Pilot turns plane around for elderly couple so they could visit dying grandson

Harriet Agerholm
Pair only found out their grandchild was in intensive care as the plane was travelling to runway: Getty

A pilot has been praised for turning a plane around moments before take-off so an elderly couple could visit their dying grandson in hospital.

The pair found out their grandchild was in intensive care while on board an Abu Dhabi-bound plane taxiing towards a runway at Manchester airport.

After the pair told the crew, the pilot turned the plane back towards the gate while staff arranged for their luggage and a car so they could get to their ill grandson's bedside.

He died later that same night on 31 March.

“I've been in the travel business for 25 years and never heard of this happening,” the couple's travel agent, Becky Stephenson, told the BBC.

Ms Stephenson praised the Etihad Airways pilot, adding that her customers were “so grateful that staff were very helpful and they were taken care of”.

The airline said the couple could use their tickets to Abu Dhabi whenever they chose.