Hostie’s emotional in-flight message
THE world reacted with shock and fury when Thomas Cook collapsed, stranding thousands around the world, but there were few places where the true heartbreak of the situation was felt as deeply as this plane cabin.
As passengers on an overnight Thomas Cook flight from Cancun to Manchester woke to the news the 179-year-old travel company had gone bust, a flight attendant got on the in-flight PA system to deliver a devastating message as the plane made its last ever descent into the UK.
The emotional scene was captured on video by one of the passengers.
With his voice cracking, the flight attendant begins by apologising for the delay in boarding the aircraft in Cancun.
"As some of you may be aware, you may have switched your phones on this morning …" he tells passengers, before becoming too emotional to continue.
"Come on, come on!" passengers call out in encouragement as the whole cabin breaks out in supportive applause.
The flight attendant takes a moment before continuing his announcement.
"I'd just like to take this opportunity to thank all the crew on board for operating in such a professional manner, all the way back to the UK, getting you all back here safe and sound," he says.
"We do have many friends, colleagues, throughout the business today and we're sure you'll appreciate …
"We'd just like to say thank you to those customers who've flown with us for many years, those customers who've flown with us for the first time. We do hope you've enjoyed your flight with Thomas Cook, and you've been the last people to be on this aircraft. So please have a safe journey onwards. Thank you."
As another round of applause rings out in the cabin, the pilot then gets on the PA system to echo the flight attendant's message.
He says his colleagues at Thomas Cook had been "fantastic people to work with".
"It's been a pleasure for 25 years now, for me," the pilot says. "Thank you very much, crew."
The flight from Cancun to Manchester was one of the final flights for the airline operation of Thomas Cook, which announced yesterday it was going into compulsory liquidation after failing to secure an extra $368 million demanded by its lenders over the weekend.
The shock collapse has left 600,000 tourists stranded overseas and about 22,000 staff without jobs.
The company, which at 179 years old is one of the world's oldest travel providers, ran airlines, cruises, hotels, resorts and travel packages for 19 million customers a year in 16 countries.
The British government is now scrambling to bring home Thomas Cook customers from around the world, with holiday-makers describing chaos and "carnage" from Spain to New York.