It's news that every traveler hates to hear: Your flight will be delayed.
But for an easyJet plane full of people heading from Manchester, England, to Alicante, Spain, on Monday, that news was followed by something unexpected. To get everyone off the ground, a fellow passenger would fly the plane.
Michelle Potts, who said she was on the flight, wrote on Facebook that she arrived at the airport to discover a delay of a couple of hours, then had to rush to the gate when she saw the information had changed and the flight was getting ready to take off.
"Get to boarding and asked the guy at the desk what's going on," she wrote. "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!!!"
The pilot was Michael Bradley, an easyJet pilot heading out for his own vacation. He said his wife had told him earlier that the flight was delayed because the airline was short a pilot.
After Bradley arrived at the airport, he said, he decided to see if he could be of use; he was already there, after all.
He said he called easyJet and explained that he was "doing nothing" at the terminal and had his license and identification with him. (He was not in uniform, but none of the passengers seemed to mind.)
In less than a minute — 38 seconds, to be exact — his phone rang: "They phoned me back and said, 'Please, please, pretty please with a big cherry on top, can you fly the airplane to Alicante?'"
A statement from easyJet said the airline was "grateful" to one of its pilots who "volunteered to operate the flight" while he was on vacation. His substitution was "fully in line with regulations," according to the statement.