With Manchester Pride’s biggest ever Festival just days away, long-standing Pride partner Thomas Cook Airlines’ ‘Fly with Pride’ flight to San Francisco took off from Manchester Airport with an all-LGBT+ crew and has touched down in the Golden Gate City overnight, following a celebration at the Northern hub.
Captured on film, the celebrations started when a Metrolink rainbow tram arrived at The Airport Station with Thomas Cook Airlines’ crew, pilots, customers and House of Suarez, who led a vibrant parade through to check-in. At the gate, customers kicked off their holiday to San Francisco in style with a colourful Pride party, a Gaydio DJ set and further performances from House of Suarez.
The ‘Fly with Pride’ A330 aircraft was emblazoned with the Pride heart, one of five Thomas Cook Airlines aircraft specially painted this year, each representing a decade since the Stonewall riots and one for each of the five years that the airline has supported the Manchester Pride Festival. Crew also wore special uniform for the flight. See the livery being painted in a fantastic time-lapse video, here.
Thomas Cook Airlines has long supported diversity and inclusion among its colleagues and customers and actively recruits diverse talent and skills in its Manchester headquarters.
Christoph Debus, CEO of Thomas Cook Airlines said,
“Diversity is in our DNA. We fly our customers all over the world and we don’t just want to get them from A to B. We want to connect people regardless of their sexuality, gender or race. We believe in a future where everyone can be who they want to be and travel the world while doing so.
“Today’s flight is not a one-off. It is a celebration for our colleagues and our customers and a symbol of every single one of our flights throughout the year. We carefully selected San Francisco as one of the largest and most prominent LGBT+ people in the world and is one of our key US destinations from Manchester Airport.”
Thomas Cook taking off with pride
Mark Fletcher, CEO of Manchester Pride said,
“It is brilliant to see how Thomas Cook Airlines puts equality and inclusion at the heart of everything they do. This Pride flight is a symbol of many years of support for both Manchester Pride and LGBT+ people everywhere – something the team at Thomas Cook Airlines should be very proud of. I certainly am proud to have them as a partner again this year as sponsor of the Gay Village Party at the heart of Manchester Pride Festival.”
Seb Thompson, Press Office Manager and Diversity Lead at Manchester Airport said:
“Diversity, inclusivity and equality are at the heart of our business, which is why Manchester Airport is delighted and proud to be supporting today’s activity with such great organisations like Manchester Pride and Thomas Cook Airlines.
“Our 29 million passengers and the 25,000 members of staff based on site come from a variety of rich and diverse backgrounds, so events like Pride and our year-round LGBT+ and equality initiatives are a great way to recognise and celebrate them. The activity here at Manchester Airport today and the flight to San Francisco is however much more than a celebration, it is about generating much needed awareness for LGBT+ people.”
Thomas Cook Airlines is this year’s sponsor of the Gay Village Party, including the Thomas Cook Airlines stage. The airline will be taking part in the Parade on Saturday and will be revealing its new outdoor campaign throughout Manchester, where it’s sunny heart logo is transformed into holding hands – a universal symbol of unity, reflecting the importance of “bringing people together in Pride” regardless of their gender, race or sexuality.