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A Southwest pilot leaned out of his cockpit window to retrieve a passenger's lost cellphone after it was left behind at a departure gate

Business Insider logo Business Insider 11/18/2022 psyme@insider.com (Pete Syme)
A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 jet at a gate in Austin, Texas George Rose/Getty Images © George Rose/Getty Images A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 jet at a gate in Austin, Texas George Rose/Getty Images
  • Southwest Airlines staff found a passenger's lost phone, but their plane had left the gate.
  • Workers at Long Beach Airport called the flight's captain, who came up with an ingenious solution.
  • The pilot stretched out of the cockpit window to retrieve the phone from a jumping groundstaff member.

An airplane pilot leaned out of his cockpit window to retrieve a passenger's phone which had been left behind at the departure gate.

Southwest Airlines shared a video of the incident on Twitter, which shows the captain stretching out of the plane and three other employees trying to reach him.

The shortest member of staff attempts first but can't get high enough, before a taller worker takes the phone from him and successfully jumps to the pilot's reaching hand. 

The tweet — posted on World Kindness Day — added that the staff "didn't hesitate" after noticing the lost phone in a gate area, despite the flight being "already boarded and pushed back from the gate."

CNN reported that the passenger's phone was spotted by a customer on another flight, who then notified Southwest staff, but the Boeing 737 had already left the gate – prompting the dramatic scenes.

A Southwest spokesperson said that the workers realized the flight was fully boarded so they got in touch with the captain. "The captain immediately suggested that the ramp agents on the ground try to jump the phone up to him so he could return it to the customer," the airline told Insider.

"The rest was captured on video!"

Southwest added that the passenger who found the phone had earlier been chatting with its owner, so they knew which flight they were on. 

Long Beach Airport was the 10th busiest in California with 2.1 million passengers last year, and has flights to 16 locations in the US.

It is unclear when the video was taken, so it can't be determined where Southwest's N8665D plane was traveling to on this occasion. 

The airport could not be reached for comment outside working hours. 

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