Heartbreaking video is going viral of an emotional Virgin Australia flight attendant signing off what would later turn out to be her final flight.
New Zealand-based cabin supervisor Cassy Appleton posted the video on her Facebook page after Virgin Australia announced it was shutting down its bases in New Zealand and standing down 8000 workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Today I lost my wings,” Ms Appleton wrote on Facebook.
“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.
“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.
“One door closes another one opens!! “Aroha Atu, Aroha Mai xxx”
The video was filmed before the airline announced it was shutting its New Zealand bases. In it, Ms Appleton delivered what she didn’t realise at the time was her last on-board announcement.
“There’s every chance possible this could be our last operating flight, and most certainly is the last for the foreseeable future,” she said in the footage.
“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.”
Fighting back tears, the flight attendant directed a message to her colleagues.
“To my crew, words don’t come close to sharing the family bond that we all share,” she said.
“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.”
Wrapping up her speech, Ms Appleton tearfully added: “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.”
Passengers responded with a loud applause.
Virgin Australia shared Ms Appleton’s tribute on social media yesterday.
“Today has been a hard day for us all,” the company’s post read.
“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.”
Yesterday Virgin Australia announced it was cutting its domestic fleet to 90 per cent, with its budget carrier, Tigerair Australia, grounding all its domestic services immediately.
It also said it would suspend 8000 jobs, representing around eight per cent of the airline’s workforce.
Virgin Australia CEO and managing director Paul Scurrah said the decision was in response to the federal and state governments’ latest travel advice.
“The extraordinary steps we’ve taken have been in response to the federal and state governments latest advice,” he said.
“We are now facing what will be the biggest grounding of aircraft in this country’s history. From the end of this week, we will begin repositioning and grounding more than 125 aircraft in our fleet, suspending almost all our domestic and international flying until at least the middle of June.”
Qantas, which has also made dramatic cuts to its international and domestic services, said it was temporarily standing down 20,000 of its workers until at least the end of May.