Pope’s American Airlines Crew Shares Experience

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DFW AIRPORT -- Many folks probably meet some interesting people at work, but one American Airlines DFW-based flight crew got the ride of their life.

“We traveled to Andrews Air Force Base where we picked up Pope Francis and flew him up to Kennedy Airport,” Captain George Griffin explained.  “We were there for a couple days. Flew him down to Philadelphia. We were there a day and took him back to Rome.”

Crew members had to keep it all a secret for almost a year.

“With the excitement and the joy, it was hard to contain myself,” flight attendant Jeff Gross said.

“My wife, of course, knew, but she couldn’t tell anybody and that was probably one of the more difficult things,” Griffin smiled.

In a picture shared by American Airlines, it looks as if a rainbow surrounding the aircraft.

“Everybody that touched this charter blessed it with a level of detail that was impeccable,” Gross said. “When he looks at you, he locks eyes with you, and it’s almost like he looks directly into your soul.  There’s such a calm and peaceful presence. I was a little starstruck. I thought to myself, ‘this isn’t really happening. I’m not really here. This isn’t possible.’”

“There were a lot of teams that American Airlines involved in the planning of this operation,” Griffin told NewsFix.

“Of the 100,000 people that are in American Airlines, I was the one that was asked to help set it up. And it was like, ‘This is an honor,'" IOC Tech Specialist Tom Howard beamed.  “I’m Catholic. I have a great respect and reverence for him and his office. I’m still on Cloud 9."

“It was an experience I will never forget for the rest of my life,” Griffin reminisced.