Ten years ago, on February 12, 2009, Captain Rachelle Jones Kerr, First Officer Stephanie Grant and Flight Attendants Diana Galloway and Robin Rogers landed in our nation’s history books as the first all-female, African-American crew to operate a commercial revenue flight – and it only happened by chance.
Rachelle, Robin and Diana had been flying with a first officer who left the trip early due to illness, and Stephanie was called to fill in.
“I could not believe it at the time,” said Stephanie, describing how she felt as she entered the aircraft and saw her fellow crew members. “We knew that this moment was special, but did not realize the full significance until weeks later when pictures from the flight began circulating on the internet.”
Together with the Organization of Black Airline Pilots (OBAP), the crew confirmed that they were, indeed, the first all-female, African-American flight crew.
The four flew just one round-trip together, from Atlanta to Nashville, Tennessee, and back, but it was enough to permanently mark their place in history.
Today, Stephanie and Robin are based in ORD, Rachelle is a first officer for Delta Air Lines, and Diana has retired from the industry. Stephanie also now uses her experience to encourage other minority women to enter aviation through work with Sisters of the Skies, a non-profit mentorship organization. Although no longer coworkers, the four still stay in touch thanks to the chance bond they formed ten years ago.
“I am proud of our place in history and even more proud to share it with some of the greatest women that I know,” said Stephanie.