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Airline Reroutes Plane With Passengers Onboard 325 Miles in the Wrong Direction to Pick Up an Extra Crew Member

Airline Reroutes Plane With Passengers Onboard 325 Miles in the Wrong Direction to Pick Up an Extra Crew Member

A planeload of passengers were taken to the wrong country so that their airline could pick up an extra crew member before continuing onto the intended destination. And it wasn’t even a one-off occurrence – the airline made the unexcepted stop twice in just one week.

The latest incident saw passengers aboard a TUI Airways flight from Norwich in the east of England to the Greek holiday resort of Corfu sent nearly 325 miles in the wrong direction to pick up a crew member in Belfast, Simple Flying reported.

Once on the ground in Belfast, an extra crew member boarded the plane and the Boeing 737 jet made its way to Corfu on a route that saw it pass straight back over Norwich where it had just come from.

The diversion cost the airline an additional 650 miles in fuel and resulted in the passengers getting to their intended destination nearly two and a half hours late. Flights operated by the same aircraft continued to be hit by rolling delays up to Saturday night.

The reason for the bizarre diversion is down to the fact that the plane actually belongs to Canada’s Sunwing Airlines and is being loaned to TUI Airways over Europe’s busy Summer holiday season.

While TUI’s cabin crew are trained to operate on the leased aircraft, only Sunwing’s own pilots are licensed to fly Sunwing aircraft which can throw up staffing challenges when the plane is operating away from its home base in Canada.

Sunwing only has a handful of pilots in Europe working on behalf of TUI so when someone goes sick or isn’t able to work a flight there might not be a replacement pilot available.

TUI and Sunwing had limited options – either cancel a flight or send a plane to pick up the crew member who was needed to operate another flight.

In this case, the airline chose the option that, at least, resulted in everyone getting to their final destination with a delay of less than a few hours.

A spokesperson for TUI Airways said it understood the “frustration” felt by passengers and apologised for any inconvenience they experienced.

View Comments (10)
  • get it but at the same time that’s going to screw up connecting flights people might not have made it in time and I do think the airline should absolutely be responsible for that and have to reimburse them or put them up in a hotel if necessary

  • “ SERIOUSLY?….. ‘ A spokesperson for TUI Airways said it understood the “frustration” felt by passengers and apologised for any inconvenience they experienced. ‘ What a poor excuse and even poorer Airline response. This never should have occurred and should never occur again. “

  • All done in the name of “safety”, for which passengers should be grateful and forgiving. The world is struggling with many unprecedented challenges and those making controversial but correct decisions should be lauded. Airline safety and air traffic control are complex and only understood after many hours of study and flying experience. Old, old instrument rated commercial pilot…….thanks to the VN G.I Bill benefits. .

  • What kind of flight crew was this was it a pilot was it just an attendant

    If it was a pilot all I would have to say is maybe there wasn’t a pilot at the airport that they were at pilots are only legally allowed to fly for a certain amount of time before they have to swap out that could have been the case they may have just flown to where the nearest pilot was what ever it is they probably didn’t do it for no reason

    And also you talking about wasting fuel the fuel that these airplanes use is actually easier to make than just regular vehicle fuel

  • Depending how long the flight is. Especially to international countries. When one flight lands as soon as the tires hit the run way the other one takes off right away the goal is to get the passengers. To their destination quick and safely depending on how many passengers you have that day make sure you have enough planes arriving and departing an assembly line order. Make sure you have a back up plane

  • Lordy people, we all have to go out of our to way sometimes so the bigger picture is taken care of. TUI did this for you and numerous other passengers that day. Get real. You can’t just “build a plane” or train airline staff overnight, it takes months and years. Cope!

  • Most of us when we were young including you had wished to become Pilots when we grow up but we later diverted now check what we have caused .

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