HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - After 51 years with Hawaiian Airlines, flight attendant Audrey Kwok’s career officially ends this month.
She’s one of roughly 100 flight attendants who are retiring as part of the company’s voluntary early out program. Due to the pandemic, her last flight was actually in March.
“We didn’t have closure. We didn’t get to say goodbye to each other,” said Kwok.
When she signed on in 1969, most flight attendants only worked a couple years, but the women’s movement opened the door for lifetime careers.
Her memories and all the international cities she visited are just as colorful as her uniforms.
“Many of us have had just a great run. We’ve been able to pretty much have sleepovers, layovers, we’ve gone shopping and we’ve seen all kinds of sites. It was time to let somebody else do it,” she said.
Kwok was on that Hawaiian Airlines flight that helped save the Hokulea in 1978.
Capsized at sea, Eddie Aikau was lost. After spotting a distress flare and then being told to keep flying, the pilot told her to look out the window.
" I looked out the window. I was shocked. It was just a huge black void. No light," she said.
But then she spotted something a light.
“When I stared at it, it was pulsating and I was so relieved and I said I see it. It’s on the left corner of this window,” Kwok said.
Later, the flight crew would learn it was a distress light from Hokulea.
One memorable flight was to Athens during Desert Storm in 1991.
“We saw tanks right at the entrance to the airport and this was before 911 and we have never seen anything like that before,” said Kwok.
With no opportunity to say goodbye to her colleagues in person, the 71-year-old is saying aloha from afar. “I will miss you and I’m hoping that you will face the challenges ahead with a lot of courage, wisdom and most of all, a lot of good luck,” she said.