A 59-year-old grandmother has finally got her Qantas wings after dreaming of being a flight attendant for about 40 years.
Jackie Cookson is one of the airline’s newest recruits having graduated on Monday and will be on her first flight to Los Angeles on Saturday.
The grandmother has been a travel agent, a receptionist on an oncology ward and a newspaper sales rep – and can now add flight attendant to her list.
Cookson who calls herself “crazy nana” has shared her journey on TikTok since her first interview with Qantas, through all the assessments and training, and to this week’s graduation.
In her very first video in January ahead of her first in-person interview with Qantas, which has been viewed more than half a million times, Cookson said people might think she was crazy to do it at her age but she was finally following her dreams.
Cookson, who is a grandmother-of-two, said she had an interview at another airline when she was 20 years old but never went as she ended up getting married.
“In my eyes then if you were married you couldn’t be cabin crew. How bloody stupid was that,” she said.
She got the job and relocated from Perth to Sydney for her training.
“Crazy nana is going to be a cabin crew, watch out!” she updated her followers.
Flash forward four months and Cookson stood proud in Qantas her uniform on Monday, certificate in hand.
“Can you believe it? Crazy nana’s gone and bloody done it, hasn’t she? I’ve passed, today I’ve graduated. I did it,” an ecstatic Cookson said.
“If I can do it, anyone else can do it. Follow your dreams. Don’t give up. Don’t be thinking ‘I’m too old’ or this or that. Look at me, I’ve got my wings.”
Cookson, who is originally from England but has been living in Australia for about 30 years, told news.com.au the older she got, she thought maybe she had missed her chance.
“After Covid I took a year off and travelled the world, went back to see my 91-year-old dad in Yorkshire, and I applied while I was on holiday,” she said.
“I haven’t studied for a long time, so it’s definitely been a challenge, but I put everything I’ve got into it and I’m thrilled to have gotten my wings.”
“I fly on my first flight to LA on Saturday. I’m nervous, like any first day on the job, but I know I’ll settle into it, but I’m mostly just really excited. I love people and I’m looking forward to working with our customers.”
This article originally appeared on New York Post