- A British Airways flight landed unhappily in Scotland instead of Germany Monday, which kicked the surprise and wastage online.
- Although the vast majority of aircraft land on the right destinations, such situations are not entirely unheard of.
- An Associated Press analysis showed that at least 150 flights from US airlines landed alone or began landing at the wrong airport between the early 1990s and 2014.
- Errors included landing at the wrong airport in the right city and landed the wrong country. A human error is the main reason.
- One major reason is that most airports look the same, a pilot said, "People often see what they expect to see even when it's wrong."
Passengers on a British Airways flight on Monday from London to Düsseldorf, Germany, were shocked when a message welcomed them instead of Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland.
British Airways apologized to the customers who accidentally ended 525 miles from their destination. The German company WDL Aviation, which ran British Airways branding, told Business Insider that it is still investigating what went wrong.
The story went viral, partly because of how unusual it seemed. But a flight that falsely lands in the wrong airport, country or even continent is more common than you might think.
Read more: A British Airways flight from London to Germany departed in the wrong direction and landed in Scotland, 525 miles from its destination
An Associated Press flight record analysis found that in at least 1
This typically happens because of human error.
When a Delta flight landed at the wrong Minneapolis airport in 2017, the official investigation concluded that it was because the pilot had not flown this route very much and was confused.
And the study of a lost 2015 Air Asia aircraft found that the pilot "accidentally" set the wrong coordinates for his flight. Instead of going from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the pilot set coordinates in South Africa and ended up coming back to Australia and landing in Melbourne.
And if you go far back, you can find cases where the planes ended on the wrong continent.
Aviator Douglas Corrigan set off for a solo trip from Brooklyn, New York, to Los Angeles in 1938, only to end up in Dublin after a whole night in the air.
Read more: Ryanair offered a book & # 39; Geography for Dummies & # 39; to British Airways after it accidentally flew a flight to Scotland instead of Germany
An airline found out that throwing fun at destination could be dangerous.
Ryanair offered mockingly a copy of "Geography for Dummies" to British Airways after its unintentional detour, only for Twitter users to point out some of its own earlier flight views.
Pilots can land at the wrong airport because of administrative errors or simply because they are similar.
British Airways said the reorganization was an accident caused by paperwork when the flight was filed incorrectly, an option WDL said it would investigate.
But pilots sometimes land at the wrong airport for a simpler reason: Many airports look the same.
The Flight Safety Foundation warned of cases where a pilot's visual perception failed to land the plane in the wrong place.
It found examples where flight crews believed they arrived at the right airport because of its appearance.
In November 2013, a plane landed at the wrong Kansas airport because the flight crews believed the runways were similar. In December 2013, a plane landed at the wrong Missouri airport for the same reason.
The foundation said that both flight crews fly at night and with decent visibility and "thought they saw the correct airport and runway."
Pilot John Cox told USA Today that pilots can land at the wrong airport as "people often see what they expect to see even when it's wrong."
"In some cases, the crew visually sees a runway and thinks it's the runway of the planned landing. Confirmation disturbances help them accept evidence supporting their beliefs and rebates in contrast to it."
The US National Transport Safety Board warns pilots that landing at the wrong airport is easy because they are similar and that pilots need "adequate preparation, robust monitoring and cross-checking of position using all available resources."
It tells pilots to become familiar with the airport's layout and features that make it stand out and to "confirm that you have correctly identified the destination airport before reporting the airport or runway is in sight."
A former air force pilot learning aviation security told the Atlantic how easy it is for pilots to see a runway and assume that their automated navigation equipment is defective.
"You have these path lights, and you look at them, and they say:" Come to me, come to me, I'll let you land. & # 39; They're like the ocean sirens. "