Lisabeth Kay
Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

In Memoriam: Lisabeth Kay

She may have been looking out for you without you knowing it.

Lisabeth Kay is likely not a name you would know. She worked in airport customer service and other areas for Delta Air Lines before moving on to its human resources division — if you were a customer of Delta Air Lines, she likely was looking out for you without you realizing it — but she sadly passed away earlier this month early in the morning on Tuesday, April 19, 2022 at only 60 years of age.

In Memoriam: Lisabeth Kay

Lisabeth Kay
Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

As one of countless examples of what she has done, Lis monitored customers who achieved Diamond Medallion elite status with Delta Air Lines — especially on FlyerTalk under the name Wid, as a very young relative once called her because he could not pronounce “Lis” — to ensure that they had their turns riding in a Porsche to connect from one flight to another at the international airport which serves the greater Atlanta metropolitan area.

Having reluctantly first joined FlyerTalk on Monday, June 22, 2009 after some convincing to do so, the fifth — and final — time Lis posted on FlyerTalk was this message in the Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles forum on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 3:55 in the afternoon Eastern Daylight Time which was specifically directed to the late Kevin Pinto for his birthday:

Kevin –

I want to extend my wishes to you to have the best birthday ever! It seems from the praiseful comments that I have read here in these posts that you have performed a number of Delta “miracles” and have amassed a sizeable fan base over the years. I did get a chance to meet you at that special retirement event hosted by FlyerTalk in the Delta hangar. Even though I never had an opportunity to work with you at Delta, I am very grateful that I was there that day to hear from others about how much you meant to them both professionally and personally.

I heard about a quote this week from CEO Richard Anderson that was directed to 100 honorees and their guests attending Delta’s Chairman’s Club employee recognition event held a few days ago and it is equally relevant to you also:

“In the end, it’s the people that matter, and you are by far the very best in the industry,” Richard stated. “And you’re the very best not necessarily for all the things you do at work, but because of all the things you represent as human beings – and in the end, this is a business about humanity.”

Thanks for being the best at what you did here at Delta and for all of the future great things you want to accomplish personally in the years ahead in retirement.

My sincere desire is for you to have all of your birthday wishes come true.

Enjoy it to the fullest as nobody deserves it more than you do!

Warmest Regards,

A DL friend

Note the signature “A DL friend”. Like Kevin Pinto — who also worked for Delta Air Lines — Lis preferred to remain anonymous and out of the spotlight while doing everything she could to ensure that the experience of every customer possible with Delta Air Lines was the best experience possible.

As an example, Lis found out that I had qualified for my first Million Miler status on Delta Air Lines during a flight. She and Steven Klamon — who is a good friend of mine with whom I co-organized the Delta Air Lines FlyerTalk events in both 2010 and 2009 — arrived at the gate. After landing and while passengers were getting up to leave the airplane, Steven picked up the microphone to use the public address system aboard the airplane in specifically announcing my achievement — and even mentioning the seat in which I was located.

Everyone aboard the airplane then looked in my direction and started applauding. I initially did not know whether to cower out of embarrassment or be proud of what just happened — but I knew that Lis was behind these shenanigans. She then invited Steven and I to a Delta Sky Club to celebrate my achievement.

Lisabeth Kay
Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Then there was the time some years ago when I was ready to board an airplane for a flight from the United States to Zurich for which I was going to spend ten days in Europe — but some plans fell through and I did not need all ten days after all — an announcement by the gate agent requested volunteers who were willing to take a later flight.

I, of course, volunteered.

I was instructed to wait aside while the passengers boarded the airplane. After the door was closed and the airplane departed for Zurich, the gate agent then scheduled me to be a passenger on an earlier flight the next day, which was absolutely fine with me. I was already being compensated with a voucher worth $750.00 for a flight on which I paid $333.00; plus I was given $40.00 for meals and lodging for the night — and I earned frequent guest loyalty program points from a purchase at the hotel where I relaxed and stayed for the night.

“What seat would you prefer?” the gate agent asked me.

“A seat as close to the front as possible,” I replied — which is my typical preference…

…and then — after a momentary pause — I finished the response with a suggestion that I be seated in the business class cabin.

I was completely joking about that last part; so you can imagine my surprise when the gate agent said “Let me see…” and started clicking away at the keyboard on the computer.

Before I realized it, I was assigned to a seat in the business class cabin; and it was treated as though I paid for it and not as an upgrade, which meant that I earned bonus frequent flier loyalty program miles and qualification miles towards elite level status for the next year — as well as complimentary access to the airport lounge…

…all for only $333.00 and a night of my time.

When I returned from Zurich and departed from the airplane, I unexpectedly saw Lis in the airport and told her all about my experience. She was thrilled for me and actually congratulated me on such an incredible score.

Lisabeth Kay
Lisabeth Kay proudly stands in front of what she affectionally called “her” Boeing 777-232LR airplane on which her name was affixed after being awarded recognition in the Chairman’s Club of Delta Air Lines. Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

For all of the tireless work that she has done for customers of Delta Air Lines — as well as excelling at her job, whichever job it was — Lis was distinctly honored of being awarded as a member of the Chairman’s Club in recognition of performance above and beyond what was expected of her. As shown in the featured photograph at the top of this article, her name was affixed to the right of the boarding door of a Boeing 777-232LR airplane, which has since been retired. This specific aircraft was Ship 7101 — which was also known as N701DN — and it was the first Boeing 777-232LR airplane to be delivered to Delta Air Lines, which occurred on Friday, February 29, 2008 at Boeing Field in Seattle.

Lis was so incredibly proud of this achievement — as well as the airplane, which she affectionately called “her” airplane. She absolutely deserved the honor.

Not to rest on her laurels, Lis also selflessly devoted herself and her free time to raising funds for numerous charitable causes — many of which were sponsored by Delta Air Lines — such as the Delta Jet Drag and helping to build houses for Habitat for Humanity.

Her last activity on FlyerTalk was on Monday, November 11, 2013 at 9:49 in the morning Eastern Standard Time.

Lisabeth Kay
Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Although all of the photographs in this article were either outside of or aboard what she affectionately called “her” airplane, Lis also took her piloting skills — or severe lack thereof, to be more accurate — in a flight simulator, where she enjoyed the experience like she was a little girl again…

…and I must admit: watching her “fly” a Boeing 777-200 flight simulator was a hilarious experience for me.

Fortunately, I did not need motion sickness pills, as she put that flight simulator through the ringer — and then some.

Final Boarding Call

No funeral arrangements have been planned at the time this article was written.

That infectious smile and gregariously positive energy which defined Lis is why I have been smiling instead of having my eyes tear up in sorrow. She was an amazing person who will never be forgotten by all of the people whom she had touched in her life.

The loss of a FlyerTalk member — who was also a valued employee of Delta Air Lines — is always sad for me. I really dislike having to mourn yet another fellow frequent flier — especially one whom I considered a friend. This one hit me hard, which is why I took so long to write this article — and the fact that I lost both Lehava and another good friend to congestive heart failure in recent months did not help either. No matter what I write, I just do not feel like I have done her memory justice, as there is so much more I can say about Lis.

In the meantime, my thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of Lis. This discussion has been posted on FlyerTalk in her honor.

May you rest in peace, Lis. You are indeed missed…

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

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