Despite knowing very little about their financial future before take-off, the staff were more than willing to work hard to make sure the passengers made it home on schedule. If that doesn’t show how charitable humans can be, I don’t know what does.
However, the passengers on board used the long journey from the States to organise a whip round of spare cash to donate to the staff in lieu of their lost wages when they landed back on British soil. I guess charity really does begin at home.
For those unaware, travel company Thomas Cook went into liquidation overnight on Sunday leaving roughly 150,000 Britons needing to get home from abroad and 21,000 staff unemployed.
Passenger Gary Bell was one of those on the last flights back from the States before total shutdown, telling Sky News:
“[We are] very lucky but we weren’t aware. It was only when we landed we realised they’d collapsed.
We checked in as normal, got on the plane, when we landed we realised, because we didn’t have a gate to go to.
I have sympathy for the staff on board, there was a collection for the staff. They were emotional.“
Similarly, Vegas passenger Stephanie Kaye talked of the steadfast resolve of the staff to continue with a business-as-usual attitude as they made the already arduous ten-hour flight for the last foreseeable time.
“One of the staff members made an announcement at the beginning of the journey to say they knew as much as we did, so please bear that in mind if you hear anything.
And she [the staff member] said, if you’re that way inclined, please say a little prayer for us and it got a bit emotional as everyone started clapping.
At the end, the pilot came over on the tannoy and said, ‘That’s the end of our dream.’
And he mentioned how staff wouldn’t be getting paid so he asked us to thank the rest of the crew.
Then, everyone clapped again and staff were in tears and thanking the passengers for making it a nice flight.“
Ms Kaye and her fellow passengers were keen to repay the staff’s dedication with any and all cash they had on their person, whether British sterling or American dollars. According to Tommy Laing, another passenger on the Vegas flight, the total sum of the whip round came to an impressive £5000.
Despite the tears, staff were able to find humour in the situation. In a video that has gone viral, one cabin crew member can be heard telling passengers ‘on holiday with someone they shouldn’t be’ that they should cover their faces with a newspaper as they wished the company good luck.
But Thomas Cook will have a lot to answer for over the coming days, as reports claim it’s not just Britain that will be damaged by the company’s downfall. The German government has also started to panic over an estimated 140,000 German nationals who are currently on holidays booked through five German subsidiaries of the Thomas Cook Group.
One such subsidiary, Condor, has had to petition the Bundestag for a bridging loan of €200 million to cover the damages brought on by Thomas Cook’s collapse. I mean they’ll need it if they do what Thomas Cook has promised to do, which is reimburse holidaymakers left stranded and out of coin on their foreign travels.
Having just myself been stranded in the slashing rain waiting for an hour-late bus, I can sympathise. But the difference of course is that the worst I’ll have had by the end of the day is a sniffle and some sodden trainers.
Images via Twitter, Sky, Getty
Max is an awkward Medievalist struggling with ever evolving technology. When not writing for The Hook, he can be found attending self-help classes for his decade-long addiction to KFC. His greatest achievements include getting blocked by Owen Jones on Twitter and completing the Metro quick crossword in just under twenty-seven hours.Follow