Wigan dad becomes overnight legend after stepping up to fly plane when pilot failed to show up

Michael Bradley
Michael Bradley

A Wigan dad has become an overnight legend after flying a plane full of holidaymakers to Spain when the pilot failed to show up.

Michael Bradley, an EasyJet pilot from Winstanley, has been applauded for stepping in to fly the plane that was taking him, his wife and his young son on holiday from Manchester to Alicante.

Michael Bradley and his wife

Michael Bradley and his wife

The former Byrchall High School student astonished passengers when he announced that he would be taking to the cockpit himself after they had waited two and a half hours for the scheduled pilot to show up.

Michael took to the tannoy on the plane, telling passengers that he deliberately took his ID and license with him to the airport when he heard they were facing delays.

A video taken by fellow passenger Michelle Potts, shows him saying: "My wife who's on row 15 with my little boy - hopefully he's asleep by now, I should keep it down or else I'll get told off - she rolled over and punched me in the back of the head and said 'our flight's delayed by two hours because they are minus one captain for the flight'....

"So just before we went through security I thought I wonder if this is worth a phone call, I think it is because I'd like to go on holiday.

The post from Michelle Potts

The post from Michelle Potts

"I phoned up easyJet and said 'Hiya, I'm standing in the terminal doing nothing. I have got my licence with me - deliberately from being punched in the back of the head at 3am - I have got my ID with me and I'd very much like to go on holiday and if you need a favour I'm standing here ready to go.

"They said 'we'll phone you back'. Thirty eight seconds later they phoned me back and said 'please, please pretty please with a big cherry on top, can you fly the aeroplane to Alicante'?

"So if you're alright for one of your pilots to look like this today, we'll go to Alicante" and was met with cheers from the passengers.”

The light-hearted captain received a huge round of applause from passengers as he headed into the cockpit for take off.

A spokesman for easyJet said the flight's delay was 'due to the knock on effects of the French ATC failure on Sunday'.

He said: "We are grateful to one of our pilots who was travelling on holiday from Manchester to Alicante on 2 September with his family and volunteered to operate the flight.

"This meant customers could get to their destination and shows the commitment and dedication of our crew.

“This is fully in line with regulations as he had his licence and ID with him. Safety is always our highest priority."