A passenger has captured the heartwarming moment a pilot gave an emotional speech on his last flight after 32 years with American Airlines.
Before his retirement flight took off to Chicago last week, Jeff Fell stood on the front of the cabin to provide his final farewell.
At first, his address gave the impression of another.
Fell welcomed passengers on-board, introduced himself, informed them of the flight time and weather.
He then acknowledged it was odd for him to be giving the update from outside the cockpit.
“I normally don’t rise up in front of everybody like this, I normally just stay within the cockpit and talk on the PA. If I get a little bit emotional please forgive me for that,” he said.
With passengers still unaware of what was to return, he identified a bunch of “very necessary people” to him sitting behind the plane.
“They’re the vast majority of my family who’ve come together with me on my retirement flight,” Fell said.
The longtime pilot’s voice wavered with emotion and the plane was filled will applause.
“They’re on-board with me on my retirement flight after 32 years with American,” he said.
He continued, fighting back tears: “Thanks all for coming together with me tonight and celebrating this very memorable time in my life. I really like all of you.
With one other round of applause from his passengers, Fell added: “I didn’t wish to get emotional but goodness gracious.”
He returned to his pre-written speech he held in his hand.
“Finally for my wonderful wife Julie who has been at my side for the vast majority of my 32 years at American. She has been the rock, the solid rock in the muse in our lives and our marriage. Her faith within the Lord, wisdom, strength and love has guided our marriage and family throughout these years. I really like you and stay up for the subsequent chapter in our lives. And welcome aboard everybody.”
The video uploaded by passenger Justin Harrison on TikTok has been viewed greater than three million times.
1000’s of social media users left comments of support, with many confessing the clip had brought them to tears.
“As soon as he said retirement flight my tears got here,” one person wrote, attracting greater than 14,000 likes.
“32 years of protected landings also. God bless him and all pilots,” read one other comment, gaining 30,000 likes in support.
“To consider the quantity of families, people, and cultures he has single-handedly connected throughout the world. Thanks!” penned a 3rd person.
“32 years of bringing people closer together. I’m crying!” agreed one other.
A second video showed a water cannon salute, which is a practice used to mark the retirement of a senior pilot or other notable event.
It involves two airport fire trucks firing water over a passing aircraft.
news.com.au contacted American Airlines for further comment.