UK & World News

  • 8 March 2013, 13:20

Flight Held For Man Rushing To Dying Mother

An airline has been praised for holding a flight for a man rushing to get home to see his dying mother.

Kerry Drake knew his connection in Houston was tight but he had no other option if he wanted any chance of making it all the way to his family in Lubbock, Texas, in time.

But his hopes slimmed as the first leg of his 1,200-mile trip from San Francisco was delayed before he even took off.

The United Airlines jet made up some time en route but it became clear Mr Drake's mother could well have passed away before he managed to get home.

"I knew this itinerary was a risk," he told consumer advocate blogger Christopher Elliott.

"But I needed to get there as soon as possible, so I took the risk."

Obviously distraught, flight attendants brought him extra napkins to wipe away his tears and relayed his story to the captain.

When he arrived late in Houston, Mr Drake thought all was lost - but the airline had other ideas.

"As I was running up to the gate, the gate agent saw me coming and shouted, 'Mr Drake? We've been expecting you'," he said.

The pilot had radioed ahead to get the second United flight held for him.

"Had I missed my flight to Lubbock, I would not have been able to tell my mom goodbye," he said.

His mother died just hours after he got home.

Mr Drake wrote a letter to thank the airline staff who went out of their way to help him.

"Our employees really worked together that day to help this customer," United spokeswoman Megan McCarthy told CNN.