Etihad Airways turns plane around for elderly couple to visit dying grandson

Etihad Airways turns plane around for elderly couple to visit dying grandson

A pilot's decision to turn back the plane, which might cause delays to passengers on board, is typically not a popular move. 

But when one Etihad Airways pilot's decided to turn the plane back so that a couple could rush to see their dying grandson, it was widely lauded. 

The plane, which was en route to Australia via Abu Dhabi from Manchester, UK, was ready for takeoff when a couple on board received a text message from their son-in-law informing them that their grandson was in intensive care. 

Travel agent Becky Stephenson, who organised the couple's flight, wrote in a Facebook post on Travel Gossip that the couple had kept their mobile phones switched on after the boarded the plane because they "suspected something was wrong." 

Once they got the text message, cabin crew immediately put in the request for the plane to stop taxiing so the couple could disembark, according to TravelMole

"They alerted the cabin crew who managed to get a message to the pilot as the plane taxied to the runway," Ms Stephenson told TravelMole.

"He took the decision to return to the gate so the couple could disembark," she added. 

The airline even retrieved the couple's luggage from the aircraft, escorted them to the terminal and arranged for their car to be collected so they could rush off to the hospital. 

Now, that's a lot of trouble to go through to offload a few passengers. 

The couple made in time to see their grandson but he died a day after. It is unknown what he died of. 

"Had they (the couple) not been allowed off the flight and had to fly back from Abu Dhabi, they may not have made it to his bedside," wrote Ms Stephenson.

According to Ms Stephenson, Etihad is also going to allow the couple to re-use their tickets at a later date. 

While her post has made waves with saying it was "truly amazing" and a "heartwarming" story, Etihad is not the only airline which has been in the news for its staff's good deeds. 

In December last year, a Delta Airlines pilot turned his plane around to pick up a family who were close to missing their father's funeral. The pilot was hailed a hero, reported ABC News.

Earlier in May 2015, a flight from Philadelphia to Atlanta became a pizza party when cabin crew ordered pizza for everyone when it was diverted to Tennessee due to storms. 

Kudos to Etihad and the other airlines!

Speaking of good deeds, a Certis Cisco Aviation Security officer who works at Changi Airport went out of his way to return a laptop bag to a passenger who had already departed. 

Mr Haresh Chandran, 28, could have just left the bag at the information counter but what did he do? 

The Indian national forked out $910 and flew to Trichy, India, to return it. 

For his kind act, he won a award in March given out by the airport to reward outstanding service staff. 

maryanns@sph.com.sg

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