Malaysia Airlines’ Tweet Finally Make Me Break Down and Cry

Malaysia Airlines tweeted out a message about flight MH17 yesterday and it’s taken me a day to decide whether to say anything about it or not.

When I saw the tweet I hid myself away, because I don’t do tears, and I cried.

I don’t have any direct connection to the flight, I’ve flown Malaysia Airlines before of course and I feel a certain bond with travelers as such, and much more so in the airport and on planes. in a way that I can’t really describe.

But I have no special right to cry over this. I was shocked by what happened as the whole world was. And when I saw this simple message I Just. Broke. Down.

I decided I should share it as well, in case it touches anyone else out there too that hadn’t yet seen it.

Somehow the image of these flight attendants holding hands through all of this affected me in a way I can’t even describe, thinking not just about the passengers and their families but the airline’s staff going through another tragedy before even getting through the last one.

I hadn’t cried for MH17 before. I don’t like to admit when I do. But now I have, and I guess I’ve told the world that now too.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The one that did it for me was the hearse motorcade video. Lined up so far you couldn’t see the end… My stomach dropped when I saw pictures of Schiphol in a news article—walkways that I have hurriedly walked down dozens of times, but it was the video that choked me up…bad.

  2. Thanks for sharing Gary –when it comes to Airline tragedies such as this, it makes no difference who was on it, what country bears their flag on the wings, or any other aspect like that–the bottom line is….human lives, were lost. Innocent people who were simply travelers getting from Point A to B.

  3. Thanks for your article, it is good to see another side of people. Glad you felt able to share.

  4. Yeah, every frequent flyer knows it could have been themselves on those flights, so it’s a bit more personal. I’ve flown Malaysian several times, including just a couple months before the first disaster this year. One time I flew Malaysian through Taipei during a “missile crisis” with mainland China. The risk was tiny, but not zero. I guess that’s the way life is. It’s horrible that a few people wind up in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I suppose that’s just fate.

  5. Sometimes, even when considerably distant from a particular incident or those affected, we can and do feel a strong sense of human attachment, empathy, sympathy. It’s a mark of humanity — something that sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom, and something about which we should not be ashamed but proud and grateful despite cultural pressures and socialization factors to the contrary.
    In this case, “There but for fortune go you and I” (and all other frequent flyers). Thanks for calling this to the attention of those of us who wouldn’t otherwise have seen it.

  6. So many of us have direct ties to 9/11 and can relate to the emotional horror of the loss of MH17 – to the Dutch people, all the other nations represented onboard and the Malaysia Air family. It is so, so sad. The images are gut-wrenching.

  7. Gary you’ve redeemed yourself for the ridiculous post re the child who died while left in the car. It’s difficult to read a blogger’s true personality or heart. Clearly you had the former but now I know you have the latter too. That’s a good thing. As a (ex airline) pilot, we must recognize those who fell in the line of duty plus all the passengers and families. Respect Gary. RIP

  8. Gary,

    The malaysia flight was an incredible tragedy, but how can u relate? U didnt have family or friends die. And you arent malaysian either. This just makes me think u r a wimp.

  9. Thanks Gary. I feel the sample about these terrible tragedies and the lives, each one special, of our fellow travelers. I had not seen the tweet you mentioned, but have since found it, re-tweeted it and favorited it. We are all listening.

  10. Thanks Gary. That just got to me too. I got really emotional yesterday watching the somber ceremony as they drove the bodies that were flown back through The Netherlands. The tens of thousands of people that just lined the streets- the Dutch showed us what humanity looks like after a long week of struggling to find it. I also wrote a reflection on how do we continue to believe in the goodness of humanity after a tough week like what we’ve experienced…

  11. Thank you for this post, Gary. It’s totally OK to cry. We’re all human. I have a Malaysian Airlines flight in December and I did think about cancelling it and instead fly Cathay or Emirates but decided against it & kept my Malaysian Airlines booking.

  12. IF God had meant for us to fly, he would have given us wings. Moral of the story, Each flight is a defiant act against nature. Never take one for granted. I always bless the Lord for his mercy.

    Having said that, this was a crime not a tragedy. Tragedies are something we eventually resign ourselves to. Crimes like this I am afraid last in our souls forever.

    Hope MH will be OK soon.

    The familes will never be OK….

  13. I commend you on sharing your personal moment with your readers.

    Last Thursday’s news was so upsetting I simply took the day off. These events put work, and life, in a much different perspective.

    I echo Ozaer’s and Scott B’s sentiments – there is no difference between those who lost their lives and the rest of us who fly. It could have been any of us.

    I have never flown Malaysia, but for this airline to endure two catastrophes in less than five months is incomprehensible to me.

  14. @Patrick – really? I’ve never heard of your blog in my life, but I certainly won’t be reading it after you hijacking this post as a vehicle to plug it.

    Gary, thanks for sharing, and I feel the same way.

  15. Thanks for posting this Gary. I have been seesawing between grief and anger for the past week. The news coverage on the return of the bodies was gut wrenching for me.

  16. @Grant- well said. I couldn’t agree more.

    @CW no intention to highjack whatsoever, and apologies if it came across that way. I was inspired by Gary’s reflection and vulnerability and just wanted to contribute to the community as well.

    Gary, thanks again for sharing, I really connected with your reflection.

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