A British Airways (BA) flight heading for Düsseldorf in Germany made an unscheduled arrival in Edinburgh after its pilot allegedly got ‘lost’.
The flight – operated by WDL Aviation on behalf of BA – from London City Airport set off at 7:47 AM local time, with the aim of reaching Germany later that morning.
However, instead of heading east toward Düsseldorf, the plane unexpectedly went north toward Edinburgh where it landed at 9 AM local time.
Surprisingly, the mistake was only spotted after passengers were welcomed to Edinburgh.
According to one account, The Guardian reported, the pilot then took a show of hands from passengers to see who had expected to land in Germany.
BA said the fault with the path of BA3271, which went more than 800km in the wrong direction after takeoff on Monday morning, lay with its German operator.
BA said a paperwork error was to blame, The Guardian report, with the pilot following orders from Germany, where WDL’s head office had filed the incorrect flight plan.
“We are working with WDL Aviation, who operated this flight on behalf of British Airways, to establish why the incorrect flight plan was filed,” said British Airways.
“We have apologised to customers for this interruption to their journey and will be contacting them all individually.”
Frequent flyer Son Tran took to Twitter to tweet BA directly.
@British_Airways can you please explain how can my morning flight taking off from LCY to Dusseldorf land in Edinburgh ?? While an interesting concept, I don't think anyone on board has signed up for this mystery travel lottery… #BA3271 #frequenttravel #britishairways
— Son Tran (@sontrantuan) March 25, 2019
Startled passengers reported at first believing that the pilot was joking, when a “welcome to Edinburgh” announcement was made from the cockpit.
Sophie Cooke, a 24-year-old management consultant who travels from London to Düsseldorf weekly, told the BBC she asked the cabin crew if they were serious.
Cooke said: “The pilot said he had no idea how it had happened. He said it had never happened before and that the crew was trying to work out what we could do.”
The passengers were asked to raise their hands if they wanted to go to Düsseldorf. All did.
After more than two hours on the tarmac at Edinburgh airport, the refuelled passenger jet took off again for Düsseldorf.
“We’re a welcoming airport that is always happy to greet visitors from all over the world to our fantastic city, but this was a surprise for us as well as them,” a spokesperson for Edinburgh Airport said. “We were happy to work with the various teams across the airport to help make the trip to Edinburgh a pleasurable, albeit short, one.”