Air New Zealand’s longest-serving flight attendant, Ron Twine retires after 53 years

Air New Zealand is honoring Ron Twine, the longest-serving flight attendant in the airline’s history, as he approaches his retirement. Twine, who is 74 years old, joined the company in 1970 at the young age of 21. After an incredible 53-year career, he has now completed his final flight, marking the end of an era.

Recently, Twine piloted his last journey departing from New Zealand, taking off from Auckland (AKL) and heading to Vancouver (YVR). Following this, he will embark on his ultimate return flight to Auckland, with an expected landing date of Monday, June 19, 2023.

In 1970, Twine’s aspiration to become a flight attendant came up during his employment at a hotel in Tahiti. It was during this time that he had the opportunity to meet a group of Air New Zealand pilots and crew who were staying overnight at the hotel. Their presence left a lasting impression on Twine, inspiring him to pursue a career in the aviation industry.

Ron Twine with his Air New Zealand colleagues in the 1970s. The other picture is with his wife Nikki, who also worked for Air New Zealand

It was her first day as an international flight attendant for the airline when we met waiting for our luggage at Los Angeles Airport. I made a joke about Nikki’s suitcase being old and out of fashion, when my own was the exact same make and was held together with duct-tape.

Being a flight attendant isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle and something I have absolutely relished for 53 years. I’m going to find it really hard not to be with my friends and flying family after next week. For me it’s what this job’s been about, it’s the people, the passengers and crew, they have become real family and friends. Some came to our wedding, my wife and I have been on holiday with others and we visit them wherever we go.

As a flight attendant you wear so many hats, you take on the role of counsellor, nurse, babysitter, entertainer and the best part is you get to help people. It’s so very rewarding, you’ll never look back.

Images: © Air New Zealand & Ron Twine

View the interview by 1News station with Ron Twine

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