A flight from London to Düsseldorf in Germany accidentally flew to the wrong airport 500 miles away in Scotland in a bizarre paperwork error.
The passengers aboard the BA3271 flight from London City Airport on March 25 only realized the mix up when the pilot cheerfully announced their arrival on the final approach to Edinburgh airport.
The flight was a British Airways flight operated by WDL.
Passenger Sophie Cooke 24, told the BBC that when the pilot first made the announcement that they would soon be landing in Edinburgh, the passengers all assumed it was a joke. She had to ask the cabin crew if they were serious.
When they realized the error, the pilot asked for a show of hands to see which passengers wanted to go to Düsseldorf. They all did.
Three hours after the flight was supposed to have landed in Düsseldorf, it left the tarmac in Edinburgh.
“It became very frustrating. The toilets were blocked and they ran out of snacks. It was also really stuffy,” she said.
In a statement on Twitter, the airport wrote, “As pleasant as Edinburgh is this time of year, we’re sorry that passengers travelling to Dusseldorf on BA3271, operated by WDL Aviation, initially landed in the Scottish capital, rather than their intended destination. This was due to an incorrect flight plan submitted by WDL.”
Not a great start to the week —thanks to a mistakenly filed flight plan, a WDL Aviation flight operating for British Airways flew to Edinburgh when it was supposed to go to Düsseldorf. https://t.co/1y1byUZrCm pic.twitter.com/rMlYBSDll5
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) March 25, 2019
One passenger sent a tweet to British Airways—which leased the flight to WDL—from the tarmac in Edinburgh.
“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…”
The passenger, named Son Tran, added, “This feels like an honest mistake rather than a diversion. The crew was convinced of the Edinburgh flight path from the get-go…”
Passengers apparently only realized they were in the wrong country when an announcement was made welcoming them to Edinburgh.
A BA spokesman said in an email, “We are working with WDL Aviation, who operated this flight on behalf of British Airways, to establish why the incorrect flight plan was filed.”
“We have apologised to customers for this interruption to their journey and will be contacting them all individually.”
In a statement sent via email, WDL Aviation said: “We are working closely with the authorities to investigate how the obviously unfortunate mix-up of flight schedules could occur. At no time has the safety of passengers been compromised.”
Another passenger on the flight, Peter James-Hamilton, wrote on Twitter,” I have fallen asleep, missed my stop and woken up at the end of the district line [a subway line in London] before. This morning I never expected to wake up from my Dusseldorf bound flight…in Edinburgh!”
I have fallen asleep, missed my stop and woken up at the end of the district line before. This morning I never expected to wake up from my Dusseldorf bound flight…in Edinburgh! @British_Airways #BritishAirways #BA3271
— Peter James-Hamilton (@PJamesHamilton) March 25, 2019
Some commentators on social media pondered how the passengers could have failed to notice the fact that the flight should have been flying over the open sea between Britain and Germany within 10 minutes.
“I’m sure there would’ve been at least one passenger looking out the window thinking ‘We should be over water by now,'” wrote one Twitter user.
@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