ORLANDO, Fla. — For Patricia Murphy, the start of her professional career wasn’t exactly cleared for takeoff.

“I remember walking on the airplane, you could hear a pin drop,” recalled Murphy, who was Delta Air Lines' first black flight attendant.

In 1966, Murphy attended a flight attendant school. She was the only black woman in her class of about 30. One month later, she was hired by Delta.

“The pilots weren’t too sure, but they were cordial," Murphy explained. "The passengers... Most of them weren’t too sure of me, either.”

For a majority of her career, her flights were a bit bumpy. Murphy can recall several instances of passengers telling her they did not want her to serve them because of the color of her skin. The hate didn’t ground Murphy — she persevered, flying the skies as a Delta flight attendant for over 30 years.

“I couldn’t run to Delta every time I was insulted or when someone did something to me that I really didn’t like," Murphy said. "I had to stand up, and I stood.”

Casey Grant, also a former Delta flight attendant, is the author of "Stars in The Sky," which tells the stories of the first African American flight attendants.

One of her favorite stories is from a different perspective of Murphy — she helped get the wheels off the ground for many to pursue their careers in the sky.

“In 1956, a brave young black lady named Patricia Banks Edmiston took all the airlines to court and sued them for discrimination," Grant said. "She won the case, and because of that, it is why women of color were hired by commercial airlines.”

Murphy made her final approach from the Delta skies in 2001.

Murphy says it wasn’t until the 1980s that passengers finally became comfortable with a black flight attendant. But in that time, she never once considered canceling her travel plans.

“I loved it too much," Murphy said, smiling. "Where else can you fly into this town or fly to anywhere in the world?”