Thomas Cook Airlines hosted a special Pride party at its Manchester airport base ahead of its Fly with Pride flight to San Francisco on Monday (19 August).
The flight’s all-LGBT+ crew, pilots, customers and dance troupe House of Suarez arrived at the airport in a rainbow Metrolink tram.
They led a vibrant procession to check-in, followed by a Pride party complete with DJ set by LGBT+ radio station Gaydio and performances from House of Suarez.
Five of Cook’s A330s have been emblazoned with a Pride rainbow heart, each representing a decade since the Stonewall riots and for each of the five years the airline has supported Manchester’s Pride festival (23-26 August).
Christoph Debus, chief executive 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.
“[The flight] 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+ cities in the world and is one of our key US destinations from Manchester airport.”
Mark Fletcher, chief executive 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.”
Seb Thompson, press office manager and diversity lead at Manchester airport, added: “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.”
Thomas Cook Airlines will sponsor the Gay Village Party at Manchester Pride this year, featuring the Thomas Cook Airlines stage.
Airline staff will take place in the Pride parade on Saturday (24 August) during which it will reveal a new campaign where its sunny heart logo will transform into holding hands.