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Captain’s ultimate midair surprise

Pilot Surprises His Soldier Son on His Flight Home From Deployment0:55

A U.S. soldier returning from deployment got the surprise of a lifetime when his pilot father surprised him on his flight home. YouTube/Mario J. Lopes.

Emotions ran high. Picture: United Airlines IAD 777 Captain Mario Lopez

NOW this is love, people. An airline pilot has pulled off an incredible midair surprise for his son.

Washington-based United Airlines Captain Mario Lopes was shocked to be presented with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to pilot the April 14 flight that was to bring his son First Lieutenant Mario Lopes back from deployment overseas in the armed forces in Kuwait.

At the time, he didn’t know for sure it would be the same flight his son was on, but there was a good chance as the flight was scheduled for the same day and time he was due to return.

So he plotted a clever plan to give his son the ultimate welcoming.

“I told my wife that this couldn’t be a coincidence,” Cpt. Lopes said. “No one could confirm or deny if he would actually be a passenger on my aircraft, but I knew I had to take the chance and find out.”

So he told nobody but his wife, and asked her to bake their son’s favourite biscuits. On the day of the flight he briefed the crew on his plan to divert his son’s attention (including giving him the biscuits) and keep him hidden — until the moment he was ready to make his grand entrance once the flight had taken off.

The smiling dad and son team. Picture: United Airlines IAD 777 Captain Mario Lopes

The smiling dad and son team. Picture: United Airlines IAD 777 Captain Mario Lopes

“I came up behind him and said, ‘First Lieutenant Lopes! What are you doing on my aircraft?’ He turned around, and we immediately embraced for quite some time after he realised it was me.”

The touching moment was all captured on camera, with Cpt. Lopes telling ABC Newsit was an unforgettable moment: “I cannot express the emotions I felt holding my son after not seeing him for so long.

“I have been flying since I was 17, I’ve worked for multiple companies prior to my 27-year career at United. I’ve had a lot of memories, but this flight is by far the most important to me.”

Emotions ran high. Picture: United Airlines IAD 777 Captain Mario Lopez

Emotions ran high. Picture: United Airlines IAD 777 Captain Mario Lopez

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