A man who suffered a life-changing brain injury has taken his first flight in three years with the help of British Airways .
A behind-the scenes video captured the journey made by Joe Dowd from Brentford , along with his wife, earlier this month.
Mr Dowd was left with significant physical and cognitive challenges after a brain aneurysm ruptured in June 2014 leaving him unable to fly.
Fast-forward three years and, as part of a long road to recovery, the 47-year-old has defied medics and learnt to walk again.
He then fulfilled his goal to fly again after completing a milestone journey from Heathrow Airport to Dublin to visit extended family.
Liz wrote a heartfelt letter to the airline to share her husband's story, who previously worked in banking and travelled the world, in the hope they could make his trip unforgettable.
And sure enough it was filled with a few surprises along the way including being whisked off to Heathrow in a Rolls Royce Phantom, a montage of well-wishes from family and friends as well as reaching his dreams of becoming a pilot with a tour of the flight deck with Captain Ben Collins.
But that wasn't all, Mr Dowd was invited for a day at BA's flight simulator with his sporting hero Chris Froome.
The couple, who previously lived in Australia, were also given a pair of complimentary business class tickets to Sydney to take them towards their ultimate desire to fly back to visit one day.
Mr Dowd said: “It’s been an amazing experience from start to finish. From being met by the British Airways ambassador to meeting Captain Ben and then surprising us with the Australia tickets, it was a day I’ll never forget!”
Mrs Dowd added: “When I wrote to British Airways telling them Joe’s story, I never imagined they would help make the journey so special.
"It was such an incredible and emotional milestone, Joe’s specialist team feel that he has returned even stronger. The whole experience was truly memorable and magical.”
Carolina Martinoli, BA director of brand and customer experience, said: “When Liz wrote to us and told us about Joe’s bravery, we wanted to do everything we could to make sure he had an enjoyable and seamless journey.
"Our ambassadors, ground staff, cabin crew and pilots worked hard to make sure it was a trip Joe and Liz would never forget. They are a truly inspirational and deserving couple.”
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