Glasgow & West Scotland

Scots passenger organises whip-round for Thomas Cook crew

Ashleigh MacLennan (left) and her family Image copyright Ashleigh MacLennan
Image caption Ashleigh MacLennan (left) was flying home from a family wedding in Las Vegas

A passenger organised a whip-round for cabin crew after finding out they had lost their jobs while in the air.

Ashleigh MacLennan, from Glasgow, was onboard one of the last Thomas Cook flights when news came through that the tour operator had gone bust.

She said it was "heartbreaking" to see the crew find out mid-flight that their jobs had gone and wanted to do something kind for them.

Two pillow cases "full of notes" were handed over after the collection.

The firm's collapse - in the early hours of Monday - triggered the biggest peacetime repatriation, which will bring 150,000 British holidaymakers home in a flight programme costing £100m.

The tour operator's failure puts 22,000 jobs at risk worldwide, including 9,000 in the UK.

Ashleigh, 31, said that as Sunday's 13:55 Las Vegas to Manchester flight was taking off, the "very emotional" crew explained that there was "uncertainty" about the tour operator's future.

She said: "Towards the end of the flight the crew updated the passengers that Thomas Cook had in fact ceased trading in the early hours of the morning.

"They were so upset, it was heartbreaking to see.

"The captain then came on to thank the crew and explain that they wouldn't be paid."

Image copyright Getty Images

Ashleigh took two of the pillow cases given to passengers and wrote "whip-round for our amazing crew" on them and passed them round the plane in what she called a "small act of kindness".

"I sent one to the front of the plane and one to the back and everyone happily contributed", she added. "I felt it was only right that we showed our appreciation.

"When the manager received the bags she was crying and hugged me so tight. They were so grateful and made an emotional thank you to everyone."

She said she did not know how much money had been collected, but "both pillow cases were full of notes".

A video posted online from the flight shows an emotional flight attendant thanking the passengers, saying: "It wasn't expected, it wasn't necessary."

The passengers clap and cheer, and she continues: "Thank you so, so much - you've been great."

The Scot - who manages a hairdressing salon in Perth - was flying back to the UK after attending her brother's wedding in Las Vegas.

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