British Airways flight forced to turn back after ‘burning smell’ makes cabin crew ‘dizzy’

Airline has apologised for the disruption after what it describes as a ‘minor technical issue’

Benjamin Parker
Tuesday 18 July 2023 11:05 BST
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<p>The plane was in the air for little over 30 minutes before it returned to the airport </p>

The plane was in the air for little over 30 minutes before it returned to the airport

A British Airways flight was forced to make a U-turn after only 35 minutes in the air after a “burning smell” reportedly filled the cabin.

The plane had departed Johannesburg, South Africa, on Wednesday and was bound for London Heathrow before it turned around in what the Aviation Herald, a website that logs aviation incidents, described as a “fume event”.

Crew began to complain about “dizziness and nausea” and reported seeing smoke in the cabin, the website added.

Aircraft tracking site FlightRadar24 showed the double-decker Airbus A380-800, which had more than 400 passengers on board, turning back just over half an hour into its journey.

Harry Graham, one of the passengers on the flight, describe the incident as a “horrible, scary situation for all involved”.

Another passenger, Edward Burke, tweeted that although the captain and crew were “wonderful”, there were some “unfortunate incidents”.

“We were on the runway for a long period, while emergency protocols were followed, emergency services assessed the aircraft before it was towed to the terminal. That is when the over-heating among passengers occurred in the cabin due to lack of oxygen/limited air supply,” he claimed.

Mr Burke said he was travelling with two children and that the days following the incident “had not been easy”.

He alleged that, while staff were “generally polite”, other travellers were “remarkably selfish, skipping slow-moving families to jump queues”, adding: “You learn a lot about human nature during such times.”

As of yesterday (16 July), Mr Burke said he was still waiting for his luggage.

A spokesperson for British Airways told The Independent: “Our pilots returned to Johannesburg as a precaution due to a minor technical issue, and the aircraft landed normally. We apologised to our customers for the disruption to their journey and our teams worked hard to get everyone on their way as planned.”

According to the Aviation Herald site, the affected plane was grounded in South Africa for around 30 hours before departing once more for London.

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