1. ITV Report

'Heartbroken' Thomas Cook flight attendant felt 'bereaved' after losing job she loved

A former Thomas Cook flight attendant has described losing her job suddenly after two decades of service as being like a "bereavement".

Cabin crew member Nicola Ryles, from Old Colwyn, discovered she had lost her job when her friend messaged her during the early hours of Monday 23 September.

The travel firm entered compulsory liquidation after 178 years of trading after it failed to reach the 11.59pm deadline on Sunday 22 September, to secure a rescue package from its creditors.

It resulted in the cancellation of all of the business's flights and holiday packages.

The 44-year-old mum of two said: "It's all been a bit of a blur the last few days, and I think it will really hit me on Friday when I should have been going back to work".

Credit: PA Images

I used to work two weeks on and then had two weeks off, on short haul flights and it worked really well for family life.

I knew Thomas Cook was in trouble, and knew things were serious as a friend who deals with shares, told me on the Sunday morning before the collapse that there was talk of it on shareholders chat forums.

But a few days before this we were reassured by a company notice saying the next couple of weeks would be 'tricky' and things would be printed in the press but to "just bare with us, business as usual and that a deal was being proposed.

– Nicola Ryles

During the early hours of Monday 23rd September, my friend and colleague in Las Vegas sent me a message saying "Nic I am gutted" and I knew that the talks had failed.

We are all heartbroken. We put 100% into a job that is like no other and I personally had nearly 22 years doing a job that I love with an amazing bunch of human beings who became more than just work friends.

We keep on phoning each other in tears, and I know with some of them I will never see them again.

– Nicola Ryles

Mrs Ryles, who hasn't been paid in seven weeks, has since been to the job centre, and has applied for positions with Easy Jet and Jet 2 airlines.

It's horrible as I'll be competing against former colleagues and women half my age," she said.

This year has been really tough as my husband Gary, who is self-employed also had a heart-attack two months ago.