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A Thomas Cook pilot admitted he 'cried like a baby' after flying his last ever flight for the recently collapsed airline.
David Dosoudil, 42, flew from Orlando to Glasgow on Sunday, suspected that the flight might be his last for Thomas Cook - he was even unsure if he would be allowed to take off beforehand as the travel firm struggled in the run up to its collapse.
However, once in the air, David, who has worked at Thomas Cook for 11 years, tried to reassure the cabin crew and passengers.
In a moving post on Facebook the pilot described his last journey, writing: "The saying goes, that a burden shared is a burden halved. I think there's a great truth in that.
"So, here is my story of the last day of Thomas Cook, 23 September 2019, in command of one of the last three airborne fights into UK. The best company I've ever known and quite possibly ever had a pleasure to be part of."
He went on to say it was 'an unusually quiet layover in Orlando,' before describing the staff sharing a meal where they 'laughed, moaned and worried together'.
They arrived at the airport the next day where 'everything was so painfully normal and ordinary' - even down to parting with agents and engineers with the usual handshakes and promises to 'see you in a few weeks'.
However, David says behind the 'normal' front, people appeared to be worried.
He continued: "You kind of know and see it at people's faces. The uncertainty and worries, checking their phones and looking for news. So many questions and no answers. Captains, they surely have answers for everything. And I thought if there's ever a moment to stand up in front of everybody and reassure in person, this is probably it.
"So, I stood there, in front of 304 people and ten of my crew, struggling with the intercom headset and trying to put into words what was on my mind. I tried to smile and joke and reassure everyone we're still a company, we love our job and above all we're professionals to a core and for us all, it's just another day in the office and business as usual.
"I knew they're great team, even though I met most of them for the first time in my life. They're Thomas Cook crew after all. I don't really remember what I said in my eastern European accent and if it made any sense to mostly Scottish audience.
"I was emotional and I was probably crap at hiding it. All I remember were the people's faces, mixes of smiles and sadness and misty eyes all around, nodding heads and the clapping at the end of it. So maybe, just maybe, it made something better."
Once in the air, David described it as like being in a 'strange bubble' with no phones or Internet so no way of finding out what was happening to the company.
David landed the plane in Glasgow just before dawn - still unsure of his future.
"We shut down, completed checklists and I've done my last welcome home PA," David wrote. "Steps attached, doors opened, and passengers disembarked.
"Only then I stood up, opened flight deck door and saw the crying crew with phones in their hands in the galley.
"Nathan, our engineer, walked in. 'It's over mate.'"
Describing the support he felt immediately after the sad news, he said: "It's been amazing with all the support from our passengers, airport staff and just about anyone we've met.
"I wore my uniform proud even though everyone felt sorry for us all. It's been heart breaking and f****** sad walking into the crew room, with our equipment blocked by liquidator's security staff. Seeing our impounded aeroplanes on the tarmac.
"I felt sick reading emails and news stories. But we supported each other, even laughed, talked and talked, met all others we could and then parted ways.
"It was only when I got to my hotel room, strangely still booked and paid for, it dawned on me. The absolute best company in travel is no more. It's when you realise that it's not a job you lose. It's the hobby, career, fun, laughter, friends and part of your family you lose with it.
"It was then, locked in my room, with the responsibility lifted off my shoulders, I started crying like a f****** baby.
"I'm no Captain anymore. The wings and stripes have no meaning. For the first time in my life, 42 years old, I'm officially unemployed."
Featured Image Credit: David Dosoudil/LinkedIn
Topics: UK News
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