Oops: British Airways Flight Accidentally Flies To Edinburgh Instead Of Dusseldorf

Filed Under: British Airways

Sometimes we hear stories of passengers accidentally getting on a plane to the wrong destination. Sometimes (but very rarely) we even hear stories of planes landing at a wrong airport that’s near their destination.

However, this is a new one for me, as reported by BBC. This morning’s British Airways flight 3271 was supposed to fly from London City Airport to Dusseldorf, but instead flew to Edinburgh.

No, this wasn’t an intentional diversion. As you can see, Edinburgh is nearly in the opposite direction of Dusseldorf.

The flight was operated by a British Aerospace 146 from WDL Aviation, which is a German airline that is currently operating wet lease flights on behalf of British Airways.

So, what happened? Well, apparently the paperwork for this flight was submitted incorrectly. The error was only realized when the plane landed in Scotland and the crew announced “welcome to Edinburgh,” much to the confusion of passengers.

It’s not yet clear how this mistake was made, though British Airways is investigating. In other words, it’s clear the pilots thought that flight was operating to Edinburgh, but what about on the ground? Did the departures board say Dusseldorf, and there was just a disconnect between that and the crew? On departure, did the crew not announce that this was a flight to Edinburgh, and did the passengers not raise concern?

Very, very confusing…

As one Twitter user on the flight wrote:

@British_Airways can you please explain how can my morning flight taking off from LCY to Dusseldorf land in Edinburgh 😅? While an interesting concept, I don’t think anyone on board has signed up for this mystery travel lottery… #BA3271 #frequenttravel #britishairways

Here’s how British Airways responded:

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

That was followed up with this Tweet from the passenger:

This feels like an honest mistake rather than a diversion. The crew was convinced of the Edinburgh flight path from the get-go…

What a situation!

(Featured image courtesy of Lars Steffens)

  1. Edinburgh is a very lovely city to visit. They should be pleased. And just think of all that EU261 compensation they’re now going to get!

  2. Ben, Wasn’t there an incident with a flight to Sweden accidentally flying to Norway (or something) a few years back that you reported, as well

  3. El Guapa,

    it is often cloudy in the UK, so very possible nobody would realise.

    Although some may have done – we don’t know. I tend to be aware of where the sun is and should be given the time of day. But i bet most people don’t, or just pull down the blind

  4. The Guardian is now reporting:

    “BA said the fault with the path of BA3271, which went 500 miles in the wrong direction after takeoff on Monday morning, lay with its German operator.

    “The flight was run by a German company, WDL Aviation, under a “wet-lease” arrangement where the plane and crew are hired under BA CityFlyer branding.

    “BA said a paperwork error was to blame, with the pilot following orders from Germany, where WDL’s head office had filed the incorrect flight plan.”

  5. Yea given that captains and crews usually announce the destination at the time of boarding its kinda weird nobody alerted them.

  6. Just wanna say I am so bl**dy proud of you for being the one and only page that has a vaguely correct illustration of the plane

  7. According to another media source, upon landing, the pilot asked passengers for a “show of hands” if they were expecting to land at Dussledorf, and they all raised their hands… amazing!

  8. I would suppose the pilot’s English with heavy German accent confused both Brits and Germans? After all Edinburgh and Dusseldorf sound exactly the same to me!

  9. Where did the flight attendants think they were going? Usually they look at every boarding pass to make sure the destination is correct. As I expect many passengers do, I also always confirm the destination with the attendants as I enter.

  10. Mike, BA no longer asks for a boarding pass to be presented on short haul routes, only long haul these days.

  11. Each plane should display its Flight Number and Destination, by means of an illuminated sign, on its nose and tail – like a bus!

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