Precious Stewardess Association

(Ed.s note: This is reproduced from the December 1981 issue of Skylines.)

Sandra Caesar got PSA off the Ground
By Carole Hoffarth

(Back in 1966, flight attendant Sandra Daniels Caesar joined PSA when she was 18 years old. Four months later, she founded the Precious Stewardess Association. Fifteen years later, the group's still going strong.)

Once upon a time, when PSA had 60 stewardesses - flight attendants came later - and nearly all business travelers were men, a bright young woman named Sandra Daniels started flying for PSA. After a few weeks, she noticed some of the same businessmen flew frequently on her flights. She would greet these regular passengers, and, because she had no way of knowing their names, she'd say something like, "Good morning, Precious."

Some of the very frequent flyers began boarding with doughnuts, cookies, or flowers to give to Sandra and the other stewardesses. One day, one of Sandra's favorite frequent flyers asked, "Why don't we (frequent PSA travelers) have our own club?"

That's all it took. Sandra thought about it all night. She drafted some rules for the club and came up with a catchy name - the Precious Stewardess Association - to tie it in with PSA.

In the beginning, Sandra got business cards from her precious passengers and took them home to hand-letter certificates to be distributed by the Precious Stewardess Association. As the club grew in popularity, Sandra decided to make it official.

She spent $100 - an investment equal to two months' rent at the time - to have all the certificates printed. She gathered all the letters of praise she'd received from passengers along with her freshly inked certificates and went "with my knees shaking, I went to see Mr. Andrews (J. Floyd Andrews, then-president of PSA)."

"I made my pitch and he gave me three weeks to test my program," she said. And he reimbursed her $100. At the end of the three weeks, the program had received so much positive feedback that Andrews became one of the group's staunchest supporters.

From the beginning, a flight attendant's participation in the Precious Stewardess Association has been voluntary. "One of the chief reasons for the club's resounding success is that no one is forced to participate," Sandra said. "I think the minute something becomes mandatory, it loses its appeal as something very special." Sandra can't tally the number of Precious Stewardess Association certificates she's awarded.

Although candy, doughnuts, and flowers are the most common gifts awarded by precious passengers to their favorite flight attendants, other gifts Sandra can recall theater tickets, nylons, home baked goods and, once, a jeweler returning home from the Orient distributed genuine gems.

Gene's a Precious Passenger

On a typical Tuesday morning at Sacramento Metropolitan Airport, a distinguished-looking gentleman boards a PSA jetliner and proceeds to his usual row in the back of the aircraft. He usually carries an armload of freshly cut long-stemmed roses. And he normally gets off the airplane without the flowers.

He is Yhinio "Gene" Arreguy, a consultant with the State Department of Education office of child development. He's also a 10-year member of the Precious Stewardess Association.

The roses he carries aboard are tokens of appreciation for the PSA people who serve him. Some days he has doughnuts, cookies, or fruit instead of roses. To show for his efforts are more than 700 Precious Stewardess Association certificates.

Gene's congeniality extends to PSA passengers as well. He speaks Spanish fluently and has served as a translator severals times to assist Spanish-speaking travelers around PSA facilities.

One of his favorite memories centers around his birthday a few years ago. "I was in Ontario and was pre-boarded so the flight attendants could sing 'Happy Birthday' to me," he said. "They remembered!"

(Photo: Flight attendants Shirley Card, left, and Sandra Caesar greet Gene Arreguy.)

Precious Stewardess Association card, 1976