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Two British Airways Flights Are Cancelled On the Premier JFK Route Due to ‘Funny Smells’ in Just Two Days, With One Returning Shortly After Takeoff

Two British Airways Flights Are Cancelled On the Premier JFK Route Due to ‘Funny Smells’ in Just Two Days, With One Returning Shortly After Takeoff

a plane taking off from a runway

Two British Airways flights on the airline’s premier route between London Heathrow and New York JFK were cancelled over two days after separate reports of what has been described by several sources as “funny smells” onboard.

One of the two flights had just taken off when the pilots reported an unusual smell in the flight deck resulting in a decision to dump fuel over the Atlantic Ocean before returning to JFK, where the plane could be checked over by emergency services and engineers.

The first incident occurred on Tuesday evening when the pilots of British Airways flight BA176 reported a “smell of fumes” in the cockpit. The pilots of the 25-year-old Boeing 777-200 aircraft were forced to put on oxygen masks as they dumped fuel off the US East Coast before making an emergency return to JFK.

After landing, a decision was taken to scrap the flight, but the plane was returned to service the next day and is continuing to operate flights to and from New York JFK.

Less than 24 hours later, a second flight due to depart from London Heathrow to New York JFK was met by airport fire services as it was taxiing for departure after reports of a “bad smell” in the cabin.

Engineers weren’t immediately able to identify the cause of the smell, which was reportedly causing some crew and passengers to suffer headaches and itchy eyes onboard the two-and-a-half-year-old Boeing 777-300.

As a result, British Airways was forced to scrap the outbound service to New York and the return flight, which was due to fly back to Heathrow on Wednesday evening.

Because the cause of both flight cancellations is likely to be attributed to an engineering issue, British Airways might be on the hook for paying compensation for the delay suffered by passengers.

After the UK left the European Union, it adopted Europe’s generous air passenger rights into its own law and in the case of a long-haul flight, British Airways might be forced to pay £520 per affected customer if the cause of the delay is not found to be an ‘extraordinary circumstance’.

In a statement, a spokesperson for British Airways told us: “The safety of our customers and crew is always our priority and will never be compromised.”

The statement continued: “We apologised to our customers for the inconvenience caused and offered an alternative flight or a full refund.” A source told us that British Airways checked out both aircraft, and both planes are now back flying.

It’s relatively easy to make a compensation claim under the EU’s air passenger regulations for delayed or cancelled flights which are known as EC261 (or the British equivalent, which is referred to as UK261).

There can, however, be a fair amount of haggling with airlines over whether they are actually responsible and therefore required to pay compensation, so many passengers with a valid claim make use of specialist claims agencies like AirHelp.

Companies like AirHelp make their money by taking a small cut from any compensation that is paid out but passengers who lack the time or effort to submit a claim find the service offered by AirHelp pretty useful. You can check whether you have a valid claim here.

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