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When a short flight seemed to go on forever

September 19, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A British retiree who took a short holiday flight from London to Greece found his flight turn into an ordeal involving four planes – including one that caught fire – with the trip taking so long he could have flown to Sydney in less time.

In a vivid account in London’s Evening Standard, retiree Geoff Lye said he was supposed to board his four-hour British Airways flight from London to Athens last week early on Tuesday afternoon. It was cancelled because of a faulty cockpit light and rescheduled for 5pm that evening.

By the time the flight was ready to take off, however, the crew had run out of hours, so that flight was also cancelled.

Lye said British Airways paid for passengers to spend the night at a hotel. The airline rescheduled the flight for next day. Finally, the plane took off and all was well – until passengers heard several loud bangs – and the starboard engine caught fire.

Lye described the experience as a nightmare.

“I’m an atheist but even I was praying,” he told the Evening Standard. “Our hearts were racing. Passengers behind me said they could see flames kicking out from the engine.”

A fourth flight took off Wednesday evening, and relieved passengers finally reached Athens in the early hours of Thursday.

The entire ordeal took 33 hours, almost 10 times the normal flight time of three and a half hours. Lye could have flown to Australia comfortably in the time it took him to reach Athens.

Hopefully his return journey from Athens to London won’t take as long – though you couldn’t blame him if he decided to catch a bus.

Written by Peter Needham

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