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Stanley Johnson hits back at Heathrow British Airways flight diversion criticism

Simon Calder’s Travel

Stanley Johnson has hit back at criticism of his insistence on leaving a British Airways flight that diverted to Heathrow.

On Friday, the writer – who is Boris Johnson’s father – was aboard BA2641 from Malaga to London Gatwick.

When a separate British Airways flight rejected take off at Gatwick, the runway was closed for 50 minutes and 16 flights were diverted – including Mr Johnson’s, which landed at Heathrow.

The plan was to refuel the Airbus A321 and make the short flight to Gatwick. But some passengers were keen to disembark – including Mr Johnson.

In the events that followed, the police were summoned to help deal with the issue and the onward flight was later cancelled – with other passengers being taken to Gatwick by bus.

The aircraft later flew from Heathrow to Gatwick, where it arrived around five hours late; the next planned flight was cancelled.

Writing in The Independent, Mr Johnson has laid out his side of the story.

He writes: “As we crossed the French coast, the pilot came on the PA to announce that unfortunately there was a plane stuck on the runway beneath us and we were going to have to circle while they sorted things out.

“Ten minutes later, he made another announcement: ‘The plane on the runway below us is still stalled,’ he told us. ‘We are going to have to divert to Heathrow.’

“As we landed at Heathrow, the captain informed us that after we had taken on some fuel, we would make the ‘short hop’ back to Gatwick.”

Mr Johnson says the captain invited passengers without checked baggage to disembark at Heathrow if they wished.

“That sounded like a very good idea to me,” Mr Johnson writes.

Another passenger, Annemarie, told The Independent: “I can categorically confirm the pilot did not announce that passengers with hand luggage could get off upon landing at LHR [Heathrow].

“It was later, after a few passengers insisted on getting off, that that announcement was made.”

Mr Johnson continues: “I grabbed my bags from the rack and went to the forward entrance of the plane. Two other passengers joined me and the three of us stepped out of the door onto the top of the metal stairs which were already in place.

“All we had to do, I imagined, was for the three of us to wait for the ground transport to arrive to take us into the terminal building. That was the mistake.

“For reasons which I am…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at The Independent Travel…