Flight Delays in the UK — The Odd and The Unusual

Posted by - April 16, 2012 | Category: Peculiarities

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.

Hot Air Balloon-3

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.

Laser in night sky

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.

Boy Band One Direction at London's Heathrow Airport

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.

Volcanic ash from Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland

What flight delays have you experienced?

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6 comments - add one
  1. So weird!!! That of the hot air balloon is the oddest ones!! Luckilely My flights never delayed! I can’t stand waiting…

  2. I guess that aside from the ballsy flaming and Eyjafjallajökull’s eruption, all of those reason could have been prevented.

  3. The day that President Obama landed in Chicago to be on the Oprah show they delayed some flights. Mine was one of them. I missed my freaking connection in Miami to Barbados! I love Obama, but I was peeved.

  4. I was one of those people affected by the Eyjafjallajökull in 2010. I was really mad and amazed at the same time; mad because my plans were affected by the delay and amazed because it shows how powerless we can be against nature.

  5. The system will tell you whether your flight is on time, delayed or canceled. If it is delayed, a new departure and arrival time should be displayed.


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