An Etihad flight from Manchester to Abu Dhabi had already begun taxiing on the runway when two of the passengers received a text that convinced the pilot to turn the plane around.
As the Manchester Evening News reports, a pair of grandparents were on their way from England to Australia when they learned that their grandson was in intensive care.
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Not knowing how much time they would have left to see him, the couple got the attention of the cabin crew and explained the situation. But what happened next was a surprise.
Moved by the grandparents’ predicament, the pilot decided to abort take-off and return to the gate so that the couple could disembark and go to the hospital to see their grandson.
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The Etihad staff had been alerted to the emergency and helped find the grandparents’ luggage. The airline even managed to locate the couple’s car and had it ready for them as they gathered their bags and left the airport.
Though the identity of the grandparents has been withheld for privacy, their travel agent, Becky Stephenson, shared the story on Facebook and praised the compassion of the Etihad crew.
“Never in the 25 years I have been in travel have I ever heard of an airline going above and beyond with their customer service,” wrote Stephenson.
The grandparents did get to their grandson’s bedside in time to say goodbye— something they would not have been able to do if the flight had continued. Sadly, the young man passed away the next day, but the couple told Stephenson that they are grateful to the airline staff that made sure they got to see him one last time.