On June 22, a Brussels Airlines flight from Brussels to Washington, DC, turned around mid-air and went back to its starting point, meaning that passengers spent a total of nine hours in the air to essentially go nowhere.
According to Belgian website Aviation24, flight SN515 was beset with challenges from the beginning.
Originally, the flight was supposed to depart at 10:15 a.m. local time from Brussels. But due to a last-minute change of aircraft, it left two hours late.
That wasn’t all. The change in aircraft meant that the plane didn’t have the proper authorization paperwork for landing in the United States. Rather than risk a fine upon arrival at Washington-Dulles, someone made the decision to reverse course, and the plane made a U-turn somewhere around Ireland.
The plane landed back in Brussels at 9:15 p.m., clocking about nine hours in the sky. The airline cited “operational reasons” for the flight’s mid-air turnaround.
While turning a plane around mid-air is frustrating for passengers who were en route to their vacation or elsewhere, it’s also a massive headache for the airline who makes the call, especially for one based in Europe.