A “minor technical fault” – or possibly a wrong flight plan – has caused a long-haul international flight to turn back over halfway through, with passengers spending 12 hours in the air and ending up where they started.
The “flight to nowhere” was a BA7, a British Airways service to Tokyo from Heathrow. After flying about 6000 miles (9656km) the plane, a B777-300, turned back. It took off at noon on Thursday last week and landed back in Heathrow at midnight – an hour after it was due to land in in Japan.
The Aviation Herald said that a passenger reported that the crew announced a wrong flight plan had been filed.
Passenger Scott Eaton tweeted: “Easily #worstflightever London-Tokyo 12 hrs flying but landed where we started! Wrong flight plan. @British_Airways.”
The plane had reached northern Siberia when it turned around. Passengers were given overnight accommodation near Heathrow before catching the same flight, BA7, the next day.
At the end of last month, Singapore Airlines’ passengers faced another “flight to nowhere” – for a very serious reason. Flight SQ392 to Istanbul was over Allahabad in northern India, about 3560 kilometres from take-off in Singapore, when news of the terrorist attack on Istanbul airport reached the flight deck and the plane turned around and headed home.
The SIA flight was airborne for about four hours when it turned back. See: SIA turned back four hours into flight to avoid Istanbul The flight was rescheduled for departure at 12.30pm the following day, a delay of about 11 hours.
Written by Peter Needham