WE ARE THE PEOPLE OF AMERICAN AIRLINES
AA and AE News
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A well-traveled set of pilot's wings landed in new hands.
Joseph Weis, an American Airlines pilot, passed on his wings this month to a young passenger with Down syndrome during his final flight.
As Weis was retiring, Hezekiah "Ki" Alsedek, 2, was making his first trip with his mother, Sarah Tamar Klitenick, on the flight from Madrid to Miami on Oct. 2.
"When Captain Weis found out his last flight at American was Ki's first flight, he wanted to pass along his wings to a future generation," Ross Feinstein, spokesperson for American Airlines, told USA TODAY in a statement.
Weis, who began flying for American in March 1985, always enjoyed engaging with his passengers, Feinstein said.
During the flight, Klitenick and her son sat in the same row as Weis' wife. In the sky, Klitenick learned it was Weis' last flight, and there was a water salute scheduled when they landed. As a tradition for retiring pilots, water is blasted in an arc over an arriving or departing plane