Update: BA staff got a round of applause this morning at Athens International Airport from grateful passengers after yesterday averting a possible catastrophe in the air over Iraq. The pilot gave a rousing speech apologising for the inconvenience and thanking all the passengers for their patience and good grace. The plane is somewhat delayed but should be in the air soon.
Our CEO is in the headlines today after a BA flight he was on from our offices in Mumbai to London suddenly diverted to avoid the missiles fired into Iraq from Iran as revenge for Donald Trump’s strike and the death of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
The pilot and Michael had a chat on landing and the pilot told him that they were just minutes away from entering Iraqi airspace when they were told that the plane had to turn round. The pilot was asked instead to go through Iran airspace but he refused. The Iranian missiles hit Iraq about 20 minutes after.
The pilot didn’t know that the Ukrainian plane had crashed with 180 lives lost until Michael told him and passengers were speculating that this was all too much of a coincidence and were thankful that the pilot had diverted.
The plane touched down in Athens to refuel but instead, passengers were decanted into the Hilton overnight as the plane had in fact overran the time it is allowed to fly. Many of the passengers though weren’t as lucky and are stuck in the airport as they do not have visas to enter the EU. The Hilton have apparently been doing a sterling job looking after the passengers and everything has been taken care of by BA.
Michael was called by journalists including the well-known travel writer and broadcaster Simon Calder, currently with the Independent newspaper.
For more on their discussion: https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/british-airways-ba-boeing-777-diversion-mumbai-london-heathrow-athens-a9274701.html
The Mirror Online also posted: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/iran-attacks-british-airways-planes-21237562