An Etihad pilot aborted an international flight so two passengers could get off and visit their dying grandson.
The couple’s flight to Abu Dhabi was taxiing at Manchester Airport when they received a text saying that their grandson had just been admitted into intensive care and that they should come to the hospital as soon as possible.
The passengers then alerted the pilot who drove back to the gate where the passengers disembarked. Airline staff immediately unloaded the couple’s luggage and collected their car from the parking lot.
Becky Stephenson who arranged the couple’s flight, took to Facebook to publicly thank the pilot for his thoughtfulness and consideration. Stephenson wrote the couple had just stepped on the Etihad flight bound for Australia, at Manchester Airport last week when they received a text message from their son-in-law telling them their grandson was in intensive care.
The couple had kept their mobile phones switched on after they boarded the plane because they “suspected something was wrong”, Stephenson said. Once the couple got a text message confirming the terrible news, cabin crew quickly stopped the plane from taxiing so the couple could get off the plane.
The couple made it in time to see their grandson, who died the next day from an undisclosed condition. The couple was also told that they can re-use their tickets to fly to Australia at another time.
Stephenson said Etihad went “above and beyond” to help her clients during the gut-wrenching emergency.
“Every little detail (was) thought about and taken care of,” she wrote in her Facebook post.
“Had they (the passengers) not been allowed off the flight and had to fly back from Abu Dhabi, they may not have made it to his bedside.”
Stephenson’s Facebook post prompted a wave of praise for the airline, with many saying it was “truly amazing” and the story “heartwarming”.