Betty Ong
Betty Ann Ong born in San Francisco, was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 flight attendant
Flight attendant
Flight attendants or cabin crew are members of an aircrew employed by airlines primarily to ensure the safety and comfort of passengers aboard commercial flights, on select business jet aircraft, and on some military aircraft.-History:The role of a flight attendant derives from that of similar...

 onboard American Airlines Flight 11
American Airlines Flight 11
American Airlines Flight 11 was American Airlines' daily scheduled morning transcontinental flight from Logan International Airport, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles International Airport, in Los Angeles, California...

 when it was hijacked and flown deliberately into the North Tower of the World Trade Center
World Trade Center
The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...

 in New York City, as part of the September 11 attacks.

Betty Ong phone call

(Conversation between Betty Ong, another flight attendant aboard Flight 11, American Airlines operations/Raleigh reservations, Nydia Gonzalez (Operations Specialist on duty on September 11), and American Airlines emergency line)
Betty Ong: Um, we're sitting in the back, um, and the cockpit is not answering. Somebody is stabbed in business class-and um, I think there's mace-that we cant breathe-I don't know I think we're getting hijacked.

A.A. Oper. Center: Which flight are you on?

Betty Ong: Flight 12

A.A. Oper. Center: And what seat are you in?

(Brief Silence)

A.A. Oper. Center: Ma'am are you there?

Betty Ong: Yes.

A.A. Oper. Center: What, what, what seat are you in?

(Brief Silence)

A.A. Oper. Center: Ma'am, what seat are you in?

Betty Ong: Well, we just left Boston, we're up in the air. We're supposed to go to L.A., and the cockpit's not answering their phone.

A.A. Oper. Center: What seat are you sitting in? What's the number of your seat?

Betty Ong: Okay I'm in my jump-seat right now.

A.A. Oper. Center: Okay.

Betty Ong: At 3R.

A.A. Oper. Center: Okay, you're the flight attendant?

(Brief Silence)

A.A. Oper. Center: I'm sorry, did you say you're the flight attendant?

Betty Ong: Hello? You're gonna have to speak up. I can't hear you.

A.A. Oper. Center: Sure, what is your name?

Betty Ong: Okay, my name is Betty Ong, I'm #3 on Flight 11.

A.A. Oper. Center: Okay.

Betty Ong: And the cockpit is not answering their phone, and there's somebody stabbed in business class, and there's, we can't breathe in business class somebody's got mace or something.

A.A. Oper. Center: Can you describe the person that you said, somebody is what in business class?

Betty Ong: I'm, I'm sitting in the back somebody's coming back from business, can you hold on for one second they're coming back.

A.A. Oper. Center: Sure.

(Ong is heard talking to another flight attendant aboard American 11)

Betty Ong: They want to know who stabbed who, do you know?

Flight Attendant: I don't know, but Karen and Barbara got stabbed. (Karen and Barbara are the two first/business class flight attendants who got stabbed)

Betty Ong: Okay.

(Ong returns to conversation with A.A. Operations Center)

Betty Ong: Our, our #1 is, got stabbed, uh, our purser is stabbed. Um, nobody knows who stabbed who, and we can't even get up to business class right now because nobody can breathe. Uh, our #1 is, is, is, stabbed right now. And, and our #5 is stabbed. Our first class passengers are, uh, first class galley flight attendant and our purser have been stabbed. And we can't get to the cockpit... the, the door won't open.

(Brief Silence)

Betty Ong: Hello?

A.A. Oper. Center: Yeah, I'm taking it down, all the information. We're also, um, you know of course recording, the, um, at this point in time.

Nydia Gonzalez: This is operations, what flight number are we talking about?

A.A. Oper. Center: Flight 12.

Nydia Gonzalez: Flight 12, okay.

Betty Ong: No, we're on Flight 11 right now. This is Flight 11.

A.A. Oper. Center: It's Flight 11. I'm sorry Nydia.

Betty Ong: Boston to Los Angeles.

A.A. Oper. Center: Yes.

Betty Ong: Our #1 has been stabbed, and our #5 has been stabbed.

(Ong is heard talking to another flight attendant aboard American 11)

Betty: Can anybody get up to the cockpit? Can anybody get up to the cockpit?

Flight Attendant: No, we can't.

(Ong returns to conversation with A.A. Operations Center and Nydia Gonzalez)

Betty Ong: Okay, we can't even get up to the cockpit, we don't know who's up there.

A.A. Oper. Canter: Well if they were shrewd they would keep the door closed and...

(Ong doesn't hear this last comment)

Betty Ong: I'm sorry?

A.A. Oper. Center: Would they not maintain a sterile cockpit?

Betty Ong: I think the guys are up there, they might have gone there or jammed their way up there, or, or something. Nobody can call the cockpit, we can't even get inside.

(Brief Silence)

Betty Ong: Is anybody still there?

A.A. Oper. Center: Yes, we're still here.

Betty Ong: Okay, I'm staying on the line as well.

A.A. Oper. Center: Okay.

Nydia Gonzalez: Hi, who is this calling reservations? Is this one of the flight attendants? Who are you, hun?

A.A. Oper. Center: She gave her name as Betty Ong.

Nydia Gonzalez: Betty?

Betty Ong: Yeah, I'm #3. I'm #3 on this flight, and we're first...

Nydia Gonzalez: You're the #3 on this flight?

Betty Ong: Yes, and I have...

Nydia Gonzalez: And this is Flight 11? From where to where?

Betty Ong: Flight 11.

Nydia Gonzalez: Have you guys called anyone else?

Betty Ong: No. Uh, somebody's calling medical, and we can't get a doctor.

(American Airlines Emergency Line (identified as A.A. Em. Line) joins the call and talks to Gonzalez)

A.A. Em. Line: American Airlines Emergency Line please state your emergency.

Nydia Gonzalez: Hey, this is Nydia at American Airlines calling. I am monitoring a call in which Flight 11. The flight attendant is advising our reps that the pilot, everyone has been stabbed.

A.A. Em. Line: Flight 11?

Nydia Gonzalez: Yeah, they can't get into the cockpit. That's what I'm hearing.

A.A. Em. Line: Okay, who is this I'm talking to?

Nydia Gonzalez: Excuse me, this is Nydia at American Airlines Raleigh Reservations Center. I'm the operations specialist on duty.

A.A. Em. Line: Okay, I'm sorry what is your name again?

Nydia Gonzalez: Nydia Gonzalez, G-O-N-Z-A-L-E-Z.

A.A. Em. Line: Raleigh Reservations. Okay, now when you...

Nydia Gonzalez: I've got the flight attendant on the line, with one of our agents.

A.A. Em. Line: Okay, and she's calling how?

Nydia Gonzalez: Through reservations, I can go on the line and ask her questions.

A.A. Em. Line: Okay, and I'm assuming they've declared an emergency. Let me get ATC on the line, stand by.

Nydia Gonzalez: Have you been contacted by the cockpit yet? No, okay. Okay, I'm still on with security Betty, okay? Okay. You, you're doing a great job Betty, just stay calm. We are, absolutely.

A.A. Em. Line: Okay, we're contacting the flight crew now, we're also contacting ATC.

Nydia Gonzalez: Okay, it seems like the passengers in coach might not be aware of what's going on right now.

A.A. Em. Line: These two passengers, were they from first class?

Nydia Gonzalez: Uh, okay. Hold on.

Nydia Gonzalez: Hey Betty, do you know any information as far as the gents, the men that are in the cockpit with the pilots, were they from first class?

Betty Ong: They were sitting in 2A and B.

Nydia Gonzalez: They were sitting in 2A and B

A.A. Em. Line: Okay.

Nydia Gonzalez: They are in the cockpit with the pilots.

A.A. Em. Line: Who's helping them is there a doctor on board?

Nydia Gonzalez: Is there a doctor on board that's assisting you guys? You don't have any doctors on board. Okay. So you've gotten all the first class passengers out of first class?

A.A. Em. Line: Have the flight attendants taken everyone out of first class?

Nydia Gonzalez: Yeah, she's just saying that they have. They're in coach. What's going on honey?

Betty Ong: Okay, the aircraft is erratic again. Flying very erratically.

Nydia Gonzalez: She did say all the first class passengers have been moved back to coach, so first class, the cabin is empty. What's going on on your end?

A.A. Em. Line: Uh, we contacted ATC, they are going to handle this as a confirmed hijacking. So they're moving all the traffic out of this aircraft's way.

A.A. Em. Line: Okay

A.A. Em. Line: Uh, he turned his transponder off, so we don't have a definitive altitude for him. We're just going by, they seem to think that they have him on a primary radar. They seem to think he is descending.

Nydia Gonzalez: Okay.

A.A. Em. Line: Okay Nydia?

Nydia Gonzalez: Yes dear I'm here.

A.A. Em. Line: I have a dispatcher currently taking the amount of fuel on board.

Nydia Gonzalez: Uh huh.

A.A. Em. Line: And we're gonna run some profiles, to see exactly what his endurance is.

(Plane hits North Tower of World Trade Center)

Nydia Gonzalez: She doesn't have any idea who the stabbed passenger might be in first. Apparently, they might have spread something, so they're having a hard time breathing. What's going on Betty? Betty, talk to me. Betty, are you there? Betty? What? Do you think we lost her? Okay so we'll like keep the line open. We— I think we might have lost her.

A.A. Em. Line: Okay


Ong was born to Harry Ong, Sr., and Yee-gum Ong on February 5, 1956. She grew up in San Francisco's Chinatown and graduated from George Washington High School
George Washington High School (San Francisco)
George Washington High School is a public high school in Richmond District, San Francisco, California. The school is a part of the San Francisco Unified School District...

. Her family owned a grocery store on Jackson Street. Ong was the youngest of her surviving siblings: sisters, Cathie Ong Herrera, Gloria Ong Woo and brother Harry Ong.

Ong began her career as a flight attendant in 1987. Her professionalism and hard work later earned her the position of a purser, a head flight attendant.

On September 11, 2001, Ong assigned herself to Flight 11, so she could return to Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 and go on vacation to Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

 with her sister. During the hijacking, she called in to American Airlines' emergency line; she identified herself and alerted the supervisor that the aircraft had been hijacked
Aircraft hijacking
Aircraft hijacking is the unlawful seizure of an aircraft by an individual or a group. In most cases, the pilot is forced to fly according to the orders of the hijackers. Occasionally, however, the hijackers have flown the aircraft themselves, such as the September 11 attacks of 2001...

. Along with fellow flight attendant Amy Sweeney
Madeline Amy Sweeney
Madeline Amy Sweeney , known as Amy Sweeney, was an American flight attendant on board American Airlines Flight 11 which was hijacked and flown deliberately into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, as part of the September 11, 2001 attacks...

, she relayed the seat numbers of the hijackers. During her 23-minute call, she reported that none of the crew could open the cockpit
A cockpit or flight deck is the area, usually near the front of an aircraft, from which a pilot controls the aircraft. Most modern cockpits are enclosed, except on some small aircraft, and cockpits on large airliners are also physically separated from the cabin...

 door, two flight attendants and a passenger had been stabbed and one of the hijackers had sprayed Mace
Mace (spray)
Chemical Mace is a tear gas in the form of an aerosol spray which propels a lachrymatory agent mixed with a volatile solvent. It is sometimes used as a self-defense device...

 in the first class cabin.


On September 21, 2001, some 200 members of the Chinese American
Chinese American
Chinese Americans represent Americans of Chinese descent. Chinese Americans constitute one group of overseas Chinese and also a subgroup of East Asian Americans, which is further a subgroup of Asian Americans...

 community in San Francisco gathered in a small park to pay tribute to Ong. Mayor of San Francisco
Mayor of San Francisco
The Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco is the head of the executive branch of San Francisco's city and county government. The mayor has the duty to enforce city laws, and the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the legislative branch....

 Willie Brown
Willie Brown (politician)
Willie Lewis Brown, Jr. is an American politician of the Democratic Party. He served over 30 years in the California State Assembly, spending 15 years as its Speaker, and afterward served as the 41st mayor of San Francisco, the first African American to do so...

, who was present, gave a proclamation honoring the people who died in the tragedy and called September 21 "Betty Ong Day".

Ong is also memorialized on Gold Mountain, a mural dedicated to Chinese contributions to American history on Romolo Place in North Beach, a street where she used to skateboard and play as a child, and a foundation named in her honor. In 2011, the recreation center
Community centre
Community centres or community centers or jumping recreation centers are public locations where members of a community tend to gather for group activities, social support, public information, and other purposes. They may sometimes be open for the whole community or for a specialised group within...

 in San Francisco's Chinatown where she had played as a child was renamed in her honor.

Betty Ong was played by Jean Yoon
Jean Yoon
Jean Yoon is a Canadian actress, poet and playwright, based in Toronto.Her best-known role internationally was flight attendant Betty Ong in The Path to 9/11. Her other film and television roles have included A Brighter Moon, Waking the Dead, Forget Me Never, Dragon Boys, In the Company of Spies...

 in the miniseries
A miniseries , in a serial storytelling medium, is a television show production which tells a story in a limited number of episodes. The exact number is open to interpretation; however, they are usually limited to fewer than a whole season. The term "miniseries" is generally a North American term...

 The Path to 9/11
The Path to 9/11
The Path to 9/11 was a two-part miniseries that aired in the United States on ABC television from September 10 – 11, 2006, and also in other countries. The film dramatizes the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York City and the events leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks.The film...


At the National 9/11 Memorial, Ong is memorialized at the North Pool, on Panel N-74.

External links

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