A flight attendant dies, and colleagues are ‘very much on edge’

Paul Frishkorn, a longtime union representative and Philadelphia-based flight attendant for American Airlines, died this week, the airline confirmed Wednesday in a statement to CNN.

Authorities in Pennsylvania have yet to release a cause of death. But in the voicemail greeting on his phone, Frishkorn said he was “very ill” and awaiting results of a test for Covid-19.

“He was amazing, and totally selfless, and just a … good soldier who never asked for any recognition, other than to make sure people were taken care of,” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, told CNN in a phone interview, her voice breaking with emotion.

Frishkorn was in his 60s. He had twice been named one of American’s Flight Service Champions for excellent customer service. “Our hearts go out to Paul’s family and friends, many of whom work for American,” the airline said. “We are working directly with Paul’s family to ensure they are cared for during this extraordinarily difficult time.”

CNN was unable to reach any of Frishkorn’s relatives.

About 119,000 Americans work as flight attendants, according to a 2018 estimate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The coronavirus pandemic has placed them in the same dilemma as millions of other workers: Go to work and risk getting severely ill, or stay home and worry about your paycheck.

“They’re right there exposed on the front lines,” said Lori Bassani, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, a union representing…

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