Key Points:

  • United Nigeria Airlines' flight from Lagos was supposed to land in Abuja but mistakenly ended up in Asaba, nearly 200 miles away.

  • The pilot was given a wrong flight plan, leading to the diversion; passengers were initially told they had arrived in Abuja.

  • The airline issued an apology, stating the diversion was intentional due to poor weather, but confusion arose due to incorrect cabin crew announcements.

Unexpected Diversion on United Nigeria Airlines Flight

ABUJA — In an unusual turn of events, a United Nigeria Airlines flight, originally scheduled to land in Abuja, found itself landing in Asaba, a city located approximately 198 miles south of the intended destination. The incident was reported by The Cable, a local news outlet. This deviation in the flight's course is akin to a plane destined for New York City unexpectedly landing in Washington, DC.

The flight, a domestic route from Lagos to Abuja, was announced by the airline in a statement on the social media platform, X, formerly known as Twitter. The confusion first arose when flight attendants on the flight confidently announced their arrival in Abuja, only to discover that the plane had actually landed in Asaba.

Passenger Confusion and Airline's Clarification

Salihu Tanko Yakasai, a local politician and passenger on the flight, recounted the incident on X. He noted that the confusion was evident among the passengers until the pilot explained that a wrong flight plan had been received, which led to the unintended landing in Asaba. This explanation eventually restored calm among the passengers.

United Nigeria Airlines addressed the situation in a follow-up statement on X. The airline clarified that the pilot had purposefully diverted the flight due to adverse weather conditions in Abuja and was aware of the change in plans before departure. However, the confusion stemmed from an incorrect announcement by the cabin crew upon safely landing in Asaba. The statement also confirmed that the flight subsequently continued its journey and safely reached its original destination in Abuja. Business Insider, however, could not independently verify the details of the on-board announcements.

In a video posted on X by another passenger, the surprise and concern of the travelers were palpable. One passenger voiced his worry about missing a connecting flight from Abuja, though the authenticity of the video remains unverified by Business Insider.

Such incidents of flights landing at unintended destinations are not unprecedented. In 2014, a Southwest Airlines flight mistakenly landed at an airport seven miles from its intended Missouri destination. In a similar vein, a 2019 British Airways flight bound for Düsseldorf, Germany, erroneously landed in Edinburgh, Scotland, due to a wrong flight plan being filed by the airline.