Ouch: British Airways’ Very Long Flight To Hong Kong

Friday's British Airways flight from London, Hong Kong to London was an unforgettable experience for passengers.
British Airways diverts from Hong Kong to Manila

British Airways operates a daily flight between London (LHR), Hong Kong (HKG), using a Boeing 747, flight number BA31. The flight took place on Friday, October 8th, 2021. The flight was blocked for 12 hours. It was to leave London at 6:40PM Friday and arrive in Hong Kong on Saturday at 1:40PM.

The flight left on time and was almost at Hong Kong within 11 hours. On Saturday, a tropical storm hit Hong Kong. British Airways 777 attempted to land in Hong Kong on Saturday, but the weather conditions meant that the pilots had no choice but to make another attempt. Pilots tried to land again, but it was impossible. Uh oh.

The pilots decided to take a detour because the weather was not improving. These types of situations are why planes always carry extra fuel to account for both go arounds or diversions.

In this instance, the flight was diverted over 700 miles to Manila because the weather was much better. It continued on its flight and landed in Manila at 4:19 PM local time, 13 hours 19min after leaving London.

British Airways long-flight to Manila

British Airways passengers stranded on plane overnight

All passengers were safely at the ground and it was time for us to decide what we should do next. Unfortunately, the weather in Hong Kong was not good enough to allow for another flight. There was also the issue of coronavirus, which restricted the ability of many passengers to enter the Philippines. British Airways couldn't allow them to take everyone off the plane to be put in a hotel room for the night.

Instead, all passengers and crew spent the night on board the plane. The plane arrived in Manila at 4:00 PM and was able to depart for Hong Kong at 10:00 AM the next morning.

The plane took off for Hong Kong at 10 AM the next morning. The flight took approximately 1hr56min. There was a little excitement as the plane had two aborted landings (along with the two that had occurred the day before).

British Airways Manila to Hong Kong Flight

At 12PM, the flight finally touched down in Hong Kong. This was 22 hours late than expected. The cabin erupted in applause when the plane finally touched down in Hong Kong.

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 plane was occupied by passengers for 33 hours, even though they had just left London. This does not include the time that people spent at London's airport before the flight. The crew was praised by passengers for their professionalism and handling of this difficult situation.

It is hard to imagine the hardship this must have been for people in economy. Perhaps it wasn't as difficult for those who were in business and first class.

British Airways 777 First Class

Bottom line

Friday's British Airways flight from London, England to Hong Kong was certainly a long one. The flight normally takes 12 hours but in this instance, passengers were on board for 33 hours.

After two failed approaches to Hong Kong's airport, a tropical storm erupted in Hong Kong. The decision was made to divert the plane to Manila. Passengers had to spend the night in the Philippines because the weather was not improving in Hong Kong. After another failed approach, the plane continued on to Hong Kong.

It was an amazing adventure. Kudos to all the crew who kept everyone safe.