What does seem like an implausible event, almost Home Alone 2 kind of mistake, took place this morning at London City Airport.
BA Cityflyer flight BA3281 between London City Airport to Dusseldorf was operated by a wet-leased WDL Aviation plane to cover aircraft shortages at London City Airport. The paperwork which was filed had incorrectly stated that the plane was going to Edinburgh instead. One possible, but seemingly unconvincing explanation could be that the same plane was flying Dusseldorf-London-Edinburgh the day before and maybe the pilot had thought something similar was happening today. It seems unlikely but that's what the Independent's Simon Calder thinks.
For those who are unaware, a wet-leased contract has plane, pilot and cabin crew from the sub-contracted airline, so passengers will see staff with different uniform and the plane will have its normal operator's livery.
I reached out to British Airways' Press Office, and a spokesperson offered this statement:
We are working with WDL Aviation, who operated this flight on behalf of British Airways, to establish why the incorrect flight plan was filed. We have apologised to customers for this interruption to their journey and will be contacting them all individually.
It was also confirmed that all airport and terminal operations which fall under British Airways' normal procedures went as planned, meaning all passengers' boarding passes were correctly scanned prior to boarding, the departure boards post-security and at the gate stated Dusseldorf as the destination. However, it's clear from passenger reports that the flight crew were all expecting to go to Edinburgh.
WDL Aviation's press office statement reads:
We are working closely with the authorities to investigate how the obviously unfortunate mix-up of flight schedules could occur. 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.
BBC reports that one passenger heard the pilot make an announcement that the flight was about to land in Edinburgh and asked the cabin crew if this was some kind of joke. But the penny dropped when the flight crew asked how many passengers were expecting to go to Dusseldorf and the entire plane raised their hands.
After a 2 and a half hour delay on the tarmac at Edinburgh Airport the flight continued to Dusseldorf arriving at 12:58pm local time, over three hours later than the scheduled 09:40am, with shortage of food and drink on board, and no-doubt a big EU261 bill to pay for everyone's inconvenience.
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. Sarah
— British Airways (@British_Airways) March 25, 2019