An Emirates flight from Los Angeles to Dubai on September 13th was forced to make two unscheduled stops, first landing in Toronto before stopping in London. The first diversion was due to a medical emergency onboard before the plane had to make a stop in London to switch crews.
Double detour for flight EK216
On Monday, Emirates flight EK216 from Los Angeles to Dubai made a couple of unscheduled detours due to an unforeseen series of events. What should have been a direct 15-hour flight ended up taking a lot longer after a medical emergency forced a diversion. The aircraft then had to make an additional stop in London to change crew.
Approximately four hours after takeoff from Los Angeles, the Airbus A380 made an abrupt change of course due to a medical emergency. The exact nature of the medical incident has not been disclosed. However, it was deemed serious enough to warrant an immediate diversion.
The plane landed at the nearest airport capable of accommodating a giant A380 – Toronto Pearson Airport. From the moment of diversion, the aircraft had to fly for a further two hours to make it to Toronto. The flight touched down at 03:30 local time and spent over two hours on the ground.
Mandatory change in crew
By the time flight EK216 was ready to depart from Toronto, its crew had already clocked in around 10 hours from the moment of departure. Continuing onwards to Dubai from Toronto would have led the crew to exceed their maximum duty hours. The Emirates operations team now had a difficult decision to make.
Emirates flies from Toronto to Dubai five times a week, but Tuesday is one of the days without a flight. It also departs at 22:00, whereas the diverted flight arrived in the early hours of the morning. This would have meant an extremely long wait for passengers, even if there was a scheduled service that day.
According to One Mile At A Time, complicated travel restrictions in Canada made things even more difficult. While the country recently relaxed its entry requirements, many passengers onboard flight EK216 would not have met the requirements should the flight have decided to stay.
Merging London flights
Emirates decided to fly to London, where it operates daily flights to Dubai out of London Heathrow. In London, the flight crew from EK004 would take over from the EK216 crew and Emirates canceled flight EK004.
Flight EK216 left Toronto at around 06:00 on its way to London. The flight touched down in London at 17:10 BST and a new crew took over. Passengers had to wait another three hours before the plane finally departed at 20:40. The flight arrived in Dubai at 06:35 GST, around 12 hours after its initial scheduled arrival time.
Have you ever been on a flight forced to make a lengthy diversion? Feel free to share your story in the comments.