Pilot’s emotional speech on retirement flight leaves passengers in tears
(Gray News) – A pilot’s emotional speech before taking off on his retirement flight is going viral.
In a video posted to TikTok, American Airlines Captain Jeff Fell is seen tearing up as he addresses the cabin for his final flight.
Justin Harrison, the lead flight attendant on the plane, posted the video. He said it was taken back in February of 2022, but just recently posted to social media, where it blew up.
“I rewatched the video and it gave me chills to see his vulnerability and his sense of purpose. I was so moved by his message that I decided to share it on TikTok,” Harrison said.
About 15 of Fell’s family members were on the flight from Fort Meyers, Florida, to Chicago to help him celebrate.
In the video, Fell speaks to the passengers and tells them this is his retirement flight.
“If I get a little emotional, please forgive me for that,” he tells the passengers through voice cracks.
Fell thanked his family, and particularly his wife, for supporting him throughout his 32-year career with American Airlines.
“She has been the rock, the solid rock in our foundation in our lives and our marriage,” he said of his wife, Julie.
Tearing up, he finished the speech, saying, “I love you and look forward to the next chapter in our lives. And welcome aboard, everybody.”
The video has received more than 3 million views on TikTok.
“In a time where pilots are under increased scrutiny, I think it’s important to remember how many captains dedicate their lives to getting people where they need to go, because of their love of flying,” Harrison said. “Captain Fell demonstrated that ultimately preserving our relationships are the most important thing in life.”
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