Saudi Prince helps fly-fearing Joe Thompson, 11, get home
The Saudi Arabia Ambassador to the UK has stepped in to help a boy from Somerset who is too terrified to get on a plane to fly home from the UAE.
Joe Thompson, 11, was due to fly from Abu Dhabi with his parents on 1 July, but said his body "locks down" every time he goes near the airport.
Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Al-Saud has arranged for Joe and his father Tony to be issued with visas to pass through Saudi Arabia by land.
The pair hope to set off next week.
Joe, from Weston, who has been flying since he was three months old, said he did not know what was behind his reaction to flying now.
"I was quite fine in the car and then once I got to the check-in desk, that's when I became terrified," he said.
The boy has taken medicine and tried hypnotism to get over his fear of flying but nothing has worked.'Less stressed'
Mr Thompson arranged for them to return by ship via Saudi Arabia but he could not get a visa for the country.
Now thanks to the intervention of the ambassador, they will be granted visas.
"Joe and I have been given the green light to be issued visas to pass through Saudi Arabia by land which is quite rare they tell me," said Mr Thompson.
"Prince Mohammed has asked to be kept updated, so I have top-level support."
They have also been offered a car and driver by car firm VW to get them back to the UK.
"I went to meet VW in Dubai yesterday to agree the route so now I just need to apply for the visas," said Mr Thompson.
For Joe, the intervention of the Saudi Arabia ambassador is a huge relief.
"The best thing is I'll get home less stressed [travelling this way] than by anything else," he said.