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A TUI pilot avoided a “Home Alone” moment after a young girl lost her passport by turning an airliner around and returning to the airport to pick her up.
Adrian Insley had been on holiday in Tenerife with his partner, their four children and his parents
The family group was due to board TUI flight to East Midlands Airport around 10pm on Friday, August 26, but they made a stop at the airport's Duty Free shop before proceeding to the security check.
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Adrian, 38, told Nottinghamshire Live: "I am very organised with my passport, I even have a bag for them, but this time my partner said she needs a passport to get something from Duty Free, and then she put the passport in the bag.
"Our flight was delayed and the airport was very busy because there were three flights to the UK".
However, it was not until he lined up for the security checks that he realised the Duty Free bag was nowhere to be found. "I am starting to panic because I do not know where it is. And then the realisation set in there. We do not have a passport – we are missing one.
"I went and spoke to to the security personnel and they told me that I cannot board without a passport. So I had to send all my family through, and it is just me and my daughter that were left behind because of my daughter's missing passport.
"So it got a bit hairy because I did not know what to do. I have got to find somewhere to stay, I have got to find transport, and I have got to organise for a temporary passport – there is a lot of organising in a very short amount of time."
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The dad and his "emotionally distressed" seven-year-old daughter were left behind watching the rest of the family going through the gate.
He said: "My children were crying, my partner was crying. The reps on the other planes asked all the passengers to check their bags."
In an unexpected turn of events, the daughter's missing passport was eventually found – however, it was too late for them to catch their scheduled flight as their plane had just left.
"I had to go back in the airport area, which caused a bit of a problem with the security guards who told me I could not leave past that point. There was a bit of a language barrier which was hair raising."
When he finally recovered the missing passport, he was told he could no longer get on the scheduled flight.
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Adrian's mum Sharon Insley said that the flight was ready to take off when a member of the aircrew came to tell her to contact her son.
“I was gobsmacked because I have never ever in all my time flying, ever known that they can come back for you,” she said.
"They then apologised saying they would not be able to put Adrian's luggage back on. We said we do not care, it was amazing, just incredible.
"And then they managed to put his luggage back in anyway", Mrs Insley added. "We had an amazing holiday and everything was top notch, obviously just a bit of trauma.
"I have actually tried to thank TUI, but they have only got a portal for complaints. When all you hear about the travel industry is doom and gloom, we just wanted to share some exceptional customer service our family encountered over the bank holiday weekend."
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