Etihad UK-Australia flight aborted to help couple reach dying grandson’s hospital bedside

By @chelean on
Etihad Airways
A model Etihad Airways plane is seen on stage before the unveiling of the new home jersey for the New York City Football Club in New York November 13, 2014. Reuters/Lucas Jackson

An Etihad flight from UK to Australia was aborted, and the pilot is being praised for his decision. When an elderly couple received a text message about their critically ill grandson, the pilot turned the flight to allow them to race to the hospital.

Travel Counsellor Becky Stephenson posted the story on the closed Facebook group Travel Gossip (via Travel Mole) to commend Etihad Airways for the superb customer service its staff provided to her clients.

According to her post, the couple were on their way to Australia via Abu Dhabi. They were about to switch off their mobile phones as the plane was taxying on the runway when they received a text message that said their grandson was in intensive care and that they had to get to the hospital as soon as possible.

They told the cabin crew immediately and the crew told the pilot. The pilot then turned the plane back to the gate, allowing the couple to get off the flight and have their luggage unloaded. The crew also asked for assistance for the couple back to the airport and had their car collected from the car park.

“Every little detail thought about and taken care of, so impressed and wanted to say let others know the service that they have provided,” Stephenson wrote.

Unfortunately, though, the couple’s grandson passed away the day after. Had the pilot not allowed them to get off the flight and fly back to Abu Dhabi, they might not have had a chance to see their grandson for the final time.

The travel counsellor emailed the Etihad sales manager directly to praise the staff. The airline also allowed the customers to reuse their tickets for a future trip to Australia to see their family, which is what they had planned to do before they received the text message.

She did not mention additional flight details or the name of the pilot and cabin crew members.

Stephenson’s post received positive response from readers, gathering more than 60 comments praising the airline.