'Queen of Aloha' Retires After 50 Years of Service

Patti Smart
Patti Smart

HONOLULU INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (KHNL) --  She first flew in propeller planes, then jets. Now a Waikiki woman celebrates a milestone in Hawaii aviation history.

Patti Smart retired as a flight attendant Friday, after 50 years of flying with Aloha Airlines.

It's a welcome fit for a queen.  Friends shower Smart with hugs and lei on her final flight with aloha airlines.

"I'm feeling so many emotion," said the 69-year-old Smart, who grew up in Saint Louis Heights. "I feel happy. I feel sad. I feel grateful."

Smart's logged tens of thousands of flight hours during her fifty-year career.  When she started as an 18-year-old, she never expected to last this long.

"Five years max.  I added a zero," she said with a laugh.

Smart said her co-workers made Aloha a fun place to work.

"They know I love them," she said. "I love them so much. They're my family."

Planes have evolved over the years, but Smart said, Aloha has always kept that aloha spirit.

"It's just the greatest company," she said.  "It shows what a great company Aloha is to have that much love to want to work for them."

Her friends have dubbed her "the Queen of Aloha."  Even the company CEO agrees.

"There's no question about it," said David Banmiller, president and CEO of Aloha Airlines.  "And she represents the company so well. We're very proud of her."

Smart has had some wonderful memories, but one mishap sticks out in her mind.

"I was flying in a (Douglas) DC-3," she said.

A DC-3 is a propeller-driven, fixed-wing airplane popular in the mid-1900s.

"I was 18 and spilled pineapple juice on my skirt and I was on an overnight trip to Hilo.  And the pilot said go wash it.  I washed it. I held it. He opened the window, and Boop! Gone! The skirt flew out the window!" she remembers with a laugh.

It's that easy going spirit that's made her the reigning Queen of Aloha.

"It was a great job," she said. "No regrets.  I have a great company."

Smart may be hanging up her uniform, but she's not slowing down just yet.  She plans to spend her time volunteering for children's charities.