British Airways passengers arrive in London 11 hours after leaving…London   

Eliyahu Yosef Parypa / Shutterstock

In what would appear to be developing into a trend, passengers onboard a British Airways flight from London to Hong Kong were unhappy to discover that 11 hours after departing from London-Heathrow Airport (LHR), their aircraft touched down not at Hong Kong Chep Lap Kok International Airport, but back at…London-Heathrow Airport. 

The flight in question, carrying flight number BA031, departed Heathrow at 20:55 on Saturday, June 29, 2024, with an expected arrival time in Hong Kong at 15:20 the following afternoon. The flight was operated by one of the airline’s Boeing 777-200ER aircraft with registration G-YMMI. 

With the aircraft five hours into its journey and cruising at 35,000ft having just entered Turkmenistan airspace, the flight made a quick 180-degree about turn and headed back west towards London. The aircraft landed back at Heathrow at 06:55 on the morning of Sunday, June 30, 2024, exactly 11 hours after departure.  


In a statement regarding the incident, the airline said: “The flight returned to London Heathrow as a precaution due to a minor technical issue. It landed safely and customers disembarked as normal. We’ve apologized to our customers for the disruption to their journey.” 

According to the travel website PYOK, the reason given as to why the flight did not divert to another airport closer by was that it was not an urgent issue and the fault needed to be dealt with by British Airways’ own maintenance team, who are based at Heathrow – the airline’s main base.  

According to data obtained from Flightradar24, since returning to Heathrow, the aircraft was quickly fixed and returned to airworthy status as it was soon on its way to Mumbai, India as BA199 later that same day. 

Markus Mainka / Shutterstock

However, such luck was not afforded to some of the passengers on the BA031 11-hour flight to nowhere. Having been rebooked onto the airline’s next available flight bound for Hong Kong, that being BA031 on June 30, 2024, that flight only made it as far as Budapest in Hungary after a medical emergency onboard caused it to divert to the Hungarian airport.       

In June 2024, British Airways passengers flying from London to Houston got a nasty surprise when their flight landed back at its origin after almost nine hours of flying rather than touching down in the Texan city due to a technical fault.  

Meanwhile, in April 2024, another set of British Airways passengers endured a five-hour flight to nowhere after the Airbus A380 they were flying on was forced to return to Singapore. These passengers had already suffered an almost four-hour delay to their flight before they eventually took off, but a technical issue had delayed their original departure time.   

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