Air Camp Gives Students Insight into the Science of Inflight Services

As a way of supporting community and education, PSA Airlines was a partner in Air Camp, a hands-on program that teaches intermediate and middle school students about aviation and aeronautics.

Nearly 100 students came to the PSA Dayton Training Center on July 12 and July 26 and learned about the duties of a flight attendant and how that role fits into the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) teachings.

Check out a gallery of students in the training:

Instructors Kimberly Pennamon, Morgan Fussinger, Darcy Drago, Robin Coombs, Michelle Spangler and LC Acor, along with Manager of Inflight Training Andrea Roush participated in the tour for PSA.

Kimberly, a former teacher, led the discussion with the student groups. In the below Q&A, she talks about her experience.

Do you feel programs and tours like this help promote PSA and what you do as flight attendants? Yes, I believe that “gateway” opportunities such as the one that we provided help to foster and increase student interest in STEM areas. I am very hopeful that the students also felt that our discussion of examples of how the two areas integrate (our role as a flight attendant and the STEM areas) were relevant and helpful.

The presentation included a planned evacuation drill. What made you decide to include that part of the FA training?
Flight attendants serve as the “Safety Coordinator of the cabin.” It is our responsibility to evacuate the aircraft during an emergency.  Since we were charged with providing information regarding the role of a flight attendant, we believed that it would be beneficial for the students to serve as participants of a planned emergency evacuation.

What did you tell the teachers and students about the role of flight attendants s and how it fits into STEM careers?
We showed our Scott Portable Oxygen Bottle (POB) and I asked if they knew the element for oxygen on the periodic table.  I also explained that we have to know how to utilize the POB for medical emergencies to include looking to determine if it is odorless and colorless as well as whether there is a flow of oxygen as indicated by the specific type of oxygen bottle on the aircraft.

What takeaways did you get from your experience helping with Air Camp?
The takeaways that I got from the experience helping with Air Camp were:

  • The need to continue to build and promote community partnerships with local entities such as the public school system. These can be used as early “gateway” opportunities which can serve as pathways to helping identify and recruit future flight attendants, pilots and essential airline personnel.
  • The opportunity to provide students, who had never been on an airplane, the opportunity to sit in our cabin simulator and to provide them with a simulated airplane experience. Several weeks back, we were informed that the primary component of our revenue customer base are first-time flyers.  As we polled the students from each Air Camp group, we learned that there were a few who had never been on an airplane.
  • The response from a student who stated that he felt that it was the role of the flight attendant to be “compatible with incompatible people [passengers].”  His words were so profound. I asked if we could borrow his statement.  It, very appropriately, summarized the discussion of topics about security and customer service.
  • The opportunity to emphasize the importance of education, learning and training to the students.  We continued to inform them how critical it is that flight attendants act as lifelong learners and stay abreast of information (policies, procedures and regulations) to be able to possess and effectively demonstrate job knowledge and skill proficiency.

It was a very rewarding experience and I am looking forward to future visits by the Air Camp students and teachers. I hope that we will have more opportunities to partner with them and other organizational groups in the future.

Faces of PSA – Meet Kimberly Tatum

Faces of PSA - Kim TatumName: Kimberly Tatum

Title: Flight Attendant 

How long have you worked for PSA? 3 years

How long have you been in the airline industry? Where did you work before PSA? I have had the opportunity to work in a variety of positions. I have worked as a corporate trainer, customer service manager, sales representative and a nanny. Most of the positions were in the travel industry. I worked as a corporate trainer, as well as a revenue manager and customer service manager with Hertz Corporation.

How did your other jobs prepare you for being a Flight Attendant? I worked with passengers who just got off the planes or were trying to get on a plane. Customer service in both the airline industry or car rental industry is the same.

What brought you to PSA? I have always wanted to be a flight attendant. It was my dream job. A chance meeting with Roger Dunn turned it into a reality.

What appealed to you the most about being a Flight Attendant? The independence to manage myself. A Flight Attendant is in charge of their time and work ethic. It is up to me to excel in this position and the passengers are the judge of my performance.

Give us a brief overview of what you do: I have thrown big events for my old neighborhood. This is the exact same thing. I host a gathering of people for the length of the flight, as if they were at an event. I welcome them, get to know them, serve them drinks and make sure they are safe for the duration of their flight. Once we land, I thank them, just like I would if they had attended an event.

Recently, you had a passenger who required extra special care from his wife on the flight. Can you describe the experience and what you did for them? There was an elderly couple in first class. The husband needed to use the restroom. He needed assistance from his wife. I recognized the situation because my mom had to assist my dad when he could not help himself. When she got him to the lavatory, I held up a blanket for privacy so she could assist him.  I had no idea that his son, an American airline employee, was also in first class.  The entire family was very appreciative that of the gesture.

What is one of the biggest challenges of your job? Trying to decide to bid early morning shows (get up at o’dark thirty) or night shows (thunder storms every day).

Where’s your favorite place you have traveled? St. John and Hawaii

What are some of your hobbies? Visiting wineries and walking food tours

What do you love about working for PSA? The people!!!

Would you recommend PSA and why? I have recommended PSA to several people. The flexibility and the people you encounter on a daily basis.

Tell us something about your role that most people don’t know: My son, Justin, works for PSA as a flight attendant and we fly together frequently. He started six months after me.

What is it like to work with your son? Did he join because you became a Flight Attendant or was he always planning on becoming one? Working with Justin is easy. I like the forward (front of the cabin) position and he enjoys the aft (back of the cabin) position, so I don’t have to play the seniority card. He is totally opposite of me. He decided to become a Flight Attendant because I was having so much fun.

What has been the most rewarding part of your job? Being able to turn a problem into a positive experience for everyone involved.

Tell us something no one knows about you: I am an open book. You want to know something, I will always tell you. Not very