British Airways' Boeing 777-300 flew from London Heathrow Airport to Manila on Friday night. It didn't arrive at its destination until Sunday morning. The 36-hour journey was a marathon that included three failed landings and a diversion.
British Airways flight BA31 left at 7:40 PM on September 8th for what was supposed to be a routine 11-hour flight from London to Hong Kong. However, a tropical storm that ravaged the Hong Kong region on Saturday caused heavy rains and strong winds to batter the city and force several flights to divert.
Applause in HK to @British_Airways amazing crew BA31. 36 hours, three failed landings and one night onboard in Manila. Thank you all. @tripperhead @Transit_Jam pic.twitter.com/fsfsgwDtDb jaywalker (@Janetdplanet163) October 10, 2021
The 7-year-old Boeing 777 pilots attempted to land, but they were only 1,500 feet away from touchdown. They decided to abandon the landing attempt and go around again for a second attempt, which they had to cancel.
Two failed landings later, the pilots decided that they would divert to Manila Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines. They landed there around an hour and a quarter later.
However, due to strict quarantine rules in Hong Kong and local pandemic rules, no one was allowed on the plane while they waited for the tropical storm. They were instead forced to sleep on the plane for the whole night before they attempted to get to Hong Kong the next morning.
The flight did not depart Manila until Sunday morning at 9:45 AM. After a smooth flight, it was still a drama. The pilots had only a few feet left before landing so they decided to cancel the flight once more and did another attempt before landing in Hong Kong.
To make matters worse, crew and passengers were forced to wait for hours at Hong Kong Airport while they waited for their COVID-19 results.
Workers from Hong Kong's department of Health harassed passengers for not extending their hotel quarantine bookings when they were in Manila.
British Airways denied that pilots or cabin crew exceeded the maximum work limits as set by aviation regulators. They stated that required rest was provided onboard the aircraft.
One passenger onboard said that the crew was fantastic. A spokesperson for BA stated:
Our flight was diverted to Manila by tropical storm Lionrock, which prevented us from landing safely in Hong Kong. The aircraft was well looked after by our customers. We apologize for any inconvenience.
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