Last October, eight year old Luke Jones and his older brother David travelled with their family to Gran Canaria on holiday. Luke, who has autism, became increasingly anxious about the flight prior to take-off but thanks to the support from Monarch’s customers and crew on board, Luke’s family managed to settle him so they could continue with their holiday. A post from the family thanking everyone for their support then became a hit on social media.

The story was seen by Monarch CEO, Andrew Swaffield, and the Jones family were invited to spend a day at Manchester Airport to see what goes on behind the scenes to help Luke and his family prepare for their next holiday

Monarch Airlines Keen to Learn How to Support Customers with Hidden Disabilities

Capt Luke was given a day to remember by Monarch

The family recently took Andrew up on his offer, and had a day to remember!

Luke and his brother were treated to a full private tour of Manchester Airport, with visits to the Runway Visitor Park, lunch in the Runway Café and the chance to watch aircraft take off from the runway.

They also had a tour of Concorde during their visit, spent time with some Monarch crew and had the opportunity to ask questions. 

The highlight for Luke and his brother was being given the opportunity to sit in the captain’s seat in the cockpit.

Leanne Stant, Service Excellence Manager at Monarch, who accompanied the family on the visit said, “I would like to thank Lauren and her wonderful family for allowing us to arrange a special treat for Luke and David. They were a charming family and we had the most amazing day. The family thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Monarch aircraft and how the airport operates and we would like to thank the team at Manchester Airport for their excellent hospitality. Monarch has exciting times ahead, continually raising awareness to assist our customers who have hidden disabilities.”

Commenting on the whole experience, Lauren said, “The fact that Monarch are working with the National Autistic Society shows that they are seeking to understand  people with autism and reduce the stress of carers like myself because they have an awareness and can show empathy.

Monarch Airlines Keen to Learn How to Support Customers with Hidden Disabilities

Luke and David in the captain’s seat

“Thanks to the crew on our flight last year we were able to take-off and continue our holiday. We are so grateful to Monarch and Manchester Airport for providing us with such a wonderful experience – it is something that Luke will remember forever.”


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Nisha Kotecha is the Founder of Good News Shared. Having worked and volunteered for charities in the UK for over 10 years, Nisha is on a mission to highlight how amazing charities are.