Pilot’s surprise tribute to flight attendant mom on their first joint flight

A memorable moment recently unfolded for a United Airlines pilot when he found himself at the helm of a flight bound for Spain, where his mother was working as a flight attendant. Cole Doss, 31, seized the pre-flight announcement as an opportunity to honor his mother’s remarkable 40-year career in the skies.

Expressing his gratitude to the passengers, Doss shared, “She’s been one of my biggest supporters in my life and in my career becoming a pilot, ever since my very first flight lesson. To my mom, I love you, and to everyone onboard, welcome aboard our family-friendly skies.”

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In an Instagram video capturing the heartfelt occasion, Doss can be seen raising his mother’s arm in celebration of her enduring support and extensive career.

Doss recounted to “Good Morning America” that this flight, journeying from Washington, D.C., to Madrid, marked not only their first collaboration on a flight but also his mother’s inaugural time onboard an aircraft he was piloting. He shared, “That was the first time I was able to fly my mom ever. In flight school, she was a little nervous about the small planes, so I was never able to fly with her there.”

Typically assigned to Asia-bound flights, Doss’ mother adjusted her schedule to synchronize with her son’s Spain flight, ensuring they shared the sky.

Their day began with a unique camaraderie, as they commuted to the plane together, from the employee parking lot to security to the gate. Doss, a United Airlines pilot since February 2022, emphasized the significance of these shared moments.

The gesture of honoring his mother publicly during the flight stemmed from Doss’ desire to acknowledge the tremendous contributions of mothers and flight attendants. He expressed, “I wanted to do something incredibly special to pay back my mom and let everyone know that this was a really cool and momentous event for the both of us.”

Describing the experience as a career highlight, Doss reflected on the profound impact of the day.

Subsequently, Doss also piloted the return flight to Washington, D.C., which his mother worked as a flight attendant. Humorously, he mentioned leaving the in-flight announcements to his mother, suggesting she likely shared the news with the passengers that her son was captaining the aircraft.

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Doss comes from an aviation-oriented family: his father is a retired flight attendant for American Airlines, and his sister is presently a flight attendant for the same airline.

Doss disclosed that he transitioned to aviation midway through his business major in college, inspired by his parents’ passion for flying. He recounted, “My parents were incredibly supportive. They both have a passion for aviation… becoming a pilot [myself] kind of fulfilled both of our goals.”

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