British Airways passengers endure nine-hour 'flight to nowhere' as plane forced to return to Heathrow

A British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Texas had to turn back just as it reached North America, landing back in London more than nine hours after taking off.

Flight records show passengers travelled 7,779km on the “flight to nowhere” after a minor technical issue forced the flight to turn around.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner was heading to George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and had just crossed the Canadian border before turning back.

The flight was in the air for just over nine-and-a-half hours crossing the Atlantic Ocean twice, according to tracking site FlightRadar24.

Successful flights to Houston only take around 30-40 minutes longer on average, the Independent reports.

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It is understood the issue was not serious enough to have the plane grounded immediately but required inspection and potential engineering work.

The flight returned to Heathrow where BA had technicians and resources to sort the issue.

BA said in a statement: “The flight returned to London Heathrow as a precaution due to a minor technical issue. It landed safely and customers disembarked as normal.

“We’ve apologised to our customers for the disruption to their journey.”

All passengers were rebooked onto alternative flights to Houston, including any missed connecting flights in the US.

Hotels and information on how to claim for any additional expenses, were also provided.

In November an Air New Zealand flight was forced to operate a similar 11-hour “flight to nowhere” after a plane carrying passengers developed a technical fault.

Flight NZ26 from Auckland to Chicago was four hours into the 15-hour scheduled flight when the decision was made to turn back, data from tracking site FlightRadar24 showed.