At least two members of British Airways cabin crew were ordered to strip off their brand new Ozwald Boateng-designed uniforms and put on paper romper suits after some sort of ‘fume’ event allegedly caused them to fall sick during a flight from Barcelona to London Heathrow on Sunday.
British Airways flight BA475 was met by a huge emergency response after it landed around 30 minutes at Heathrow with firefighters carrying out a sweep of the cabin and passengers being evacuated onto the tarmac as first responders carried out an investigation.
Photographer James Cheadle, who was on the flight, described what then happened in a series of posts on social media network X, saying the crew had fallen sick upon landing after smoke or fumes were detected in the cockpit.
“Some cabin crew have been told to strip after falling ill,” Cheadle said. In one photo, two crew members could be seen dressed in paper suits that are commonly worn by decorators.
The London Fire Brigade sent a specialist HART team to the scene (hazardous area response team) but nothing of concern was detected.
“The chemical team did a sweep of plane and found no elevated readings. It is unclear whether there are any injuries at this stage, but certainly not significantly,” a fire brigade spokesperson told the Mirror.
In a statement, a spokesperson for British Airways said the 21-year-old Airbus A320 aircraft that was operating the flight had suffered a ‘technical issue’.
“The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority,” the airline told us. “This aircraft landed normally at Heathrow following reports of a technical issue. Customers disembarked the aircraft safely via steps, and we’ve apologised to them for the delay and inconvenience caused to their journey.”
The Airbus A320 aircraft has air supplied to the cabin through the engines, which is known as ‘bleed air’, and then filtered through an air conditioning system. The cause of the alleged fume event has not, however, been established.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.