Civil Aviation

British Airways flight to Düsseldorf mistakenly lands in Edinburgh, 525 miles away from destination

“Can you please explain how can my morning flight taking off from LCY to Düsseldorf land in Edinburgh? While an interesting concept, I don’t think anyone on board has signed up for this mystery travel lottery,” Son Tran, BA3271 passenger.

As the Flight Radar screenshot in this post shows, British Airways flight with number BA3271 from London to Germany accidentally took off in the wrong direction, landing 525 miles away in Scotland.

The flight from London City Airport was supposed to head to Düsseldorf, Germany, but ended up in Edinburgh, Scotland, instead – the total opposite direction.

The airline said Monday the problem started when an incorrect flight plan was filed by WDL Aviation, which operated the flight on behalf of British Airways (BA).

Officials told the Associated Press that the pilot of the BAe 146 aircraft followed the flight plan for Edinburgh, and that air traffic control officials also were following the same flight plan and saw nothing amiss.

“We are working with WDL Aviation, who operated this flight on behalf of British Airways, to establish why the incorrect flight plan was filed,” British Airways spokesperson Chip Garner said in a statement to USA TODAY. “We have apologized to customers for this interruption to their journey and will deal with them all individually. Customers are on route to Dusseldorf currently.”

WDL Aviation also is investigating what went wrong. 

“We are working closely with the authorities to investigate how the obviously unfortunate mix-up of flight schedules could occur,” said WDL spokesperson Joachim Schöttes. At no time has the safety of passengers been compromised. We flew the passengers on the flight with number BA3271 to Düsseldorf after the involuntary stopover in Edinburgh.”

One passenger, Son Tran, tweeted about his experience on the flight.

“Can you please explain how can my morning flight taking off from LCY to Düsseldorf land in Edinburgh? While an interesting concept, I don’t think anyone on board has signed up for this mystery travel lottery,” Tran tweeted.

British Airways responded with a tweet, writing: “The flight has been diverted to Edinburgh, we don’t have any information as to why at the moment. There is an estimated departure time of 10:30 from Edinburgh to make way to Dusseldorf.”

“This feels like an honest mistake rather than a diversion,” Tran responded. “The crew was convinced of the Edinburgh flight path from the get-go.”

WDL Aviation BAe 146 in Düsseldorf.

Photo credit: Lars Steffens via Wikipedia

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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