A British Airways flight took a whopping 36 hours to reach its intended destination this week. The airline failed attempts to land in Hong Kong twice and made an unplanned stop in Manila and before finally touching down in the special administrative region.
Adverse weather conditions
On Saturday evening, a British Airways Boeing 777-336ER left London Heathrow to embark on what should have been a journey that usually takes between approximately 11 and 11.5 hours to complete. Additionally, the flight BA31 is traditionally nonstop.
However, a tropical storm had other plans for those on board this long-haul service. Storm Lionrock has been lashing the South China Sea, forcing officials in Hong Kong to issue the third-highest signal yesterday. As a result, transport networks, offices, and schools have had to close.
As the flight crew attempted to land in Hong Kong, they aborted at approximately 1,500 feet before trying once more. However, they aborted at around 1,500 feet again. With no success at landing, the crew decided to head to Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International. Subsequently, the plane landed in the capital of the Philippines at 15:58.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.
A night on the ground
Registration G-STBI, the aircraft conducting this trip, was delivered to British Airways in January 2014. It has a capacity for 299 passengers, but amid the strict requirements to enter Hong Kong in the current climate, it was nowhere near full.
While the diversion to another city is a frustration in itself, there were further concerns as those on board could not hop off amid strict quarantine requirements due to the pandemic. Therefore, passengers and crew members had a sleepover in the cabin for the night. The aircraft then left Manila this morning to land in Hong Kong at noon after two more goes at landing.
Simple Flying reached out to British Airways for comment on this flight. A spokesperson for the airline shared the following.
“Like other airlines, our flight diverted to Manila due to tropical storm Lionrock, it later safely landed in Hong Kong. We cared for our customers on board the aircraft and apologise for the inconvenience.”
Fourth time lucky
Altogether, time-consuming journeys are not rare. Travelers often choose multi-stop itineraries that take more than a day to complete in order to save money. They are also often the only option to get to a certain destination. However, those flying on BA31 this weekend would have been infuriated knowing that they were so close to their destination then had to spend the night on the plane sitting at an airport in another city before attempting a landing in Hong Kong for the third time.
What are your thoughts about this 36-hour British Airways flight to Hong Kong? Have you experienced anything similar to this on your travels over the years? Let us know what you think of these situations in the comment sections.