Flight to Dusseldorf lands in Edinburgh by mistake

British Airways says error was result of pilot receiving the wrong flight plan

British Airways planes at Heathrow
(Image credit: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

A British Airways flight from London to Dusseldorf took passengers to Edinburgh instead, following a paperwork mix-up.

Flight BA3271, operated by German firm WDL Aviation on behalf of BA as part of a leasing deal, took off as scheduled from London City Airport at 7.47am this morning, Edinburgh Live reports.

However, rather than heading east to Germany, the plane bore north towards Scotland, touching down at Edinburgh Airport around 9am.

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Passengers were baffled to hear a “Welcome to Edinburgh” message as they arrived in the Scottish capital, rather than their intended destination in western Germany - although at least one traveller was able to take the development with good humour:

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Management consultant Sophie Cooke told the BBC that cabin crew seemed as baffled by the customers as they realised their error.

“The pilot said he had no idea how it had happened. He said it had never happened before and that the crew was trying to work out what we could do,” she said.

Around two hours later, the plane set off from Edinburgh for a second attempt to reach its intended destination, arriving in Dusseldorf without incident.

A representative of Edinburgh Airport said that staff were used to greeting new arrivals to the Scottish capital, but that this particular visit was “a surprise for us as well as them”.

“We were happy to work with the various teams across the airport to help make the trip to Edinburgh a pleasurable, albeit short, one.”

In a statement, British Airways stressed that the pilot had not got “lost”, as some media reports insinuated, but that the mistake was due to an incorrect flight plan.

“We have apologised to customers for this interruption to their journey and will be contacting them all individually,” the firm added.

WDL also apologised for the “obviously unfortunate” confusion, and said it was working with authorities to establish how the mix-up occurred.

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