Passengers on 14 London Flights Kicked off Due to Heat Wave

Jul 31, 2018

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Summer heat can wreak havoc on travel.

Besides an uptick in crowds and traffic due to the peak travel season, summer heat can actually ground planes or get flyers kicked off flights.

Passengers on 14 different British Airways flights at London’s City Airport (LCY) learned that lesson the hard way this week. The flyers were bumped off the aircraft because the high temperatures of the city’s heat wave — along with the airport’s short runway — meant that the planes were too heavy to takeoff at full seating capacity.

One BA flight to Ibizia alone resulted in 20 passengers getting kicked off.

During a heat wave, higher temperatures cause air density to decrease, meaning a plane needs more runway than normal to generate adequate lift. The shorter runway at LCY means aircraft execute steeper-than-normal takeoffs, which makes the issue even worse.

One passenger who was flying to Spain’s Balearic Islands told the Sun that she was lining up for boarding when gate agents asked if 14 people would be willing to volunteer to step off the flight. “Nobody came forward and then they said we’re going to have to pick 14 people because it’s so hot we need to carry more petrol in order to take off,” flyer Mhairi Hopkins said.

“London City Airport was affected by the extreme heat which meant, to operate safely, unfortunately passengers needed to be offloaded from 14 British Airways flights,” the airport told the Sun. “We’re working with the airline to ensure passengers get to their destination as quickly as possible and we apologise for the inconvenience caused.”

“Like other airlines operating from London City today, British Airways flights were affected by the extreme heat,” a BA spokesperson told the Sun. “Because of the unique nature of the airfield, with a short runway and steep take-off, extreme temperatures affect air pressure so aircraft weight has to be reduced. This meant regrettably we were forced to offload 20 customers from our Ibiza service. We are working with them to provide hotel accommodation and re-book them on flights tomorrow.”

A similar situation occurred in June 2017 at Phoenix airport when a heatwave caused American Airlines to cancel 50 flights out of PHX when temperatures soared to a sizzling 119°F.

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