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United Airlines delays flight for man to see dying mother

(CNN) -- If Kerry Drake missed his connecting flight, he wouldn't get to the hospital in time to say goodbye to his mother. Drake got the news on the morning of January 24 that his mother, who had been ill for years from rheumatoid arthritis and had been especially sick the last four months, was dying. ( More...

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Rick Allen 18
The actions of this crew, and in general of United Airlines, does NOT surprise me. It's simply, "CUSTOMER SERVICE" - go the extra mile, especially for an obvious critical situation, such as Mr. Drake's.
Robert Lewis 17
We all see this kind of thing in our business happen almost daily, nice to see the media finally giving the rest of the population an example of an airline 'Getting it right'.
Jeremy Kudlick 16
Good on United. And good on the media for reported a happy story for once.
ken young 7
I am thinking the Captain himself held the flight. United as a matter of a policy decision most likely had little to do with this.
united141 2
Depending on the airline, they do have policies themselves with how long a captain can hold is flight or leave early. Anything in excess of that requires approval from the company. It is a scheduled carrier after-all.

But you are correct in that the captain held this flight.
Alan Coles 5
Good on you United Airlines and the captain , so many negative things are said about United, top marks on this occasion.The humane thing to do. Jetstar Airline in New Zealand can take lessons on how to treat a grieving mother who had learnt her son had just been killed by a shark in Auckland New Zealand. Treated her shamefully.
Thomas Cain 4
Good to hear a happy ending to an airline story, we don't hear many!! Just to give proper credit which this story seems to omit. The airline for the connecting flight had to be ExpressJet (UA's regional) as UNITED itself does not fly to KLBB from KHOU. So it was there pilot that ultimately held the plane. Great job and good coordination from both ends Hear hear!!
Fred Rosa 3
That must be a different UA. 6 weeks ago I flew UA PSP-LAX. At 5 PM there were the usual delays, but we did get to LAX 20 minutes before my connecting UA LAX-DEN flight. I am 66, but ran anyway to the gate, arriving 10 minutes before departure only to watch the plane pull out from the gate! Certainly they knew there were 4 pax on the PSP flight, but they left without us. Rather than arrive home at a comfortable 10 PM, I arrived at 2 AM which necessitated my daughter making an extra trip to DEN, leaving a car for me. With an hour drive from the airport, I arrived home at 3 AM. No compassion from this United Airlines!

Clark Corn 2
My apologies - reread your post! You WERE delayed by the airlines. Again, apologies to you.
Maybe there was an approaching storm at Denver with a narrow window for takeoff to avoid it.

Therefore we have to give the Captain the benefit of the doubt.
Clark Corn 0
I think you missed something in the story line. In that case, the 'previous flight' was delayed. In your case, 'the flyer' was delayed. Plan ahead next time. I should think you would plan on being at the gate in time for a flight out of just personal responibility. The flyer in the story had no control over his destiny, you did.
travelczar 2
I'm a travel agent and have had many a customer miss their connection because flights took off from the gate early. As Mr. Rosa says, pulling away 10 minutes (sometimes 15 minutes) early from a gate. In the old days, FA's would radio ahead and let pilot's know there were several passengers arriving late and would they please hold the flight. VERY seldom does it happen (I have had it happen recently, on Delta..holding for an unaccompanied minor). Most of the time, airlines want to be 'on time' more than anything. Glad this UA pilot put his job on the line.
So beautiful and happy story, in spite of that for M. Drake it should be terrible to arrive too late to see his dying mother ! ! ! ! ! This story also shows us that most of the time, Airliners Employes do the best they can to help their customers !
Big kudo's to all at UA in making this possible ... That IS the true meaning of customer Service !!
Ralph Wigzell 2
Well done United!
Ralph Wigzell 2
That should read Well done United pilot!
AWAAlum 1
I agree, but remember, in these kind of situations, the pilot IS United ... and most of the flying public knows that.
Bill Morris 2
Great job UAL. This is what life is all about.

[This poster has been suspended.]

AWAAlum 4
Maybe "United Airlines pilot delays flight" etc.... I feel badly for you Mr. Rudd, no matter how uplifting the story, you always manage to find the negative. So sad.
Dee Lowry 1
The Captain is the PIC from the moment he boards his/ or her A/C. Any decisions he or she makes goes. The Captain in this situation chose to hold the A/C for this gentleman. It restores my faith in human compassion and not labeling the situation..."Customer Service"! It's so much more than that! This employee went the extra mile for someone he didn't even know! He could have radioed the Ramp to remove the Blocks and get clearance to "Pushback" but the Captain chose to "Hold" and wait! I commend this Captain!
Chapeau for United Airlines!
blueashflyer 1
of all the times I ever needed a flight to be delayed 10 mins so I could get there...sigh. I'm glad this worked out for him.
vincecullen 1
Thumbs up for United, lets support these great airlines more.

UNLIKE AER LINGUS, when my mother was dying they purposely delayed the flight by well over an hour to take on more passengers from other late planes. consequently I missed my connecting flight and had to pay for another flight the following day.
They didnt care, what SCUM. I will never fly with these SCUM again.
Mum Died and I never got to say goodbye.
I would like to say that something similar happened to my brother and I on BA a number of years ago. Holiday weekend, full flights and we needed to get from UK to Munich. We ended up on the cockpit jumps seats (yes, this was pre-9/11). I guess that our father being a retired pilot helps, professional courtesy. But you always remember.
jfpinwdc 1
you mean "my brother and me"
Kudos to United. It's nice to see humans acting.... human.
George Haksch 1
Wonderful story! I just hope there wouldn't be any abuser!
R C 1
Just remember that when a flight is delayed for one person it potentially causes connection problems for all of the other passengers. If the airlines delayed a flight for every deserving passenger it could inconvenience many more. These are the kinds of decisions that have to be made many many times every day. Keep that in mind when an airline seems to be acting "heartlessly".
William Jensen 1
Glad to see it happen.
Richard Bowers 1
Very touching story!
Richard Bowers 1
Very touching story!
prabhat kumar 1
commendable gesture on the partof United Airline
prabhat kumar 1
Cmmendable gesture by United Airline. Good wishes from me.
NanaMcal 1
Highest praises go to United and all who showed compassion; especially the pilot who made the call, which made the difference. It could have been any one of their mothers; humankind when they reflect the love of their Creator, are capable of doing fine things. Too bad it is the exception to the rule.
N9ZN 0
My thoughts... Although I feel very bad for the problem the man faced with his mother being close to death I can not help but ask. Why did this man wait until the final moments to visit his mother so he could say goodbye?
To UA just behaved like Nigerian politicians.The fact that Nigeria seems to be a lawless country,no airline will delay her flight for a passenger to a dying mother.They can only delay for an hour or more for Presidential movement.That's crazy.
stan Haney -2
UA will not do any thing unless they have some kind of advantage for the delay! UA stole over $1400.00 dollars worth of electronics from my carry on luggage and all they offered me was a $700 air miles ticket. I would also have to sign a paper stating that I was a satisfied customer and will not take the matter any further. UA,I will not say that I am a satisfied until you return full value of my property.
AWAAlum 1
If it was a "carry on" it was pretty much under your control. How can someone get into your carry-on? Plus, anyone can make a claim like that - the problem is proving you actually had that in your luggage.
Larry Toler 2
Probably gate checked especially if it was an Express flight.
AWAAlum 1
Could have been, Larry, but I had a piece of luggage gate checked, and I sat right there the entire time, watching the search, Plus, they asked if I wanted to repack to ensure all was in order. (I declined that offer - lol - I'd already packed once! so I just let them do it that time.) All I'm saying is it never left my sight.
William Jensen 1
The airline stole electronics from you? How about someone got into your luggage. Also, why in the world did you have that much worth of electronics in your luggage? Doesn't seem like the best place to put them.
Alan Wilson 2
A laptop could have easily been the entire value of $1400. Maybe he had a laptop and an ipad and both were taken. I can easily see the value here but doubt the airline had anything to do with it. None the less, anytime I have to gate check my carry on, I remove my laptop and tablet. Just common sense to me after seeing how those bags get tossed around down there on the ramp.
AWAAlum 1
Alan, when you talk about bags getting tossed around on the ramp, you're talking about checked bags. Stan's claim is that items were stolen from a carry-on. However, laptops don't go through security packed. They have to be taken out and placed in a bin separately. I just went through security in Seattle and San Diego and then again Seattle this past week and that was the process.
Alan Wilson 2
Donna, a "gate checked" bag is terminology for a bag that you intend to carry on to the plane but in some circumstances, the bag will not fit in an overhead compartment or under the seat. In this case, the customer service agent at the desk will give you a pink or green bag tag to put on you bag and they then will load the carry on in the luggage compartment of the plane after all of the "checked" baggage is loaded. This usually happens on smaller aircraft(or Express flights) like Larry said in his comment above.
AWAAlum 2
Ahah! Egads, I'm 75 and still learning! Thanks, Alan.
Alan Wilson 2
No problem. I'm glad to see you here on FlightAware. There is a lot of smart flight folks on here that say some very valuable things. I need to amend my comment from above to also say that the ground handling people who load the bags aren't always employed by the airline you are flying with either so I can't blame the airline for mishandled bags even though they ultimately take responsibility for them.
united141 1
I agree, with that much value I would have shipped it to my destination via FedEx or UPS with that declared value...
thor nibus -4
How can you tell if a pilot is a captain?
You don't have to.
He'll tell you.
JetMech24 1
And apparently have no sense of humor.
Casey Strickland -1
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

United Airlines delays flight for man to see dying mother

(CNN) -- If Kerry Drake missed his connecting flight, he wouldn't get to the hospital in time to say goodbye to his mother.
Scott Campbell -1
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

United Airlines delays flight for man to see dying mother

Nice to see this, and Pilots like United's that day who worked outside the box to make this work


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