Key Points:

  • Three British Airways flights were forced to turn back mid-journey due to technical problems on Saturday.

  • Around 1,400 passengers were impacted by the delays and cancellations, with costs potentially rising to £650,000.

  • British Airways faced another swift return on Sunday from London City airport to Malaga.

BA Flights' Mid-Air Turnarounds Result in Hefty Compensation Costs

LONDON — On Saturday, three British Airways flights left passengers with journeys they didn't anticipate. Technical issues forced two Boeing 777 long-haul flights and an Airbus Mediterranean island service to turn back.

The initial setback occurred on flight BA263 from London Heathrow, heading for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia's capital. Although departing a tad late at 2.47pm BST, by 4.25pm over Croatia, the flight had to make a U-turn. By 6.32pm, the aircraft was back at Heathrow. An issue with the traffic collision avoidance system, making the plane non-compliant with Saudi airspace, was the suspected cause. These passengers faced a 21-hour delay, with the replacement flight departing on Sunday morning.

For travelers meant to fly from Riyadh to Heathrow on Sunday morning, this meant an extended stay in Riyadh, causing a 30-hour delay in their itinerary, with an expected Monday afternoon arrival.

The next flight mishap occurred with flight BA586 to Bastia, Corsica. Mid-flight over Switzerland, the Airbus A320 reversed its course, leading to an arrival delay of over 20 hours.

Lastly, the BA203 flight bound for Boston turned back only 16 minutes post-departure, circling Surrey due to Heathrow congestion. The round trip back took significantly longer, and the flight was subsequently canceled. Those affected were shifted to alternate flights.

Furthering the airline's challenges, a fourth British Airways flight from London City airport to Malaga swiftly returned on Sunday, mere minutes after its take-off.

Addressing the disruptions, a British Airways representative commented, “Our heartfelt apologies go out to our customers for the delays. We prioritize safety above all.”

Considering the estimated 1,400 impacted passengers, British Airways might see compensation claims nearing £650,000, besides other associated expenses like lodging and meals.