14 Sep 2017

British Airways Nightmare Athens Flight Takes 33 Hours and Four Planes

British Airways Plane in Flight

British Airways passengers experienced a 33-hour ordeal after a string of failures on their journey which should have taken only 4 hours. The airline has apologised to the passengers involved.

The ordeal began when the flight, from London to Athens, was delayed by a faulty cockpit warning light. This flight (due to depart at 13:15) was cancelled, and the passengers were put on a later flight at 17:00. This second flight was then cancelled due to mismanagement of staff, as the crew had exceeded their legal working hours.

Passenger Geoff Lye said the pilot told them it was “the most embarrassing PA announcement” he had made.

Passengers then had to wait a further hour on this plane before they could disembark, due to ‘security issues’. The airline then gave the passengers vouchers for accommodation for an overnight stay, with a view to departing the following day.

The flight eventually departed at 13:15 the following day, only to turn back and make an emergency landing shortly after, when the starboard engine caught fire.

Mr Lye told the Evening Standard: “We just took off and there was a bang and it was the engine next to me. There was this huge noise and a judder, and then there were about six more bangs. It was one bang after another.

“I’m an atheist but even I was praying. Our hearts were racing. Passengers behind me said they could see flames kicking out from the engine.”

Passengers were put on another flight departing at 19:40, and eventually arrived at Athens in the early hours of the following morning, 33 hours late.

BA confirmed there were four planes involved in the two-day ordeal. A spokesperson said: “Following a technical fault with the aircraft a replacement was provided, but after crew members went over their allocated working hours, the flight was nightstopped.”

“The next day the replacement aircraft returned to Heathrow after a technical fault and another aircraft continued the journey to Athens.”

“Our teams on the ground were trying their best to provide customers with as much info as possible when they had it.”

We fully appreciate how frustrating this experience has been, and have apologised to our customers for the long delay to their flight.”

Affected passengers should waste no time in claiming compensation from the airline, who should pay out due to the reasons for the delay.

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