17-Year-Old Is Now Flying As American Airlines’ First Flight Attendant With Special Needs


January 11, 2019

Photo: WIS 10 News 

UPDATE 8/9/19

Shannie recently had a life-saving surgery, but before the operation, American Airlines rolled out the red carpet to let her know she is loved and supported. See it here and if you’re watching this Shannie, we’re rooting for you!


17-year-old Shantell “Shannie” Pooser, who was born with a heart defect and a series of terminal airway defects, has spent a lot of her time flying back and forth between Denmark, South Carolina to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. As a result, she developed a love for flying and became inspired to become a flight attendant. 


“So far, we’ve been on over 57 (flights). That’s including the connecting flights, as well, too,” Shannie’s mother Deanna Miller-Berry told WIS 10 News. “She saw the flight attendant, and she was like, ‘Mommy, I want to be a flight attendant.'”

If it’s one thing that Shannie does best, it’s beat the odds.

Back in 2016, after having a major surgery that the doctors said would leave her in bad shape, Shannie “came out singing ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen,” CBS News reports Miller-Berry saying. “The surgeons were standing around like, ‘We’ve never had anybody come out of this type of surgery talking … this girl is singing ‘Let It Go’ in ICU.'”


Then on her 17th birthday, American Airlines helped make one of the top items on the teen’s bucket list come true by inducting Shannie, who has Down syndrome, as the airlines’ first flight attendant with special needs. Throwing her a birthday party on a Boeing jet, Shannie was gifted an official uniform and badge to wear every time she travels. 

Here’s a video of Shannie’s first day on the job. 


Although she can’t fly long flights often due to her condition, Shannie has worked in full uniform four times since her 17th birthday in October. Her mom hopes that when she turns 18, that she’ll be officially employed by American Airlines. 

With her can-do attitude and a mom that’s in the “business right now of fulfilling her bucket list,” we’re sure that Shannie will not only become an official flight attendant, but that she’ll live out every single dream on her list – which includes meeting the Obamas.  

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