‘Stanley Johnson caused our flight to be cancelled’ – claim from passengers on BA plane diverted to Heathrow

Passengers have accused Stanley Johnson of causing a diverted British Airways flight to be cancelled.

The writer, who is Boris Johnson’s father, was aboard BA2641 from Malaga to London Gatwick.

When a separate British Airways flight rejected take off at Gatwick, the runway was closed for 50 minutes and 16 flights were diverted – including the Malaga flight.

The plan was to refuel the Airbus A321 at Heathrow and, with the runway open again, make the short flight to Gatwick. But some passengers were keen to disembark – including Mr Johnson, according to passengers.

One of them, Richard Davenport, told The Independent: “The plan was to refuel and the aircraft was given a slot to fly to Gatwick. However as Stanley Johnson decided he wanted to get off – along with another passenger – we subsequently missed the slot.

“It took a few hours to sort and ultimately BA cancelled the flight. All passengers then had to deplane and proceed through immigration and then take a bus to Gatwick.

“With a car parked at Gatwick we didn’t have to option to just leave at Heathrow. It left 99.5 per cent of passengers with a bitter taste.”

At one stage airport police were summoned to deal with the issue, passengers say.

Wrong airport: British Airways staff and airport police at the foot of the stairs of a BA Airbus A321 diverted from Gatwick to Heathrow (Annemarie)
Wrong airport: British Airways staff and airport police at the foot of the stairs of a BA Airbus A321 diverted from Gatwick to Heathrow (Annemarie)

Another passenger, Annemarie, told The Independent: “Apparently Stanley Johnson refused to stay on the plane, along with a terrified flyer. They were getting quite irate, hence the police.

“This caused carnage because the airline cannot make you stay on the plane against your will. And because so many passengers wanted to get off, it would have caused hell at Heathrow with passengers having to claim their luggage and then those who wanted to go to Gatwick to perhaps claim their luggage then recheck in again and it would have meant the crew were out of flying hours.

“The airline made the decision to cancel the flight.”

A spokesperson for British Airways said: “Due to earlier disruption at Gatwick, the flight diverted to Heathrow where it terminated.”

The crew stayed on board the aircraft, which was needed back in Gatwick to fly holidaymakers to Crete. According to data from Flightradar24, the plane finally made the 19-minute flight to Gatwick at 5.30pm on Friday afternoon.

The intended flight for the aircraft, to Heraklion, was cancelled.

Mr Johnson was approached for comment. In response, he said: “When the plane landed at Heathrow having been diverted from Gatwick there was a passenger announcement inviting passengers who wanted to and who had no baggage in the hold to disembark at Heathrow.

“Three of us seized the opportunity and proceeded to the front exit, and waited on the steps outside the cabin for transport to the terminal.

“For some reason the authorities couldn’t organise this! V sorry for inconvenience caused but it wouldn’t have happened if the authorities hadn’t screwed up by announcing the ‘disembark here’ option without being able to deliver it. I would be most grateful if you could find a way to make this clear.”