United Airlines Pilot Paid for a College Student's Safe Trip Home After She Got Stranded
Pacific University student Kiana Coffin was flying back to Portland, Oregon from Hawaii when she suddenly ran into some plane trouble. In a video posted by United Airlines, Kiana explains her ordeal trying to get back home.
While the video does not state when the incident occurred, it was posted on United’s YouTube channel just in time for Father’s Day.
Coffin is a Hawaii native, so she was traveling back from vacation when her plane, operated by a different airline, got diverted to Seattle due to bad weather. Her dad, Dave Coffin, was still back in Hawaii when he heard about his daughter’s predicament.
“The airline had basically stuck her in a hotel room overnight and had forgotten about her,” Coffin said in the video. He said that Kiana sounded “panicked” when he spoke to her on the phone, and he even considered booking a flight for himself to go get her. That’s when United Airlines pilot Robert Fonte stepped in to save the day.
Fonte was walking through the same airport when he saw Kiana talking to a TSA agent, apparently in tears. “I thought that maybe she was in trouble,” Fonte said in the video.
When he asked if she was okay, Kiana told him about her desperate situation. Fonte seemed determined to help Kiana, especially because he had a daughter of the same age. “I have a daughter that’s about a year older than Kiana...what if she got stuck?” Fonte said.
With that in mind, Fonte led Kiana to the United ticket counter to see if they could sort out her problem. Unfortunately, United does not have any direct flights to Portland, meaning that flying her there would be more expensive and time-consuming than they might have hoped.
“I told the lobby agent you know what? Just put it on my card,” said Fonte. “We're gonna get Kiana where she needed to be.”
It seems that they were unable to make arrangements on United, so the ticketing agent booked a different airline on Fonte’s card. Thankfully, Kiana made it back to her home at her university in Oregon without further problems, and her dad was extremely thankful.
“From dad to dad, there are no words that could express my gratitude towards Robert for what he has done,” said Coffin.
Fonte’s daughter, Annelise, also appears in the video. She wasn’t surprised that her dad did such a good deed. “He has such a giving heart and loves to help people,” she said.