DENVER (CBS4)– Oct. 1 is the first day of furloughs for tens of thousands of airline employees, including two who make their living flying out of Denver International Airport. It should be a time of great joy, but now the couple find themselves both out of work on the eve of their wedding.

(credit: Brittany Riley)

For the first time in a long time as United Airlines planes take off, Brittany Riley and her fiancé Peter Golembiewski won’t be working for the company as flight attendants.

“We’re just devastated. We should celebrating and having a great time, and we are getting married tomorrow and Congress just couldn’t get the bill passed,” Brittany said.

Airlines like United and American find their financial aid expiring.

Ken Kyle is a flight attendant and president of the Denver local association. He sees the human toll.

“It’s like a gut punch,” he told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger, “People establishing their careers and have mortgages, families, kids in college, bills to pay.”

(credit: CBS)

The airlines have seen a huge drop in passengers and revenue from a year ago. A virus that has turned a healthy industry into an ill one. Sanitizing the planes hasn’t been enough to bring back the passengers and save the workers.

“We have no jobs, we have no paychecks and we have three mouths we are going to have to support and figure out how to do that,” said Brittany.

With many international flights suspended and domestic travel way down Brittany is one of tens of thousands of airline workers feeling the impact.

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“In a few months, I don’t have a job and I can’t pay for my kids’ groceries. This is sad. It shouldn’t be happening.”

Even with the furloughs, there is hope that Congress will include the airlines in a larger coronavirus relief bill.

Rick Sallinger