The famous Annie Walton, United Airlines’ rock star in Sydney, is the latest COVID-19 job casualty. While Annie herself is just fine, her position has been eliminated due to the pandemic. That’s reason for all of us to mourn.
United Airlines Sydney Legend Annie Walton Retires
Only one United airport agent has a dedicated thread on Flyertalk. Annie (and I call her Annie instead of Walton because she would have insisted upon it) does. First started 2008, the thread now spans 38 pages and is titled, “Annie is rock star.” Pictures and anecdotes relate time after time Annie has gone the extra mile for her passengers over the years. A key to her success? A photographic memory. She doesn’t forget a face and has reportedly recalled names even a decade later. But there’s so much more to her story than a good memory.
Here’s one memorable example and a great chance to meet Annie if you are not familiar with her:
I’m sad that I never met Annie. You’ll see my posts in that Flyertalk thread as well, going back to 2009. I’ve done four United trips to Sydney over the years and just happened to depart or arrive on her days off, most recently late last year.
Her kindness is displayed toward everyone…she doesn’t have an off-day. Here’s a cute story about an incident that occurred in 2012. A couple from Texas ran into a flight cancellation. With a thick drawl, the woman said, “Annie, you’ve got to get Bob on the plane because he’s got to go to a lunch.” Annie was curious about how a lunch could be so important, but got him home. A few days later she saw him on TV: blasting off on a rocket from Cape Canaveral. It wasn’t a lunch he had to get back for…it was a launch.
Dear United, my understanding is that she didn’t want to retire…that she was made redundant along with most of United’s staff in Sydney due to COVID-19. A colleague of Annie tells Live and Let’s Fly she agreed to a voluntary severance package. Whatever the case, what a sad day. For the good of the company and the good of all United travelers through Sydney, I hope United can find a way to bring her back.
Annie, you will be missed!
Have you experienced the famous Annie before?