a group of people posing for a photo

Make no bones about it: being laid off right now is incredibly scary. That’s all the more reason to celebrate the people who’ve been placed in difficult positions, and made the world a better place despite it. With airline layoffs, you don’t need to look far to see the incredible impact furloughed or laid off staff have made on their many local communities, and despite all the doom and gloom – we must celebrate the heartwarming wonderful elements too.

There’s a lot more to being a cabin crew member than knowing which way to direct your arms during a safety demonstration, or how to serve a cup of tea. During rigorous training, cabin crew members must train in a variety of medical and safety procedures, which make them among the more medically trained professionals in the world whose jobs aren’t specifically in medicine.

When layoffs and furloughs came, airline cabin crew members from around the world were among the first to volunteer in hospitals, with EMT teams and in other essential work facilities. EasyJet, Virgin Atlantic and others famously joined forces to help staff emergency hospitals in the UK, with staff capable of first aid and keeping people calm in crisis. If they can do it at 33,000 feet, they can do it on the ground.

Pilots, also facing airline collapse and layoffs in the thousands traded the flight deck for the drivers seat, helping supermarkets and other essential supply chains to move goods from one place to another. LinkedIn is rife with incredible stories of pilots humbly accepting new roles to keep the world moving.

Even those still employed in the aviation industry have used time outside of the office or the skies to make positive impacts on their communities and the essential workers who are quite literally saving and bettering lives each and every day.

Anders Lindström is one such hero in the field, taking his free time outside of Norwegian Airlines to launch Project Wingman, a charitable initiative where airline staff members can volunteer to support healthcare workers in the US, UK and beyond, even its as simple as making tea and distributing cookies to exhausted workers.

Volunteers from all airlines can pledge time to assist in hospitals and health fields in a variety of ways, from stress relieving chats to keeping people fed and moving. You can learn more about Project Wingman here.

What makes the world worth living in is that people do remarkable things in remarkable times, and this is just a small example of a community deeply effected by the devastation of covid-19 banding together to bring solidarity to those tackling it head on. It may be years before many airline employees are back on board, but the impact they’ve made in the interim shouldn’t be forgotten any time soon.


Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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