Captain Beth Powell

Flight Department DEI Programs, and Initiatives | American Airlines

Jamaican-born, Captain Beth Powell, recalls her mother’s dream for her three daughters to have a better life and education, and her dad’s attitude and positive outlook in life.

In the parish of St. Mary, Jamaica, where she was raised, Captain Powell broke that mold with the assistance of her parents. Her first step was completing high school at the age of 16, whilst also taking her first solo flight. She obtained her private pilot license at 17 and her commercial license at 18. She then graduated from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Aeronautics and a Minor in Aviation Safety. At 21, she was hired by American Eagle, eventually becoming the second black Female Captain at American Eagle Airlines on both the ATR42/72 and EMB.

In the year 2014, Beth achieved her goal and joined American Airlines as a First Officer on the B737. This move was a joyous achievement for both Powell and her late mother. Her mother inspired her to attain her goals and to dream big. This encouraged her to give back to others who were told their lives would be ordinary and stick to the status quo. In 2015, Powell started a scholarship to mentor children in aviation in honor of her mother.

Her message today is “Know what you want at a young age. You will discover this based on the activities and subjects that you are passionate about. Dream big and dream loud then set your goal. Your passion will propel you through your journey. And in the end”, the saying is true – “you will never feel you worked a day in your life because you are doing what you absolutely love.”

Powell understands the purpose of hard work and has graciously reaped the rewards. She stands here today an island girl with nothing, but a dream and has risen to American Airlines First Black Female Pilot Manager and their third Black female Captain.  

Because of her diverse background she was beyond fitting, and has lead the Flight Diversity Equity and Inclusion programs and Initiates since June 2020.

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