We recently had the pleasure of chatting with community member, Hannah Dawn, who has been an App in the Air user since 2015. Read on to hear about Hannah’s experience in the airline industry, her recent travel memories and more.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name’s Hannah, I live in Phoenix right now. I’m actually moving to San Diego in a couple of months, and I’m really excited about that. I work for Delta Airlines, I’m a flight attendant and I’m also pursuing my pilots license right now. I’m working on my commercial license and should have that by the end of the month, actually. So yeah, I really enjoy air travel and that kind of thing. My dad was a helicopter pilot in the Navy. And from that we moved like every year or two when I was little and growing up. Traveling is in my blood.
What inspired you to become a pilot?
Well, I really love my job and the lifestyle that I lead with it, but after probably two and a half years I started to crave something different. It’s a different layover every day. A different crew every day, but I just felt like I needed something more. So I challenged myself: I’m either going to learn a new language or I’m going to get my pilot’s license. I picked the latter and started that transition into the flight deck since my company also offers a transition program. When COVID happened, it actually gave me a great opportunity to be able to pursue this new goal.
To top this off, my little sister actually was pursuing being a pilot as well, but that was her college degree. Seeing the challenges that she faced and being able to overcome all that made me proud and really inspired me as well. And she actually just got a job as a commercial pilot! I can’t tell you how proud of her I am and I’m excited to do that for myself at some point.
Can you tell us about your favorite travel destination, where, where is a place that you love to go back to?
I lived in Italy for three years or so growing up. I was in Sicily and I loved it there and I would love to go back as a tourist because I feel like sometimes when you live somewhere really cool and exciting, you take it for granted and you don’t really experience everything there. So I’m actually looking forward to going back and doing some of the more cultural activities there. And of course, I miss the food!
I also have a couple of trips coming up this year that I’m looking forward to! I’m going to Nepal in May. I’m actually going to visit the Everest base camp, which I was supposed to do in 2020 at the same time. But Nepal shut its borders about a week before I was supposed to go. I’m excited to make this happen, go there fully vaccinated and boosted and ready to see something new. And then in November, I’m thinking about going to Vietnam. I haven’t been to Southeast Asia yet and that’s somewhere that I would like to go to explore the culture, meet new people and of course try the incredible food.
Do you have any sort of favorite travel memories from your journeys so far?
I’m kind of a big planner so during this past year I have grown to appreciate the unexpected. So, sometimes when things don’t go as planned, it can be frustrating for me but I’ve come to really appreciate the little moments and things that I didn’t plan for. For example, if something gets canceled or anything like that, I’ll usually find something else to do spontaneously. But also that often ends up being one of my favorite experiences.
I went to Egypt last year after my Nepal trip got canceled since I had all this time off of work. I asked myself: “where can I go that’s open that I haven’t been to?” I ended up going to Egypt and took a cruise down the Nile. During that trip I took an excursion with a guide and one of the days when we were in the middle of going back to the big boat, the guide was telling us about these local legends and stories about genies and treasures and all this stuff. And that was one of my favorite memories from the trip — it was just amazing learning about the history. And the way he was telling us, it was giving me chills! It was also just amazing being on the Nile…how often does that happen? So a lot of times it’s just my interactions with people, getting to know people from different cultures and lifestyles than myself that often ends up being my favorite part of my trip.
Do you travel solo or prefer to travel with people?
I prefer to go with someone. But honestly, you do end up learning a lot about yourself when you’re traveling by yourself. I like to be able to share experiences with people and like to reflect on them. But I also like the flexibility of solo travel. Like if, if I want to do something, I can just do it. Also, it’s easier to meet people by yourself because you don’t have to worry about people you’re traveling with. And especially in different places, meant for meeting people like a hostel. Traveling alone can be very empowering, but it can be very lonely as well. So I try to do an equal amount of traveling with other people when I can.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in aviation or become a pilot like yourself?
Well first things first: You gotta keep at it because it takes a lot of time and energy. It’s definitely a challenge and not just mentally, but also financially. But I think of it as an investment in myself, because at the end of the day: I’ll be doing something I love and I’ll be comfortable with my lifestyle doing it. So, just stick with it and find mentors — a big thing in aviation is connections. Seek out people who have similar goals as you, or who have been where you are and get advice from them, and really immerse yourself in that culture there, because that’s how you’re going find your best opportunities and you’ll also make some friends along the way.