Passenger Hugh Roche Kelly told BuzzFeed News: “What he did and said stayed with me for the rest of the day.”
A Germanwings Airbus A319-100 (D-AGWQ) approaches Stansted Airport, Essex.
Nick Ansell / PA Archive/Press Association Images
Technical and production theatre manager Hugh Roche Kelly told BuzzFeed News that he was on flight 8406 from Berlin Tegel Airport to Paris Charles de Gaulle on Thursday 2 April at 6.55am when the pilot left the cockpit to address his passengers.
In an update posted to Twitter yesterday, Kelly wrote:
So, I was on a Germanwings flight this morning (Berlin-Paris). It hadn't even occurred to me to think about that before I got on the plane, but there was a tense vibe – the crew were on edge, some passengers were definitely more nervous than normal... Once I was actually onboard, and looked at the crew door, it was all too easy to imagine how horrific the time before that crash would have been.
I was thinking about what kind of a response a company should make to something like this. Do you ask everyone to carry on as normal? With utmost professionalism and a stiff upper lip?
Kelly then described how the pilot came out and made "almost his normal pre flight speech", but delivered it from the front row of seats. He said the man spoke "at length, in three languages" about how it was "a difficult and strange time for him and for all the cabin crew, how they still all love doing their job, and how they're thankful that they still have passengers coming onto their planes."
He added: "Mostly though, he said he just wanted to come out and stand in front of everyone, and let all the passengers on his flight have a moment of eye contact with him, and for us to meet him and for him to meet us."
Kelly wrote that the 150 or "more-nervous-than-they-really-needed-to-be" passengers the man addressed "could tell it was a difficult thing to do," and that he "couldn't help but have enormous respect for him".
He told BuzzFeed News that the pilot "stood at the door as everyone left," and added: "I was tempted to stop and shake his hand, but instead just thanked him as I passed." He said the man's words stayed with him the rest of the day, so he decided to write about them in the evening.
BuzzFeed News has contacted Germanwings for further information.
This is now at least the second time a Germanwings pilot has taken the decision to do something like this.
Last month a pilot from the airline stood in the cabin before a flight and talked to passengers about his family and those of the crews, reassuring them that he would "do everything to be with his family again."