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Flight diversion to Heathrow: Mystery deepens as passengers challenge Stanley Johnson claims

Simon Calder’s Travel

Passengers who were on the British Airways flight from Malaga diverted to Heathrow airport last Friday have challenged Stanley Johnson’s version of events.

They were aboard BA2641 from Malaga on Friday 28 June. The Airbus A321 was intended to fly to Gatwick. But as the plane approached the Sussex airport, the runway was closed due to a separate British Airways flight rejecting take off.

During the 50-minute closure at the Sussex airport, 16 flights were diverted – including the flight from Malaga, which landed at Heathrow.

The pilots intended to refuel and fly on to Gatwick as soon as possible.

Writing for The Independent, Mr Johnson said that as the aircraft landed the captain invited “any passengers without luggage in the hold to disembark at Heathrow if they wanted to”.

He went on: “That sounded like a very good idea to me.

“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.”

But other passengers have disputed the account given by Mr Johnson – in particular the point at which the captain said anyone who wished to could disembark.

One of them, named 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.”

Her account was backed up buy another passenger, Richard Davenport. He told The Independent: “On arrival at Heathrow we were told the plane would park up and next steps to be confirmed.

“The pilot then announced when parked the plane would be refuelled and a slot requested for Gatwick.

“Later, the pilot confirmed a slot had been provided for 20 minutes’ time and fuel had arrived.

“At this point Mr Johnson took his bag and with a female passenger in tow walked to the front of the plane and demanded to get off.”

Mr Davenport said that after a further 15 or 20 minutes, “the pilot made an announcement that he could not prevent passengers departing if they refused to fly”.

Other passengers decided they would leave. By this time airport police had been summoned.

Then, said Mr Davenport: “The pilot informed we had missed the slot and now there…

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