The Keys, Please: Women of United Pick Up Their First Plane | KUOW News and Information

The Keys, Please: Women of United Pick Up Their First Plane

May 20, 2015

It’s a first for United Airlines.

On Wednesday morning, an all-woman crew and a plane full of female United employees took possession of a new airplane.

It happened at Boeing Field early this morning.

Capt. Jan Lumbrazo was the first to fly the new 737 from SeaTac to Boeing Field.

“It’s my first new airplane. Smells like a new car," she said.

The short flight was just to pick up a hundred or so of her colleagues -- a planeload of hand-picked United employees.

More than 40 percent of the company’s workforce is now women, from ground crews to senior vice presidents.

Lumbrazo says it’s been eight years since a male pilot said he didn’t want to work with her.

“It was a boy’s club, but it’s turning not that way anymore.”

Mandeep Grewal of United says women have talent that airlines need.  

“And what we want to do is leverage that potential. And encourage them to step outside their comfort zones, to be bold, as we say.”

Two traditions were to remain intact today.  

Boeing always hands over symbolic keys in a little ring box.

And United’s tradition is that company executives put on aprons and serve bubbly to their employees once the plane takes off.

But first everyone had to get on the plane, captained by Kimberly Noakes, an old hand at delivery flights.

She gave the thumbs up and then ... takeoff.