Hundreds of British Airways colleagues have gone the extra mile during the current period of severe disruption to alleviate problems for customers and the case of off-duty cabin crew member Anita Cummins is a good example.

She was safely aboard a BA flight from Geneva to Heathrow on a Hotline ticket when the pilot, Captain Russell Turner, made an appeal over the public address system for a volunteer to disembark in order to allow the plane to take off.

The problem was that the aircraft had three rather than four cabin crew rostered to serve the customers and that meant it could only operate with a maximum of 130 passengers.

Unfortunately, 132 customers were allowed to board and so two had to be asked to leave. The turn round manager duly asked two travellers with no baggage in the hold to disembark but one, who was traveling with a group, refused.

It was at this point that Anita – a Eurofleet purser – came to the rescue by offering to act as a crew member and take responsibility for one of the doors.

On the basis that the flight now had four qualified crew members the plane was given permission to set off for Heathrow.

“Without the offer of assistance by Anita the flight would have been further delayed by a considerable amount,” said Captain Turner in his report. “Not only would we have had to find a ‘willing volunteer’ but also it would have required bags to have been offloaded.“

“Anita’s kind offer of help has, not only put British Airways in a good light with our passengers, but saved British Airways a considerable amount of money by avoiding further delay.

“Thanks to her help, and her help alone, British Airways took a plane full of happy people to LHR – they even gave her a round of applause on disembarkation. She is a credit to British Airways.”

A modest Anita says: “I know these were unusual circumstances but crew are used to dealing with tricky and difficult situations. We often have to think ahead or act quickly. The passengers were clapping as they thought I was volunteering to off load myself.

“By offering to be a door operator it meant that no one was off loaded, there wasn’t a further delay trying to find bags and it meant that I, all the passengers and crew could get back to London.

“At the end of the flight everyone clapped and cheered again. I’m sure they won’t forget that flight in a hurry and nor will I.”