Michael Bradley, who happened to be an easyJet pilot himself, offered to fly the plane.
A father keen to go on his holiday to Spain stepped in and flew an easyJet flight to Alicante when it transpired the service was a pilot down.
Michael Bradley, who happened to be an easyJet pilot himself, offered to fly the plane to avoid a delay of several hours.
An announcement he made over the tannoy before the flight took off from Manchester airport was filmed and shared on social media by one of the passengers.
“My wife who’s on row 15 with my little boy — hopefully he’s asleep by now, I should keep it down or else I’ll get told off — she rolled over and punched me in the back of the head and said ‘our flight’s delayed by two hours because they are minus one captain for the flight.’
”So just before we went through security I thought, I wonder if this is worth a phone call. I think it is because I’d like to go on holiday.
“I phoned up easyJet and said ‘Hiya, I’m standing in the terminal doing nothing. I have got my licence with me — deliberately from being punched in the back of the head at 3am — I have got my ID with me and I’d very much like to go on holiday. And if you need a favour I’m standing here ready to go.”
Bradley said the airline phoned him back 38 seconds later, saying, “Please, please, pretty please with a big cherry on top, can you fly the aeroplane to Alicante?”
Minus his uniform, Bradley finished by saying: “So if you’re alright for one of your pilots to look like this today, we’ll go to Alicante.”
The announcement was greeted with cheers from those onboard.
Passenger Michelle Potts uploaded the video on Facebook, commenting: “Get to boarding and asked the guy at the desk what’s going on he said, ‘Oh your pilot’s gone missing but a guy that’s going on your flight is going to fly the plane’ REALLY CASUALLY!!!
“Luckily the guy was actually a pilot!! Probably would have been cancelled if it wasn’t for him! Legend.”
An easyJet spokesperson commended Bradley for “going the extra mile” and stressed that he was well rested, having had the previous four days off, and legally permitted to fly the aircraft.
“We are grateful to one of our pilots who was travelling on holiday from Manchester to Alicante on 2 September with his family and volunteered to operate the flight,” they told The Independent.
“This meant customers could get to their destination and shows the commitment and dedication of our crew.
“This is fully in line with regulations as he had his licence and ID with him. Safety is always our highest priority.”
The easyJet flight was delayed due to the knock-on effects of a French Air Traffic Control (ATC) failure on Sunday, which impacted on crew and made it necessary for airlines to call on standby resources.
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