Take a ride with Airman Transportation
By Jillian Chandler
Photo by Mandi Ann Photography
It was 1994 when a new luxury private transportation company introduced itself to Federal Way and the surrounding areas. Creating luxurious, and memorable, experiences for their clients since day one, Airman Transportation is sure to meet, and exceed, their passengers’ expectations.
This luxury private transportation company specializes in airport transportation (SeaTac, Boeing Field, Paine Field) as well as all other “point A to point B” transfer requests. From date nights, wine tours and city tours, concert and cruise ship transportation, to meetings, doctor’s appointments and all hourly chauffeured requests, Airman Transportation can provide services for one to 30 passengers. Offering smaller luxury black sedans (one to four passengers), luxury black SUVs (one to seven passengers) and 10-passenger private shuttle-type vans, all of the services they provide are door to door (note, this is not a ride-share service).
For those younger passengers, the company provides car seats of all sizes and are well-versed in proper installation to ensure the safety of your loved one, from infant to pre-teen. And there are no additional fees.
Sawsan Alhadeethy and daughter Leela Ward are the proud owners of this small, family run, woman and minority owned business. Providing excellent customer service for more than two decades, this is not your average ride-share services. “We are very different,” affirms Leela. “Our rates are a little higher, but we provide a luxury service.” All of their drivers are thoroughly background checked by a third party chosen by the state and go through driver training, annual physicals and submit to random drug and alcohol tests throughout the year—all done by a third party. In addition, all drivers carry chauffeur licenses and are permitted and licensed properly to pick up / drop off at all Port locations.
“We take care of our customers like they are our friends—and most of them turn into friends,” says Leela.
Airman Transportation would not be the success it is today if it were not for its visionary, Leela’s father, Amir Alhadeethy. “He taught me how to provide the level of customer service that is standard for us today,” she shares. “He was hard working and never gave up, and I always think about that and try to be like him in that regard when times get hard (COVID). We wouldn’t be where we are without him and the foundation he laid for us.”
The story behind Airman Transportation is that of a family fulfilling their American dream. Amir had served in the Iraqi Air Force and later became a commercial airline captain. He and his wife Sawsan fled their home country to come to the U.S. as political refugees. The couple had no money when they arrived. “My father started out as a taxi driver, and once he accumulated enough taxis, he sold them and started Airman Transportation,” shares Leela. “I always looked up to my parents because they worked from the ground up to make a better life for us. They worked well together and were very proud of the service they provided.
“To this day, our customers still talk about my parents. I am the only child, so when my father passed away and my mother retired, it fell upon me to take over—and I couldn’t be happier to do it.”
Leela’s mother retired from the business in 2019, which was bittersweet, as many of her loyal customers over the years had become so much more to her—they had become friends. “The fact that so many people showed up to say goodbye to her is a testament to how great her services were,” smiles Leela. “She left a long-lasting impression on so many people, and I only hope to do the same.”
Since taking the helm at Airman Transportation, Leela has enjoyed the challenge that comes with trying to grow the business. “It has been so fun adding my own touch to it and watching it flourish. My favorite part is driving and meeting our customers—I try to be the first driver for our new customers so I can get to know them, tell them our story and make them comfortable with us,” affirms Leela.
“We have a fabulous reputation online (Yelp, Facebook, Google, etc.). Seeing new 5-star reviews posted about our service is the best part of it all."
If you’re looking to sit back and relax in luxury and style to and from your next destination, let Leela and Airman Transportation take care of you.
Federal Way, Washington 98003