Babies can prove to be quite a handful for mommies to handle. And, if you happen to be traveling with one, it can be an even more hair-raising experience. As it is, any person does get a little hassled when air travel is involved. The long immigration queues, the requirement for specific legal documents, an infinite number of waiting hours, and innumerable travel essentials can easily weigh down heavily on one’s mind. So much so that it is quite common for travelers to forget something or the other. Unless, of course, you have an efficient planner who’d do that job specifically for you. While that could be wishful thinking, it says a lot about how stressful air travel can become. This is probably why passengers missing their flights or forgetting their stuff at the airport while boarding their planes is a common occurrence at the airports.
However, one passenger forgot something that came across as quite bizarre. Believe us when we say this, but a lady forgot her baby at the terminal and boarded the flight!! Yes, you’ve read that right! Here’s what happened on that fateful day. It had been what seemed like a regular day for a Saudi Arabian Airlines plane flying from Jeddah to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. The Saudi Arabian flight SV832 had just taken off and was breezily cruising through the air when they got a piece of shocking news. A hassled Saudi Arabian mother approached the pilot requesting him to turn around. Yes, she wanted the ‘plane’ to be turned around. She said she had forgotten her baby at the airport terminal and refused to continue with her journey. The pilot was, quite obviously, taken aback. But seeing the mother’s desperation, he made a quick call to the air traffic control tower back at the King Abdul Aziz International Airport at Jeddah. The pilot spoke to the operator and requested if they could turn the plane around and come back. After noting the necessary flight details, the ATC operator asked the pilot the reason for doing so. The pilot then replied that a passenger had forgotten her baby at the terminal and refused to continue further with the journey. The operator then checked with a colleague as to what protocol needs to be followed in this situation; if there was indeed any protocol at all. To this, the ATC staff checked with the pilot again and asked him to reconfirm the reason as it was hard for them to believe what they heard at first!
The pilot, again, went on to confirm that the lady passenger was requesting him to return since she left her baby at the terminal. After reconfirming the reason, the operator then gave the pilot an all-clear sign to turn around and return to the airport at Jeddah while also remarking that ‘it was a new for us’!
New it was, for us too when we first heard the story. There have been other instances too where parents would have forgotten their kids at the airport or home (Home Alone, anyone?). While we don’t know how those stories ended, we are glad this one had a pleasant ending. What’s more heartening in this story is how the Saudi Arabian Airline staff including the pilot and the ATC operator were willing to go ahead with a few delays to accommodate the mother. In today’s times, where airlines run on a strict timeline and avoid delays that could hurt their reputation, it is indeed reassuring to find an airline that is willing to go the extra mile for their passenger.
As for the mother, she was relieved and happy to be reunited with her baby. While we have no details as to how or what led her to forget her baby at the terminal, we are glad that everything turned out well for everyone’s relief!