Mattson Soars with PSA Airlines


Mattson (left) and her partner Kerr (right) with famous rapper Waka Flocka Flame on one of their recent flights.

Ashley Thornton, Marketing/Social Media Director

By: Ashley Thornton

It’s a 10:45 p.m. on a below freezing Cleveland, Ohio night. PSA Airlines flight attendant, Hannah Mattson has just come in from a 12-hour workday flying across the east coast. She started in Tallahassee, Florida this morning and ends her day in Cleveland, Ohio. She’s exhausted and hungry but yet she’s content. She loves this job and pretty much everything about it – except maybe for the early morning show times. But besides that she has few complaints.

“I get to make connections with people every day that can last a lifetime…. I love being able to explore places that I wouldn’t typically ever go to and find out what makes each one special,” Mattson said.

If you had asked her four years ago if she would be a flight attendant she would have thought you were crazy. Mattson graduated from Averett in the spring of 2018 with a degree in liberal studies and minors in English and psychology. She was also a member of the Averett women’s tennis team. Up until October of her senior year Mattson had plans of graduating and becoming an elementary school teacher. That was until she realized teaching would always be there but the chance to travel the world for practically free would not be.

“I wanted to see the word. I love meeting new people but I hadn’t had the chance to travel much before this, now its completely changed,” said Mattson.

If you were to ask Mattson what her average workday looked like she wouldn’t be able to tell you. One morning she may be showing up for work at 6 a.m. and the next day it could be 10 a.m. Mattson says that the earliest she has ever had to report to work was 4:45 a.m. for a flight from Norfolk, Virginia to Charlotte, North Carolina.

Learning to be able to be flexible was key for Mattson and her success. Mattson has only been with PSA since August of 2018 but has already earned a line. She received her line in December. A line is when a flight attendant has a set schedule for what routes they will be flying on for the month. Compared to flying what’s called hot reserve. Hot reserve is when you show up to the airport and wait to see if you’re needed for a flight to go anywhere they need you to.

“It was beyond exciting to finally get my line in December. It’s nice knowing where you’ll be flying to for the entire month,” said Mattson.

Mattson and her coworker Jessica Kerr met while in flight attendant training in Dayton, Ohio. The two quickly became friends and haven’t left each other’s side except when Mattson was stationed in Dayton from August till October. They even share a line so they are almost always on the same flights as one another. The two could be called a dynamic duo. Many passengers have complimented them on their great service. But it doesn’t stop there. The two even live together in Norfolk, Va.

“To most people’s shock it actually works really well with us living together and constantly working together. We know each other enough that we can tell if one of us is having an off day so the other will pick up the slack,” said Kerr.

They both say that staying open with each other helps make things work so well for the two.

“It feels good to have a partner that went through the struggles of training with you. You have a special bond because you have grown with them and both achieve success together,” said Mattson.

Kerr and Mattson both have the same mentality when it comes to their job. They both want to be the best and provide the best service no matter what.

“We’re a well oiled machine, especially after so many flights together. It makes your job a lot easier when you have a great partner like I do,” said Kerr.

Mattson says Averett has played a big role in helping her develop the characteristics of a great flight attendant even when she had no plans of joining the airlines.

“Averett helped me gain leadership skills necessary to perform my job. It has helped me not be afraid to take the lead like a lot of young flight attendants are,” said Mattson.

Mattson’s favorite part of the job is being able to create meaningful relationships with people on a daily basis. She says the airlines can be like a big family since you’re traveling so much. It’s nice to be able to have relationships with people who you would have never met before this and they genuinely care about you and you care about them.

Mattson grew up very close with her family on a small farm in Roxboro, N.C about 45 minutes from Averett. She says the transition process of getting used to not being close to home took some time but it doesn’t upset her nearly as much as it once did.

“It was very difficult at first not being close to my parents. Now it makes each time I come home that much more special,” said Mattson.

She also credits FaceTime to helping cope with the distance of being away from home.

“FaceTime has become one of my best friends when it comes to staying connected to the ones that I love back home and everywhere in between. I’m lucky, I typically get to talk to my parents three times a week,” said Mattson

That’s not the only struggle of working in the airlines. “There is always a chance that you get a bad flight, but those are few and far in between. You can’t let one flight ruin your day. It is all about being resilient,” said Mattson

She notes that one of her worst flights was when there was extreme turbulence. She and Kerr tried to hide their expressions but even they were concerned. The flight was so turbulent that a passenger ended up getting sick.

Mattson says the good in her job definitely outweighs the bad. She eventually has plans to join a major airline, like American Airlines, who are the parent company of her employer PSA.

“I’m really glad that I took this leap of faith and followed my dreams. I couldn’t imagine my life another way. I love what I do and I look forward to doing it every day,” said Mattson.