Karen Martin

Karen Martin
American Flight 11

They Liked Her Style


Karen Martin's friends say she was not just a Type A personality, she was a Type A+. Competitive. Organized. In charge. On the stick to a fault.

She did her Christmas shopping during the summer, had it all wrapped up and out of the way by first frost.

When water skiing, she would dip and slip a little lower than most people. On snow, she always took the steeper, riskier route down. Golfing? She hit from the men's tee.

Back in the 1980's, Ms. Martin, from Danvers, Mass., worked for a while as a bartender at the Hard Rock Cafe in Boston — a Type A+ bartender. She set up her glasses and bottles just so, kept a precise inventory of everything and ragged on all the other bartenders to do likewise. They grumbled. But it was good-natured grumbling because at heart they liked Karen Martin's style. They went along.

In 1989, Ms. Martin became an American Airlines flight attendant and, jumping up onto a chair, proclaimed to her friends: "There is now something special in the air." She liked to work the long, hard hauls, especially the coast-to-coast "transcons."

On Sept. 11, she was the head attendant on American Flight 11, bound out of Boston for Los Angeles. She was 40 years old.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 9, 2001.




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