Passengers Slam British Airways After Airbus A380 Diverts to Boston Due to Smoke in Cabin

By Ivan PetrenkoJul 10, 2024 05:30 AMNews
British Airways A380
British Airways A380. Source: unsplash

Passengers on a British Airways (BA) long-haul flight from Washington DC to London on Sunday evening experienced frustration and confusion after their Airbus A380 diverted to Boston due to smoke in the cabin. The flight, which had been airborne for about five hours, encountered technical issues that prompted the unexpected landing.

Flight Details

BA292 is a daily scheduled flight between Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and London Heathrow Airport (LHR). On Sunday, the flight departed from the gate at 23:52, over an hour past its original departure time of 22:50. The Airbus A380, registered as G-XLEC, took off at 00:16 on Monday and climbed to a cruising altitude of 39,000 feet.

The flight proceeded uneventfully for the next two hours. However, at around 02:30 EST, while southeast of St. John’s, the aircraft descended to 36,000 feet and turned back towards the US. The plane landed safely at Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) at 05:09, five hours and 17 minutes after leaving IAD.

According to Boston 25 News, the diversion was due to a crew member detecting smoke in the cabin. Some passengers reported smelling something burning, while others did not notice any unusual scents. The decision to turn back was communicated to passengers about three and a half hours into the flight.

Passenger Experiences

Michael Hennessy from London recalled noticing the aircraft’s sudden turn back on the flight map before the pilot announced the diversion. Once at BOS, paramedics and first responders inspected the aircraft, leaving passengers uncertain about their next steps, filling the baggage claim area with confusion.

Jenna Glieespen, another passenger from London, recounted a distressing encounter with a BA duty manager who threatened to call the police when she asked about accommodations. This interaction left her in tears and feeling frustrated with the airline's handling of the situation.

Janice Siegel from Virginia also expressed her dissatisfaction, stating, "British Air could have been a little more helpful. The messaging wasn’t perfect." Passengers were eventually provided hotel accommodations and rebooked on another flight, but the process reportedly took over five hours.

British Airways’ Response

BA has apologized to the affected passengers, emphasizing that safety is their top priority. In a statement, the airline said, "We have apologized to our customers for the delay in their journey due to a technical issue. Safety is our top priority, and we would never operate a flight unless it was safe to do so."

The aircraft involved, an 11-year-old A380 registered as G-XLEC, has remained grounded since the incident but is scheduled to depart for LHR on Tuesday evening as flight BA212.

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