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Passengers On a British Airways Flight to Houston Endure 9-Hour Flight to Nowhere After Pilots Turn Back Just as Plane Reaches North America

Passengers On a British Airways Flight to Houston Endure 9-Hour Flight to Nowhere After Pilots Turn Back Just as Plane Reaches North America

a plane on the runway

Passengers on a British Airways service from London Heathrow to Houston were forced to endure a nine-hour flight to nowhere on Monday after the pilots decided to turn back just as the flight had reached North America.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, with as many as 216 passengers onboard, ended up backtracking across the Atlantic and landed exactly where it started at London Heathrow at around 7 pm on Monday evening.

The flight time for this flight to nowhere was nine hours, which is just 30-40 minutes less than the time it normally takes to fly between London and Houston. In fact, on June 4, the same flight made it to Houston in just 9 hours and 9 minutes, helped along by strong tailwinds.

Having boarded flight BA195 before 9 am in the morning, the passengers and crew spent the entire day on the plane and had nothing to show for it at the end.

It’s understood that a technical issue was detected with one of the plane’s Rolls-Royce Trent engines as it was approaching Newfoundland, Canada. The issue didn’t pose an immediate safety risk but would require inspection and potential engineering work.

Rather than continuing onto Houston or diverting to another US airport where British Airways has limited engineering resources, the airline ordered the plane back to Heathrow, where there is a British Airways maintenance base.

Last October, the same plane (registration: G-ZBKN) was forced to divert to Anchorage, Alaska, during a flight from Tokyo after a passenger’s mobile phone got stuck and then crushed in a seat, causing smoke to start filling the cabin.

The plane remained on the ground in Anchorage for around three and a half hours before continuing onto Toronto, where, by this point, the crew had ‘timed out’ and the flight had to be grounded so that the pilots and cabin crew could get some rest.

In the end, the passengers ended up reaching London 33 hours late.

View Comments (2)
  • Houston has many trained mechanics and many airlines get Rolls maintenance. Its mote costly than at their home base. I think the choice was a bad one.

  • Surprised they had enough fuel for a 180 reverse of a 9 hour flight, thought they carry just enough extra for an hour or two of delay/fly around.

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