Precious cargo: Longtime flight attendant's ashes flown to brother in Wichita

Published: May. 13, 2020 at 9:25 PM CDT
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One of the few flights into Wichita's Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport Wednesday carried something special for a Kansas man: the ashes of his sister who worked as a Delta Air Lines flight attendant for more than 40 years.

Carol Barrett died last month from COVID-19. She was 73 years old.

Her brother, Mike and his wife, Lynn say Carol recently returned from a trip to Egypt before testing positive for COVID-19. Barrett died on April 16 in Pensacola, Florida.

"She had thousands of friends. Everyone loved her," Mike Barrett says says.

Mike says his sister would often volunteer to bring home military troops. It was one of her favorite activities, along with wearing pearls with jeans and going to church twice on Sundays.

Many called Carol "Gabby," because she loved to chat.

"She was a character," Mike says.

Delta knew how much Carol meant to so many, so they flew her ashes straight to her brother on a special flight accompanied by two of the airline's executives.

"You see them walking from the airplane with two boxes, and you think, 'this is really happening. She's really gone,''' Mike says.

At least in spirit, Carol was with her brother again at a near empty Wichita airport.

"It was an honor to know that Delta loved her that much," Mike says.

He says Carol's love of life makes it difficult to describe her. The memories will live on for the woman trading her Delta Airlines wings for a different pair.

"She loved her job. She really loved her job," Mike says. "She loved to travel."

Mike says he plans to bury Carol's ashes in California and West Virginia, allowing her to be with family in different parts of the country.

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