Retirement is supposed to be a happy time, but Lucie Desmond expects there will be tears when her paperwork comes through.
Desmond, 62, has been a flight attendant for 36 years, most recently on the American Airlines route between Phoenix and London. But after repeated leaves forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, she has put in to retire much earlier than she had planned.
“I could have done that till I was 70,” Desmond says. “Then COVID hit.”Her friends who have already retired early from the airline went through the same anguish. “They cried. They literally cried,” says Desmond. “It hasn’t honestly sunk in yet. It’s very sad.
“There are also financial considerations. Although she’ll get a payout from the airline, “I won’t be getting my salary, so I have to dip into my savings.” She hasn’t yet decided when to claim Social Security, since monthly benefits are lower for people who claim them before they reach the program’s full retirement age.