Tess Teasley and Zach Triplett

Class of 2002 and 2010 Written by Monica Hoel

If you talk with Tess Teasley or Zach Triplett, you’ll hear the same thing about their jobs: it is difficult, the hours are crazy, you have to be patient about working your way up the ladder – and neither would trade a minute of their hard work.


Tess is a pilot for GoJet, and Zach is a flight attendant for Delta. While the two haven’t met yet, they answer questions about their job with a very similar level of enthusiasm.

 Zach is now a Flight Attendant and Instructor in the In-Flight Service Learning Department at Delta Air Lines, and his primary job is teaching in the flight attendant training center in Atlanta. But he also works as a flight attendant approximately 6-8 days per month. In the training center he teaches a requalification course that all 20,000 Delta flight attendants are required to attend once per year, and he teaches the 7.5 week long initial class for new flight attendants.

Zach remembers the moment when he knew he loved his job.  He had been waiting on standby in case he needed to fill in for someone at the last minute. He got a call, and instead of sitting in an airport for 4 hours, he was suddenly whisking his way to Rome. “I spent the entire next day exploring the city. That evening, I sat by myself having a glass of wine and watching the sunset over the Tiber River. It was at this point I realized I’m extremely fortunate to have the job I have, and to love what I do!”

But getting to this point isn’t easy, and Zach emphasizes the need for commitment. “As a junior airline crew member (flight attendant or pilot), you are at the bottom of the seniority list. You have to be willing to work long, irregular hours, and be prepared to work weekends and holidays for the first few years you are doing the job. In my opinion, the benefits FAR outweigh the cons! We may have to work holidays, but on our off days we spend time exploring the world!”

Tess says much the same of her work, as well. Tess is a First Officer at GoJet airlines, and is second in command on a CRJ700 Jet for Delta Connection.  She hasn’t gotten to this status without a lot of hours in the air and on the ground, but her enthusiasm for the work is palpable. If you ask her about what she would say to anyone considering this career path, she says, “Do it! Go to the nearest airport and take an introductory flight lesson right now!”

She goes on to explain that she was hooked on flying at the end of her very first flight, but that was just the beginning of a long road that included hard work, study, hours of practice, lessons, and networking. “Networking is key. Meet anyone you can. Join pilot groups and organizations.”

Tess says she can’t point to one particular moment when she knew she loved her job, but her description of her of her work explains why she has been so willing to put in the long difficult hours to get where she is today. “I am reminded everyday how much I love my job. Every time I take the runway, advance the thrust levers and feel the powerful engines spool up, barrel down the runway hitting about 140 mph, pull back on the yoke and launch into the air, I am reminded how amazing my job is. Being able to see New York City all lit up on a clear crisp night is simply breathtaking. I never tire of looking out the window seeing amazing sunrises and sunsets. It is always an amazing view. Playing among the ever-changing clouds, seeing the snow-covered mountains in Yellowstone, coming into LaGuardia on a windy, bumpy night, having to work the plane all the way down and making a smooth landing, seeing loved ones reunited at airports, traveling and exploring many cities- I truly have a very amazing job that I love.”

Tess and Zach both say it’s a great time to consider a career in their respective fields. Zach says Delta is looking to hire around 2,000 new flight attendants next year, and Tess says there is going to be a big need for pilots in the coming year. And honestly, when have you recently heard this much enthusiasm about work?


Tess gets to meet a lot of interesting people in her work. Here she is meeting the music icon Meatloaf! Tess Teasley recently was the pilot when rocker Meatloaf was on the jet!


Zach Triplett poses with 747


Zach recently got to work on a 747 and he had a little fun with the experience!

  • Tess Teasley in the cockpit of a jet: Zach Triplett traveling the world.