Southwest Airlines returns passenger's lost phone by throwing it at pilot on runway

Airline staff at an airport in the US state of Colorado have been praised after a video of the team going the extra mile to help a passenger was shared on Twitter.

A Southwest Airlines staff member found a mobile phone that had been left behind by a passenger in the departure lounge. However, the passenger's flight had already left its departure gate and was about to taxi to the runway.

With the owner of the phone just a phone's throw away, the fast thinking staff member alerted ground crews and had air traffic control contact the cockpit asking them to stop for a mid-tarmac handover of the phone to the pilot who was around 5m above him.

With the condition of the phone at stake, a ground crew member had one shot to jump and pass it to the aircraft pilot, who was leaning out the window ready to catch it.

In a tweet, the airline explained how it happened - in a very NBA way.

"Employees see a customer's left-behind phone in the gate area, but the plane is already pushed back from the gate. Shot clock is running low. Team LGB moves the phone down the terminal with alarming speed & hands it off to Power Ramper KJ on the tarmac. He shoots, he scores!"

In layman's terms, that means they were successful in the handover.

The act was praised by hundreds of people online and even received an endorsement from the local police department.

"Now THAT is some good customer service. Nicely done, SW team, above and beyond!" said a tweet from the official account of the Lakewood Police Department