Pilot turns back plane before runway to pick up father and daughter who lost passport

‘I was gobsmacked because I have never, ever, in all my time flying, ever known that they can come back for you’ says touched mother

Lamiat Sabin
Monday 05 September 2022 09:15 BST
A Tui Boeing 737-800
A Tui Boeing 737-800 (Getty Images)

A pilot preparing a plane for take-off made the rare move of steering it back to the gate so that a man and his daughter could board the flight home.

Adrian Insley, 38, and his seven-year-old daughter were prevented from boarding the Tui Airways flight from Tenerife on 26 August because they couldn’t find her passport.

Their other family members – his partner, his parents, and three other children – were already on the plane bound for East Midlands Airport.

The plane was just about to take to the runway when the passport was found in a duty-free shopping bag, ITV News reported.

Adrian’s mother Sharon told the channel that flight attendants on the plane initially said he and his daughter could try to board the next flight to Manchester instead.

But when the cabin crew spoke to the captain after the passport was found, he agreed to turn back to pick them up.

Sharon told ITV: “At this point, we were ready to take off, it was right before the runway.

“I was gobsmacked because I have never, ever, in all my time flying, ever known that they can come back for you.”

The airline even managed to put Adrian’s luggage on the plane, despite saying initially that it wouldn’t be possible.

Sharon said she tried to thank the airline after touching down in the UK, but could only find website areas where passengers could complain.

She said: “When all you hear about the travel is doom and gloom, we just wanted to share some exceptional customer service our family encountered over the bank holiday weekend.”

In December a pilot made the “nice list” shortly before Christmas, after they made the decision to do a U-turn 10 minutes into a flight to pick up two bags accidentally left at the airport.

Sounds Air flight 906 was a few minutes into a flight from Westport in New Zealand’s South Island, bound for Wellington, on 22 December when the pilot received the message that two pieces of luggage had been forgotten.

“Coming up to Christmas, people need to be with their belongings, so the pilot made the decision to turn back and uplift those bags,” the airline’s operations manager told reporters.

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