Pilot Turns Plane Around So Grieving Family Can Attend Dad’s Funeral

Pilot Turns Plane Around So Grieving Family Can Attend Dad’s Funeral

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Delta regional jet CC Eric Salard

Connecting flights can really disconnect you from loved ones, especially if you are on the way to an important family event. If your flight was late, causing you to miss another one, would it do any good to jump wildly up and down, waving your arms in the window as the pilot rolled away from the gate? If you’re booked on Delta Air Lines, it just might save you from your moment of grief.

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A flight delay in their home airport of Phoenix, Arizona meant the Short family had only seven minutes to reach their connecting flight in Minneapolis. It was the last flight that could get them to Tennessee before a January family funeral laid to rest Marcia’s husband, Jay Short, the next day.

Even at a running pace, the family didn’t reach the gate until their plane was already taxiing to the runway. Mrs. Short and her son waved frantically through the airport windows at the flight crew, as her two adult daughters cried.

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After Capt. Adam Cohen saw the family’s desperation, the pilot called-in to find out what was going on. When he learned about the funeral, he decided to do something that might have gotten him fired — he turned the plane around and returned to the gate.

Departure times are critical to airlines’ profitable bottom lines. But his bosses at Endeavor Air, a regional operator for Delta Airlines, thought his actions to help a grieving family were far more important.

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“This Endeavor Air pilot’s decision to return to the gate in this special circumstance is a great reflection of the human touch we want all Delta customers to experience when flying with us,” a Delta spokesperson said in a statement.

(WATCH the video from KSAZ News below) – Photo: Eric Salard, CC

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