Seventy three years ago today (July 31, 2019), Philippine Airlines took its very first transpacific flight. The flight flew from Manila to Oakland with stopovers at Guam, Johnston Atoll, and Honolulu, before landing at Oakland, California. On board the 41-hour flight were 40 US servicemen who were homesick. Taking care of them and ensuring their comfort was PAL's very first flight attendant, Ms. Rebecca Verzosa-Santos.
F/A Becky, who was later on fondly known as "Lola Becky", was the lone flight attendant of that crossing. She was manually pumping air on the mattresses so the soldiers can sleep through the long flight while she slept on the "bucket seats". She would also prepare them coffee with hot water on a thermos on board, together with some sandwiches for their meals. She described the servicemen as "very nice, kind, and all were true gentlemen."
This trip aboard a leased Douglas DC-4 last July 31, 1946 shot her to fame to the point that she described it as "my flight", being the lone FA during that trip.
Becky entered PAL at the age of 22 during its post war operations. Barely passing the minimum height that time which was 5'0", she became the airline's very first flight attendant. “I applied not so much because I would get to travel but because I thought the work was exciting and fun and challenging, she said.
She later on authored PAL’s very first manual for flight attendants, the basis for today’s cabin crew training manuals also known as the CCOM or Cabin Crew Operations Manual.. After training other cabin crew, she became the first head of PAL’s baggage handling unit – the Baggage Claims Department.
F/A Becky was the special guest of honor when PAL resumed flights from Manila to New York last 2015. She flew home to our creator last December 2015 at the age of 92.
FA Becky once said “Make use of all your faculties while you are going toward your golden years, because you want to be of service. To give yourself, to love – this is why we are on earth." She indeed lives in the heart of every Philippine Airlines cabin crew out there, which eventually made them the world's 11th best cabin crew of 2019 by Skytrax.