09/24/2013

Some recent unexpected stopovers

Sometimes airline passengers find themselves landing at an intermediate unscheduled airport. Here are some examples.


In the magnificent 1995 film "White Nights", in which I found the dancing of Mikhail Baryshnikov absolutely stunning, he did not expect his flight from Tokyo to have to make a forced land in Siberia.

One well-publicised recent stopover was that of a Ryanair flight from Prestwick, Glasgow, to Ibiza on 17 September. It seems that a group of 14 Scots had been hitting the bottle quite hard (probably before the flight, but that is not sure). In their drunken euphoria they were apparently dancing in the aisles and heckling other passengers, to such an extent that the pilot decided to land at Beauvais airport, north of Paris, and drop them off. It is not recorded how, once they realised that Beauvais was not Ibiza, they continued their journey.

Most unscheduled landings are less likely to interest the newspapers, because they might be such simple things as a medical emergency on board. This might have been the case when on Sunday 15 September an Air Berlin flight to Palma from Paderborn (in Germany: the first time that I have recorded an aircraft from there) made a brief stop in Geneva.

These stopovers are not always recorded on the Geneva airport flight list. Sometimes, however, the airport list does indicate such a stopover. That was the case when on Saturday 21st September the evening flight TP941 of TAP airline direct to Lisbon was cancelled and replaced with a different and unusual flight TP2875, to Lisbon via Barcelona. In other words, this was obviously planned in advance, for some reason which we will probably never know.

More curious was the flight LX448 of Swiss to London City last Sunday evening, 22 September. It appeared to depart as normal, but was later indicated on the airport list as going via Zurich. However, later on it was announced on the Geneva airport web site list as coming to Geneva from Geneva! In fact, it did not actually come back to Geneva, though it does appear to have got to Zurich, but no further. It is unclear how the passengers (maybe some City financiers or bankers?) could then have got to London in time to be at their desks on Monday morning.

So, although it does not often happen, be aware that you could land in a strange airport. If so, then please feel free to tell me of your experience.

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