A passenger jet was forced to return to the airport soon after takeoff this weekend, when a passenger realized she had left her baby at the terminal.
The Saudia plane had been due to fly from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, but had to return to the King Abdul Aziz International Airport when the forgetful mother demanded she be reunited with her child.
Video footage captured the baffled air control operators speaking by radio with the pilots, who were doing their best to explain the bizarre situation. As they did so, the airport staff were trying to establish the protocol for such a scenario, Gulf News reported.
“May God be with us. Can we come back or what?” the pilot can be heard asking the air traffic controllers. After noting the flight number, the operator asks a colleague what protocol they should follow, if one even exists.
“This flight is requesting to come back…a passenger forgot her baby in the waiting area, the poor thing,” the pilot continued. Air traffic staff then pressed the pilot to confirm the story, to which he replied: “We told you, a passenger left her baby in the terminal and refuses to continue the flight.”
With the story straight, the operator then gave them the all-clear to turn around and return to Jeddah. “Ok, head back to the gate,” he said. “This is totally a new one for us!”
According to Gulf News and GDN Online, readers took to social media to post responses to the mix-up. While some praised the pilots for their understanding and humanity in such a tricky situation, others said the carelessness of the mother concerning. Tens of thousands of people have now watched the video.
No further information about the mother or the child was available, but it appears the two were reunited once the plane returned to the Red Sea port city.
Other similar incidents have taken significantly more time to resolve. In October 2018, for example, a German couple left their 5-year-old daughter at an airport in the southern city of Stuttgart.
Police found the girl wandering around the airport, and it was not clear how long she had been left alone. Her mother later called police to see if her daughter had been found. The woman explained that she and her husband drove different cars home from the airport, and each parent thought the child was with the other.