Continental attendant marks 50 years

Continental Airlines’ number one flight attendant on the system seniority list, Norma Heape, will celebrate 50 years of service with the company on a flight between New York and Hong Kong on Wednesday.Recruited as a flight attendant from the Patricia Stevens Modeling Agency in June 1957, before Continental had jet-powered aircraft in its fleet, Heape now serves as an International Service Manager on board the aircraft. In her illustrious 50-year career with the airline, she has flown over 26 million miles on 27 different aircraft types to nearly all of Continental’s more than 100 destinations worldwide. Heape has been based in Houston, Denver, Los Angeles, Honolulu and Newark, and has several “firsts” under her belt. She worked the inaugural flight of the Viscount aircraft in 1958, Continental’s first military air charter in 1964, and the first Boeing 747 flight to Honolulu in 1970.

“Most of us will never experience a lifetime of commitment to just one company,” said Sam Risoli, Continental’s vice president of inflight and Heape’s boss of 11 years. “Norma exemplifies the spirit, class and professionalism of the International Service Manager position, and we are extremely honored to recognize her dedication to Continental Airlines.”

Continental will honor Heape’s 50 years of service in a brief ceremony on June 13 prior to her departing on flight CO99 from Newark Liberty to Hong Kong. Risoli will present Heape with a specially designed necklace in recognition of her lifelong dedication to the airline.

With the most seniority among nearly 9,000 flight attendants at Continental, Heape sets a great example for her peers. Not once in her career has she missed a scheduled trip due to calling in sick. Hundreds of new flight attendants are starting their careers with Continental this year, and the airline is continuously interviewing applicants who submit their information on