Flight attendants faced months of new stresses during the pandemic, from worrying about their own safety to enforcing new mask rules onboard. Then, they were furloughed en masse. A few took the opportunity on final flights to give a proper goodbye to the passengers, either over the plane intercom or social media.
Here are a few of their meaningful farewells.
‘Every single day I witness these tiny little human miracles.’
In October, Kirsten Hamik, a member of cabin crew for American Airlines, posted her final flight P.A. in three parts on her TikTok account.
“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. And unfortunately, the airline industry has been impacted greatly,” she says to the passengers on board. “Due to these circumstances, American Airlines has been forced to furlough 8,099 flight attendants. The entire crew working this flight is part of that number, and this is our final flight.”
Hamik’s videos have since garnered more than 11 million views.
‘Until I see you guys in the friendly skies again, please take care of yourself and your health.’
Breaunna Ross cried as she ironed her uniform for the trip from Jacksonville, Fla., to her home in Dallas on Sept. 27. “Even as I was walking to the gate that day I was tearing up,” Ross says. “It’s a chapter that closed, and not by me.”
As the flight began its descent into Texas, Ross, now in aesthetician school, made a tearful last announcement, sharing that it was the end of her career as a flight attendant and thanking all those on board. The passengers responded with applause, and nearly everyone stopped to share kind words with Ross as they deplaned. One passenger had even made a donation to Make-A-Wish in Ross’s honor; she and Ross have kept in touch by phone since.
It has never been a more stressful time to be a flight attendant, and Ross hopes travelers will keep that in mind as they continue to fly through the pandemic. “Just be kind and understanding with people right now with everything going on,” she says.
‘Tough times don’t last; tough people do.’
In March, when Virgin Australia announced it was shutting down its New Zealand bases, flight attendant Cassy Appleton posted a tearful onboard announcement on her Facebook page following the news.
“There’s every chance possible this could be our last operating flight, and most certainly is the last for the foreseeable future,” Appleton says. “As crew we’ve called the skies our home for so long; it’s a little surreal knowing we’ve come back to Earth this one last time."
“Remember that tough times don’t last; tough people do. We’re all in this together,” she says in the video.
She concludes: “We truly hope to see you in the sky again soon. Kia kaha.”
‘I hope when I see you again, it’s under better circumstances.’
Normally a social media page full of onboard embarrassments, Passenger Shaming shared a moving onboard announcement from United Airlines flight attendant, Kevin Gieseke, saying thank you.
View this post on Instagram
The heartbreaking, last flight prior to this United crew losing their jobs was captured on video by a passenger. This FA is one of 16,400 @united employees who will be furloughed or laid off within the next few days. The United furloughs include 6,920 flight attendants, 2,850 pilots and more than 4,000 operations staff & technicians. Roughly 1,400 employees in management roles will also be laid off. American Airlines will furlough 17,500 workers on Oct.1, including 8,100 flight attendants and 1,600 pilots. What a sad, yet sincere and loving message from a @united flight attendant who is obviously passionate about his job and passengers. We are sending our love to all affected, and hope to see travel back to “normal” soon & better than ever. As a former flight attendant myself, I’ve got your back. I know it’s not much, but I will do all I can to help get the word out. ❤️✈️🙏🏼
“I just wanted to say although it doesn’t seem like it, it has sincerely been a pleasure to fly the friendly skies with you over the last few years,” says Gieseke, who was with the United for four years.
Gieseke thanks passengers for choosing United, as it has given him his job, which he describes as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He asks passengers to choose United for their future travel “so we can come back.”
“I hope when I see you again, it’s under better circumstances,” he concludes.
‘I turn in all of my things, and then we’ll see what happens.’
On Sept. 30, Raymond Dias packed up a backpack and made his way to the airport for one last trip to the Dominican Republic. Dias, who had only been an American Airlines flight attendant for a few months, posted his emotional final thoughts on social media.
The video got the attention of his friends and family who didn’t realize how dire the situation was for flight attendants.
“On the flight back from Miami to Chicago, I just kind of like I broke down,” he says. “It sucked overall not being able to think I have my job at the end of it."
Dias hopes to return to his job as soon as they’ll have him back.
“I love the job more than anything. I felt like I lost my purpose, it kind of just got thrown out the window with me,” he says. “But once they call us back, whatever job I’m doing at the moment, I’m going to be like, I’m going back to my dream job.”