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Five-Year-Old Becomes Honorary Allegiant Flight Attendant En Route to Disney



Allegiant passengers got a pleasant surprise on a flight from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Orlando, Florida on Monday when they were treated to in-flight snacks by Make-A-Wish kid Stephen “S.J.” Awwad.

The five-year-old’s wish was to spend a week with his family at Walt Disney World Resort and assisting the flight crew by passing out snack-packs of pretzels en route was his “wish enhancement,” Allegiant said.

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Allegiant was more than happy to meet S.J.’s uncommon request.

S.J. was named an honorary Allegiant flight attendant, receiving a kid-sized version of the crew uniform and his very own customized wings pin with his nickname and the words “flight attendant” etched in the metal.

“Many of the kids we fly to their wish destinations are traveling to Florida,” Hilarie Grey, Allegiant’s managing director of corporate communications, said in a statement. “But this is the first time a Wish kid has asked to serve snacks to passengers in flight. We found out from Make-A-Wish that S.J. loves anything to do with flying, so we not only wanted to say ‘yes,’ but aimed to make the experience extra special.”

According to, S.J. was born with 10 different congenital heart defects and his organs are flipped backward inside of his body, meaning that he will require a heart transplant one day.

Allegiant has partnered with Make-A-Wish since 2012 and is currently recognized as a Wish Champion for making $1 million in annual contributions.

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TSA Confirms First Employee Death Related to Coronavirus



The Transportation Security Administration announced Friday that a federal employee working at a New Jersey airport died from complications associated with coronavirus, marking the agency’s first COVID-19-related death.

According to the official TSA website, 39-year-old Francis “Frank” Boccabella III died on April 2 after 16 years with the organization. He was an Explosive Detection Canine Handler at Newark Liberty International Airport.

A TSA spokesperson sent heartfelt condolences to Boccabella’s wife, extended family, colleagues and friends. “His passing represents a personal loss to all of us who knew him and cherished both his friendship and professionalism,” the statement read.

Boccabella joined the TSA in 2004 at John F. Kennedy International Airport before becoming a Compliance Inspector at the Newark airport and finally settling into his role as an Explosive Detection Canine Handler.

Boccabella worked with a six-year-old German Short-haired Pointer named Bullet to screen hundreds of thousands of passengers, keeping them and the transportation network safe.

In recent weeks, the TSA received updated protocols regarding the spread of coronavirus, including the decision to allow employees to wear N95 masks and eye protection, as well as mandatory nitrile gloves.

The TSA also recently announced a new website to provide travelers with updated airport regulations and keep track of confirmed cases of coronavirus among employees.

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