Passengers on a British Airways flight from London to Dusseldorf were surprised to discover they had landed in the wrong city, and the wrong country, on Monday.
The flight initially seemed to go well.
Even pilots and cabin crew were unaware of any issues – until they landed, and made the surprise “welcome to Edinburgh” announcement.
Piotr Pomienski, a student at Imperial College London, told CNN his girlfriend, Zsofia Szabo, was on the plane.
“I saw on Flightradar that the flight was flying north instead of south, but I assumed it was a system error of some sort,” he said.
“That is until she wrote to me that they’re in Edinburgh.”
I have fallen asleep, missed my stop and woken up at the end of the district line before. This morning I never expected to wake up from my Dusseldorf bound flight…in Edinburgh! @British_Airways #BritishAirways #BA3271
— Peter James-Hamilton (@PJamesHamilton) March 25, 2019
Ms Szabo told the network she realised something wasn’t right when she saw mountains outside the plane, instead of the “usual German industrial landscape”.
“I did think that this isn’t how eastern Netherlands-western Germany should look like, but I assumed we took some small detour,” she said.
“Then my colleague sitting across the aisle from me told me to check Google Maps – and it showed us being around Carlisle.”
“When we landed there was a bit of a hilarious moment when the flight attendant asked for a show of hands for the people going to Dusseldorf – which turned out to be everyone,” she said.
— AIRLIVE (@airlivenet) March 25, 2019
British Airways said the problem started with an incorrect flight plan filed by WDL Aviation, which operated the flight from London’s City Airport on the airline’s behalf.
The pilot duly followed the flight plan as filed. Air traffic control officials also were following the same flight plan, and saw nothing wrong.
WDL aviation said it was trying to determine the cause of the “obviously unfortunate mix-up”.
The flight was refuelled and set off again, this time directly to Duesseldorf.
In a statement, British Airways said it had apologised to its passengers individually.