British Airways passengers from London endure nine-hour flight to nowhere 

Markus Mainka / Shutterstock

British Airways passengers flying from London to Houston on June 10, 2024, were in for an unwelcome surprise when their flight landed back at its origin after almost nine hours of flying rather than touching down in the Texan city.  

According to data obtained from Flightradar24, British Airways flight BA195 departed London-Heathrow Airport (LHR) at 09:57 local time, 32 minutes late. The flight, operated by one of the carrier’s 18-strong fleet of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners (registered G-ZBKN) headed west over the Atlantic and reached its cruising altitude of 38,000ft without issue.  

The flight made it as far as the Labrador coastline of Newfoundland, Canada. However, at around four hours and 30 minutes after departure from Heathrow, the flight suddenly turned south before heading eastwards back towards its point of departure. The aircraft eventually touched down back at Heathrow at 18:54 local time, eight hours and 57 minutes after it had left the same airport earlier that day. 

Flightradar24

According to a British Airways statement, the turnback was taken as a precautionary measure following what the airline described as a “minor technical fault”. The carrier apologized to the passengers onboard who were accommodated in hotels at Heathrow overnight before being flown out the following day (June 11, 2024).  

Although British Airways failed to disclose the specific reason for the rather lengthy diversion, some media outlets have stated the aircraft suffered issues with one of its two Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines. However, this would seem unlikely given that the aircraft subsequently returned across the Atlantic – a lengthy flight over water.  

The aircraft involved in this incident is a 7.8-year-old example, having been delivered new to British Airways in September 2016. The aircraft seats 216 passengers in a four-class layout (eight in first class, 42 in business class, 39 in premium economy, and 127 in economy).  

In April 2024, passengers traveling on an El Al Boeing 787 to Dubai endured a similar nine-hour “flight to nowhere” after their aircraft was forced to return to Tel Aviv due to unprecedented storms at their destination.  

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