A First Class Departure

American Airlines has given RDU many things over the years – hub status, non-stop service to London and Christina Deutsch.  Since landing in the mid-1980s with the start of hub service, Christina has become a fixture at the airport and we’re really going to miss her come Monday morning. 

Christina "Chris" Deutsch at the Terminal 2 Open House  in 2008.

Christina “Chris” Deutsch at the Terminal 2 Open House in 2008.

I first came to know Christina, “Chris,” as part of American Airlines’ VIP Special Services group and later as the Admiral’s Club Manager. Since 2008, after her retirement from American, she has been a part of the Airport Authority team, working to assist with the Terminal 2 Open House and later as a Lead Ambassador before becoming Guest Services Manager.

While Chris has served in many capacities on this airport since the mid-1980s, her lasting impact is that of a role model defining what we mean when we talk about providing world-class service, one of our top priorities.

She has touched the lives of many, ranging from politicians to the penniless traveler, and treated each with the same level of professionalism and courtesy. And she has imparted those values of respect and excellence to her team.

Chris also supported the success of the London flight, now in its 19th year. Not only did she greet the inbound and outbound flight every night for most of its operation, she could recite the names of companies and CEOs using the flight.

Chris has personally touched and made a difference in the lives of many thousands of people during her entire tenure at RDU. She earned the nickname of Saint Christina of Lost Travelers as she encouraged her team to go forth from behind the Information Desks and find someone needing help.

Finally, Chris Deutsch has been a portrait of leadership in action. She reminds us that leadership means being among the people you serve and among the team you support.

So it is with bittersweet emotion I write about Christina as she departs RDU to attend to other priorities in her life.  Thank you Chris for your service to RDU and to the world’s travelers who have passed through our airport.

Here’s to Chris – a first class act!

Do you have a memory of Chris? Please share with me below.

About Teresa Damiano

Teresa Damiano is the Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs for the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. She directs air service development, guest services, communications and customer service. And, she's not afraid to bribe an airline with her famous homemade lasagna.
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8 Responses to A First Class Departure

  1. Marti Dominick says:

    Working with Christina has been a real pleasure. She has always exhibited a high level of respect for our customers and has been a great role model for those of us who are Volunteer Ambassadors. I will surely miss her laughter, her wit, and her compassion.
    Marti Dominick

  2. Robb Teer says:

    Christina, I am sorry to hear that you are retiring. I have followed you in our airport for the last 15 years and certainly second everything said in the posting. You do exemplify customer service and it has made a difference at RDU. We can’t thank you enough.
    Robb Teer
    Authority Board
    City of Durham

  3. Joy Baird says:

    Good luck Christina! You made many customers happy at American Airlines! God speed! Continue to live a happy life!

  4. She helped me figure out how to get an alternate flight one evening when the London flight was cancelled and was always a friendly face in the club and airport. Enjoy your retirement! Hope they give you life long free flights!! Julie Barnes-Weise (formerly Oliver)

  5. Susan Longiotti says:

    We have known Chris forever it seems. She has always been very helpful to us in our domestic and international travels. Chris’ warm smile and postive attitude is reassuring (even when things do not run right when traveling). Cheers to you, Chris!

  6. Xavier Chakravarti says:

    Thank you Chris for your great service and help with some of our customers during the Midway/Midway Connection years in the 90s! Xavier Chakravarti

  7. Al Baldy says:

    Chris, you have been a great asset not only for American Airlines, but to the RDU community as a whole. We wish you the best in your retirement and hope that you’ll enjoy it to the fullest.

  8. Jim Risher says:

    I first met Chris in 1986 or 1987 when I moved to Raleigh to take over a company. My wife and I traveled with het on the inaugural RDU to Paris flight. She was always a consummate professional who went out of her way to ensure your flying experience was the best possible. During het tenure with American I flew several million international miles and she always went out of her way to ensure that all went well. She will be so missed. Chris, good luck on your retirement.

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