Photo: Stefano Garau/Shutterstock

Passenger Takes the Helm of a Delayed Flight and Flies the Plane Himself

by Eben Diskin Sep 5, 2019

Budget airlines get a bad rap, but you have to admit, they do make for some of the best travel stories. When an EasyJet flight from Manchester Airport in the UK to Alicante, Spain, was delayed because the pilot went missing, a passenger stepped up to fly the plane. And no, it’s not as terrifying as it may sound. Licensed EasyJet pilot Michael Bradley happened to be aboard the plane and, learning of the delay in advance, brought along his license and ID just in case his services were needed.

In a video shared on Facebook, he can be heard giving passengers a rundown of the situation:

“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, 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 3:00 AM — I have got my ID with me, and I’d very much like to go on holiday, and if you need a favor I’m standing here ready to go.”

The video was posted by passenger Michelle Potts, who wrote in the caption, “It could only happen to me!! Get to the airport and our flight is delayed a couple of hours… then I happen to look at the original time and it changed to gate closing!! Had to leg it across the airport to get on the flight… 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 of been cancelled if it wasn’t for him! Legend.”

An EasyJet spokesperson expressed the airline’s gratitude, saying, “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.”

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