An easyJet flight from Manchester to Alicante avoided further delay after a passenger stepped up to pilot the aircraft when one of the pilots did not show up.
This was not just any passenger, of course, but an off-duty easyJet pilot. Michael Bradley was traveling with his family on holiday to Spain. When he saw that the flight was delayed and faced being cancelled, he offered his services to easyJet when he arrived at the airport. EasyJet quickly accepted.
Bradley took to the PA system to explain what was going on:
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 license 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.
Apparently, easyJet said they would check and call him back…and did so 38 seconds later.
Bradley was dressed in casual clothes and told the cabin:
So if you’re alright for one of your pilots to look like this today, we’ll go to Alicante.
The cabin erupted in cheers.
It’s a nice story and I give great praise to Bradley for being willing to step up, even if it served his self interest. Speaking of the incident, an easyJet spokesperson told the Manchester Evening News:
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.
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.
On that last point, the pilots had been off the last four days, making him legally able to fly the aircraft.