A New Zealand-based Virgin Australia flight attendant made a tearful farewell in an onboard announcement on her final flight.
In a statement last week the airline said it was looking to close its New Zealand crew bases amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, Air New Zealand has cut 95 per cent of international flights.
Cassy Appleton posted a moving entry on her Facebook page with a video of the announcement she made as the plane she was working on landed in Dunedin. It turned out to be her last announcement.
Today has been a hard day for us all. We truly believe it is our people that make a difference. Cassy, one of our New Zealand based Cabin Supervisors, put into words what many of us haven't been able to today. Kia kaha to all our Kiwi #VirginFamily ❤️💜 pic.twitter.com/difc6IWj9G— Virgin Australia (@VirginAustralia) March 25, 2020
"Today I lost my wings," she started.
"Today we received confirmation that Virgin are shutting down our NZ bases. Emotions are indescribable.
"Having this opportunity was the best thing that happened to my life and to say I'm beyond grateful is an understatement. My heart is breaking for us all today," Appleton wrote.
"I've achieved soo much in this role... Whilst I'm hurting for my loss I'm also counting my lucky stars to have been so blessed with this incredible opportunity. Signing off one last time.
In her onboard announcement, she told the passengers there was every chance the flight would be the crew's last.
She thanks the guests for making the crew's work so enjoyable. As she wishes them the best, the emotion starts to creep in.
Appleton begins with the usual welcome, before explaining she has a bit of a "lengthy speech" asking passengers to bear with her.
"There's every chance possible this could be our last operating flight, and most certainly is the last for the foreseeable future. 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."
Appleton then explains how thankful she is to Virgin's loyal guests, wishing them "all the best during these testing times.
Holding back tears, Appleton then thanks her workmates. "To my crew, words don't come close to sharing the family bond that we all share. The friendships, hardships, laughter and tears.
"It's remarkable how we've all banded together during this chaos, and I'm so proud of how you continue to hold your heads high." In tears, Appleton then ends "tough times don't last, tough people do - we're all in this together…. we truly hope to see you in the sky again soon. Kia kaha."
The plane then bursts into applause.
The New Zealand-based Virgin Australia crew operate trans-Tasman services, with around 200 pilots and more than 300 cabin crew. The final number of redundancies is uncertain, as potential redeployments are still being finalised.