Get your tissues.

By Alison Fox
April 15, 2020
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Credit: Gary Hershorn/Getty

Ahead of flying medical volunteers to New York City to help with the COVID-19 response, a United Airlines pilot gave a heartfelt announcement that was captured on social media.

In an impromptu speech, Captain Jim Crail addressed passengers about to board a flight from Washington Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C. to Newark Liberty International Airport, telling them that his wife and his first officer’s wife were both nurses.

“I understand we have quite a few folks who are going to get on this airplane to travel down to the tristate area to volunteer to help as medical professionals,” Crail said. “I’d like to ask all of you, would you please stand up? I know my wife would be totally embarrassed if I asked [her] to do that.”

As the crowd applauded the healthcare workers who stood, Crail added: “But on behalf of my wife, everybody in the tristate area and the rest of the country, and United Airlines, I really, really appreciate and thank you for what you are willing to volunteer to do.”

A United Airlines spokeswoman confirmed to Travel + Leisure that four medical volunteers going to New York City. They were flying United as a part of the airline's initiative to transport medical volunteers for free to areas hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Crail, who is based in Chicago and has been been with United for more than 20 years, has since responded to his video going viral on Twitter.

“It was my personal honor for me and my crew to take those brave folks into the heart of the battle against COVID-19,” he said in a tweet.

"We are profoundly grateful for the extraordinarily talented and selfless individuals who are working around the clock and have an unwavering commitment to support our communities and medical providers at this time of exceptional need," Jill Kaplan, the president of New York / New Jersey for United Airlines, told T+L. "It is our hope that providing air travel at no cost will allow additional dedicated volunteers and first responders the ability to reach the Tri-State area, that has been hit hardest by COVID-19."

The moment also came as United flew healthcare workers from San Francisco to New York over the weekend, inspiring a video shout-out from none other than the airline’s partner and NBA star Steph Curry.

The carrier has flown more than 130 healthcare volunteers to the New York area since April 6, United's spokeswoman told T+L.

And they're not alone in offering healthcare workers free flights. Southwest and Delta Air Lines have each done the same, bringing workers to cities like New York City, as well as hard-hit states, including Louisiana and Michigan.

Click here for the most recent updates on coronavirus from Travel + Leisure.