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TUI pilot turns plane around to pick up crying little girl 'left behind' at airport

Emma Guinness

Published 
| Last updated 

TUI pilot turns plane around to pick up crying little girl 'left behind' at airport

Featured Image Credit: BPM Media / Joeri Mostmans / Alamy Stock Photo

A father has praised TUI after one of their pilots turned a plane around to pick up a crying little girl who was 'left behind' at the airport.

Adrian Insley was travelling with his partner, their four children, his parents.

He said that the incident took place on the way to East Midlands Airport on Friday 26 August after he and his family briefly stopped at the duty free shop in Tenerife.

In a scene straight out of the classic film Home Alone, Adrian's wife placed a passport into a bag so she could make a duty free purchase as their flight was delayed.

A stop at duty free caused chaos for the family. Credit: Nottinghamshire Live
A stop at duty free caused chaos for the family. Credit: Nottinghamshire Live

The 38-year-old told Nottinghamshire Live: "I am very organised with my passport, I even have a bag for them, but this time my partner said she needs a passport to get something from duty free, and then she put the passport in the bag.

"Our flight was delayed and the airport was very busy because there were three flights to the UK."

However, when the family finally got to security checks, Adrian realised that his wife had lost the passport - which was their daughter's - in the process of going to duty free.

"I am starting to panic because I do not know where it is. And then the realisation set in there. We do not have a passport - we are missing one," he said.

"I went and spoke to to the security personnel and they told me that I cannot board without a passport. So I had to send all my family through, and it is just me and my daughter that were left behind because of my daughter's missing passport.

"So it got a bit hairy because I did not know what to do. I have got to find somewhere to stay, I have got to find transport, and I have got to organise for a temporary passport - there is a lot of organising in a very short amount of time."

The TUI pilot turned around for the little girl. Credit: Alamy / Russell Hart
The TUI pilot turned around for the little girl. Credit: Alamy / Russell Hart

The father explained at his daughter was 'distressed' as she saw the rest of the family boarding and she couldn't join because of her missing passport.

He said: "My children were crying, my partner was crying. The reps on the other planes asked all the passengers to check their bags."

In a stroke of remarkable luck, the little girl's passport was eventually found, but by this point the plane had already departed.

"I had to go back in the airport area, which caused a bit of a problem with the security guards who told me I could not leave past that point. There was a bit of a language barrier which was hair raising," the father said.

However, the airport managed to get word to the plane on the runway that the little girl's passport had been discovered.

Adrian's mum Sharon Insley said a member of staff asked her to contact her son before takeoff to say they were coming back for him and his daughter.

The family were travelling to East Midlands Airport. Credit: Alamy / a-plus image bank
The family were travelling to East Midlands Airport. Credit: Alamy / a-plus image bank

"I was gobsmacked because I have never ever in all my time flying, ever known that they can come back for you," she said.

"They then apologised saying they would not be able to put Adrian's luggage back on. We said we do not care, it was amazing, just incredible.

"And then they managed to put his luggage back in anyway," Sharon added. "We had an amazing holiday and everything was top notch, obviously just a bit of trauma.

"I have actually tried to thank TUI, but they have only got a portal for complaints. When all you hear about the travel industry is doom and gloom, we just wanted to share some exceptional customer service our family encountered over the bank holiday weekend."

TUI told Tyla: "We're pleased that the Insley family were able to travel on their holiday as planned. 

 "This is just another example of the incredible dedication of TUI colleagues who are doing everything they can to get customers away on their holidays. 

"We appreciate all of our teams who continue to demonstrate their hard-work and commitment to TUI and its customers."

Topics: Real Life

Emma Guinness
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