Pilot – Son Of The Airline’s Chairman – Sends Distress Signal By Mistake, Gets Intercepted By F16s

An Airbus A321 from Madrid to Beirut operated by SkyTeam member Middle East Airlines was intercepted by Greek F-16 fighter jets after the pilot of August 10th’s flight 242, son of the airline’s Chairman and Director General, became non-responsive to air traffic control after signaling a distress code. Nothing was wrong, and the flight’s captain may have simply failed to communicate on the correct frequency.

Despite several attempts reportedly to contact the aircraft, no radio response was received, causing authorities to become concerned about the plane’s condition.

Greek officials then deployed F-16 fighters to Souda and approached the aircraft over Argolis in the northeastern Peloponnese.

Seeing a fighter jet flying alongside the commercial plane is jarring.

Beirut-based Middle East Airlines is owned by Lebanon’s Central Bank. Its country is undergoing one of the worst economic crises in the world. While much of the criticism is leveled at cronyism and corruption, it’s worth noting that Middle East Airlines had been largely profitable at least before the pandemic.

(HT: P.K.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Oh the poor boy … what a blunder. I feel very sorry for him, even tho I’m laughing hysterically.

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