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15 Deaths in the Airline Industry In 9 days Linked to Coronavirus. Why are Planes Still Flying?

Somehow, word got around among retired New York City firefighters about a perfect second-career job: a local company, with lots of travel perks. One by one, they became flight attendants at JetBlue.


Ralph Gismondi was among the first of an estimated 30 or so former firefighters who joined the airline. He retired as a fire captain after several decades that included a stint at ground zero on 9/11. He began working as a flight attendant for JetBlue in 2003 and saw each trip as a chance to fine-tune his comedy routine over the public address system. On layovers, he would play the piano in hotel lobbies and rally other flight attendants for nights out on the town, coworkers said.


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