part of her new adventure.

Fast forward to 2008, and Lucy was finishing her final semester at the University of Georgia when she saw a Delta ad for bilingual flight attendants. 

"Ever since I was young, I dreamed of seeing the world, and I knew this was an opportunity of a lifetime," said Lucy. "It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me."

It was as a flight attendant that Lucy fell in love with the airline lifestyle and her future husband. Andrew was working as a flight attendant at the time but soon started on his own path to becoming a pilot. 

"Once Andrew got hired as a Delta pilot, I saw just how much he loved his career," said Lucy. "I asked him to take me up for an introductory flying lesson. From that very first moment I pulled back on the controls and lifted off the ground, I was hooked. From that day on, I asked him to take me flying every day. I knew I had found my passion, and one thing was certain – I was determined to fly for Delta."

In 2017, Lucy started her flight training while continuing to work a full-time schedule.

"Juggling flight training with a work schedule was exhausting. As I was working on my ratings, Delta was developing the Propel Pilot Career Path Program," said Lucy. "I applied, and Delta granted me a leave of absence, letting me devote 100% of my time and energy on advancing my career. I soon started working at a regional airline. After a year as a first officer, I took the earliest captain upgrade. During the pandemic, I commuted across the country to continue to fly as much as possible." 

In December, Lucy received her Delta wings and started living her dream as a pilot.  

"I wouldn't be where I am today without the support from my wonderful husband, my outstanding mentors and the Delta Propel Program," she said.

So what's her advice for others? 

"Take an intro flight! If you discover that flying is your passion, then work toward qualifying for Delta's Propel Program. It's a long road to the Delta flight deck, but a deeply rewarding one," said Lucy. 

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