Airline Workers Document Last Days Before Being Furloughed
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many industries, including the airline industry have furloughed workers
Thousands of employees from various airlines have been furloughed this month due to the COVID-19 pandemic — a heartbreaking situation that has been life-changing for many.
On Oct. 1, more than 32,00 American Airlines and United Airlines employees were furloughed after U.S. lawmakers failed to pass a COVID relief package that would have provided additional federal aid for airlines, who, alongside the rest of the travel industry, have been hit hard by the crisis, according to USA Today.
Several of these workers have taken to social media to share the impact that the recent cuts have had on them and their co-workers, documenting their emotional last days on the job and sharing them on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and more.
PEOPLE rounded up some of the most moving clips, above — the majority of which are from flight attendants working their final flights home.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to share some final words with you all before we part ways,” American Airlines flight attendant Kirsten Hamik begins a TikTok video which has since garnered more than 6.9 million views.
“As we all know, COVID-19 has turned the world upside down this year. I’m sure every one of you has been affected in some way,” she said to passengers over the intercom, noting that the “entire crew working this flight” were among of the 8,099 American Airlines flight attendants furloughed, and this would be their “final flight.”
“We would like to thank each and every one of you all,” Hamik continued. “Every single day I witness these tiny little human miracles. Strangers helping one another, sharing stories and photos of loved ones they are on their way to visit. Comforting each other when turbulence gets a little too rough. Playing peek-a-boo with a baby sat in the row ahead.”
“There are many things that make this job great, but the main reason is because of you, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you,” she tells her passengers.
Raymond Dias, another American Airlines flight attendant, shared a video to Twitter of himself tearing up as he packed his bags for his final flight to Chicago, explaining, “Once I get to Chicago, I turn all of my things in and then we’ll see what happens.”
Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty American Airlines
“I’m so afraid right now and my heart is hurting,” he captioned the video, asking lawmakers to extend the Payroll Support Program to help airlines.
“I’m a flight attendant who just got denied a job at McDonald’s,” Dias wrote in an earlier Tweet. “WE NEED HELP NOW!!!!!!!”
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PEOPLE previously shared the heartbreaking goodbye story of American Airlines flight attendant Breaunna Ross, 29, who gave an emotional sign-off to passengers during her final flight from Jacksonville, Florida, to Dallas.
The video of her speech, which she posted to Facebook on Sept. 27, has received more than 1,600 likes.
"As all of you know the airline industry has been impacted greatly by this global pandemic. Our routes in flying have been significantly reduced resulting in our company having an overage in staff," she began her speech, which she delivered over an intercom while wearing a mask.
Courtesy Breaunna Ross
"For myself and one other crew member on our flight today, this means we'll be furloughed Oct. 1, and unfortunately, this is my last working flight before that day comes," she explained. "I will never forget seeing your faces today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the kindness shown on today's flight."
Ross said that her job was "an escape" for her after she was unhappy with her first job out of college.
"[This] was a job that awarded me many opportunities. A job that I fell in love with, I have been to places I never thought I’d have the opportunity to go and places I never knew existed. I’ve met people from all walks of life and I’ve made friendships that will last the rest of my life," she said, holding back tears.
"To my family at American Airlines, thank you for taking a chance on me two-and-a-half short years ago," she continued. "Thank you for giving me the opportunity to see this big world. To my amazing crew, I wish each of you the best of luck. We were told in training to be like palm trees, and this is the perfect example: We may bend, but we never break."
Watch the full video above to see more emotional videos, along with some heartwarming stories of hope.
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