Unique and Bizzare Flight Delays in the UK
Last week, a stray hot air balloon caused a kerfuffle at London’s Gatwick airport resulting in a few tense moments and more than one flight delay.
But it’s not the first time a bizarre occurrence has resulted in delayed flights in the United Kingdom. Aside from the normal holdups caused by weather, mechanical difficulty, and strikes by ground crew and flight staff, there have been some head-scratchers in the delay department – including these:
The Pink Flamingo Flap
Flights at Manchester’s airport were delayed in July of 2011 when a rogue pink flamingo (nicknamed “Ringo”) made its runway appearance. Airport staff tried to capture the ballsy bird, but nets, night vision goggles, and a high speed jeep chase proved fruitless – workers just had to wait it out in the airport parking area.
Laser Light Fright
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) reported almost 2,000 incidents of lasers being directed at aircraft in 2011. In 2005 there were only 20 incidents.
At Liverpool’s John Lennon airport, a laser shone into an aircraft resulted in the temporary blinding of a crew member. “We are currently seeing a global surge in incidents of lasers being deliberately shone at aircraft on final approach to airports,” said a CAA spokesman. And while these do not result in flight delays upon take-off, they can result in delayed disembarkation while authorities investigate.
The Boy Band Bad Boys Buying Spree
A British Airways flight from London to Los Angeles was delayed recently because of boy band One Direction. Apparently the fellas headed in the direction of the duty-free shops instead of making their way to the gate on time.
A Splash of Volcanic Ash
A pesky volcano meant an eruption of cash for Gatwick hotels in April of 2010. Few had heard of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland before (and even fewer still can pronounce it), but an eruption that spewed volcanic ash into the air – delaying flights for more than 6 days – had the Icelandic natural wonder on everyone’s mind. But hotels in Gatwick weren’t the only ones seeing dollar signs. Bristol airport hotels, Manchester B&Bs, and even the lowliest of London hostels were full to the brim as well. In fact, all across Europe hotels were at capacity — there were no flights going anywhere that week.