A British Airways flight from London to Hong Kong turned into a 36-hour ordeal after the plane tried to land under a typhoon – before it was founded in the Philippines.
What was supposed to be a 12-hour trip turned into a marathon trip for the 100 passengers, with the plane first making two unsuccessful bids to land in Hong Kong under Typhoon Lionrock before redirecting to Manila 700 miles away.
Upon arrival in the Philippine capital, it is understood that the passengers were told that they could not disembark due to Covid-19 travel restrictions and remained stuck on board for 18 hours while grounded.
It finally arrived in Hong Kong 22 hours later than expected. The video shows the cabin breaking into choruses of cheers and applause as they stirred down – 36 hours after the first takeoff from London.
It came after Hong Kong authorities on Saturday issued its third-highest storm warning, shutting down transport networks, schools and offices when the typhoon hit the northern South China Sea.
36 flights were delayed, five were canceled and three were diverted, including the flight from London, before the storm warning was taken down early Sunday.
Flight BA031 took off from Heathrow Airport at 7.40 GMT on Friday and was due to close at Hong Kong International Airport around 14 Hong Kong time (7:00 GMT).
A 12-hour flight (flight map pictured) from London to Hong Kong saw 100 passengers diverted to Manila amid tropical storm Lionrock before finally landing in Hong Kong 36 hours later
After a transfer to Manila, the passengers were forced to spend the night on the plane in the middle of Covid restrictions and eventually left for Hong Kong again (pictured) 18 hours later
As the flight landed in Hong Kong after a 22-hour delay, a video heard passengers cheering as they were relieved to finally press down after the 36-hour ordeal
The plane orbited Hong Kong at 14:00 (7:00 GMT), but failed to land twice in the harsh conditions in which a woman was killed in Hong Kong on Friday when scaffolding collapsed in the middle of the strong wind.
The plane was then forced to turn toward Manila, the Philippine capital, and divert passengers about 700 miles and land at Ninoy Aquino International Airport two hours later.
But after the reshuffle, passengers were understood to be told they could not leave the Boeing 777 due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, so were forced to sit on the plane and wait.
The cabin crew provided food and drink and offered to inform quarantine hotels in Hong Kong, where many passengers had booked 21-day stays in accordance with travel restrictions, about the delay.
Passengers and crew were forced to spend the night on the plane as tropical storm conditions did not improve until it finally left Hong Kong 18 hours later, according to One Mile at a time.
Nearly two hours later, and after another interrupted attempt to land the plane, the plane finally took off in Hong Kong around 12 noon local time (6:00 GMT) on Sunday – a staggering 22 hours later than expected.
When the flight finally landed, Janet Walker shared a video on Twitter where passengers cheered and clapped as they were relieved to finally touch after 36 hours of ordeal.
Typhoon Lionrock struck Hong Kong last Friday, and a female construction worker was killed when scaffolding (pictured) collapsed in the suburb of Happy Valley.
Hong Kong authorities issued their third-highest storm warning on Saturday, shutting down transport networks, schools and offices as typhoons hit the northern South China Sea
Hong Kong resident Walker, who is in his 50s, said the 36-hour trip was stressful and the diversion to Manila came after two failed attempts to land in Hong Kong in the middle of the typhoon.
She told the South China Morning Post that she was frustrated that the airline’s staff could not initially provide more information about the delay, but said passengers were at least able to chat with each other.
The Briton, who was on her way back with her husband from a trip to Manchester and has now started her 21-day quarantine, said she was eager to come back and make sure the storm had not damaged her home.
In a letter sent to passengers on Saturday, British Airways apologized for the ‘difficult decision’ made to delay the plane’s departure from Manila for 18 hours.
MailOnline has contacted British Airways for comment.
On Saturday, Hong Kong authorities released its third-highest storm signal, shutting down transportation networks, schools and offices as Tropical Storm Lionrock shot the northern South China Sea.
The city’s weather observatory raised its No. 8 storm warning signal at 6.40 (10.40 GMT) local time and said it would likely remain in place through the morning, but it was not lifted until early Sunday.
Lionrock combined with rising northern monsoon winds and heavy rain on Friday hit the city, and a female construction worker was killed when scaffolding collapsed in the Happy Valley suburb.
Elsewhere, Typhoon Talim landed in Kyushu on Sunday, the southernmost of Japan’s four largest islands, packing winds up to 162 kilometers per hour, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
People are wading in a flooded street during heavy rainfall as Lionrock, the 17th typhoon to hit China this year, is on its way to Hong Kong province Hainan on October 8.
The city’s weather observatory raised its No. 8 storm warning signal at 6.40 (10.40 GMT) local time on Saturday and it was not lifted until early Sunday.
The storm, which is moving northeast along the country, reached the country’s northern island of Hokkaido on Monday morning, dumping heavy rain and paralyzing domestic transport en route.
An 86-year-old woman was found dead late Sunday after her house was hit by a landslide in Kagawa, western Japan, while a 60-year-old driver was found dead in his car that sank under a rising river in Kochi, also in western Japan, local police said.
The public television station NHK said three people were missing in western Japan and 38 people had been injured in storm-related accidents.
At least 116 domestic flights were canceled on Monday due to strong winds and some bullet train services were suspended in northern Japan due to the typhoon, NHK said.
Authorities have issued warnings of rain, open seas, possible landslides and floods across the country as the storm maintained its strength.
The typhoon had struck the southern Okinawan island chain before hitting Kyushu, causing the most rain seen over a 24-hour period of 50 years in the city of Miyako.
Major storms regularly hit Japan with 22 people killed when Typhoon Lionrock hit the country in September last year.
Last month, Typhoon Noru killed two people and injured 51.