Unwell Passenger Prompts Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 Diversion

**Update: 25/11/19 @ 20:41 UTC – A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson updated about what happened in the incident, details below**

A Virgin Atlantic flight was diverted to Boston due to an unexpected incident with a passenger. The Boeing 747 was on its way to Manchester from Orlando but it had to make an unexpected turn.

Virgin Atlantic 747
A Virgin Atlantic 747 aircraft was diverted while on the way to the United Kingdom. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

Unexpected turn

Registration G-VAST was performing flight VS76 yesterday evening. It departed Orlando International Airport at 17:55 before already heading over the Atlantic, east of New York City. However, according to Aeronews, an unruly passenger had caused it to turn west, towards land. There would be no suitable landing for many miles if the 747-400 continued over the ocean. Therefore, the decision was made to land in Boston.

It remains unclear exactly what the issue was with the passenger. However, Virgin replied to a tweet by journalist Tom Podelec that stated that medical attention was needed. Virgin tweeted that the flight was due to arrive in Manchester at 09.52, this morning.

Subsequently, according to RadarBox, the flight arrived at 09:45, with a total delay of 179 minutes. Due to the lateness, the return flight was also delayed on its departure from the UK. It left Manchester at 12:02, instead of its scheduled departure time of 10:40.

Virgin 747 in flight
The crew made a swift turn back towards land for the aircraft to land safely. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

Pre-Atlantic crossing

This year, there have been many incidents of planes diverting when they are touching the Atlantic. Last week, a United Airlines Boeing 767 was heading to Chicago from Brussels but a fuel leak concern caused it to divert when it passed Ireland. Therefore, the aircraft was redirected to Shannon for further investigation.

Last month, another United flight was diverted towards land just as it was about to cross the waters. It made a full turn back to New York after a fuel leak was suspected while on the way to Dublin.

It is important for the crew to make a call before the flight is deep within its journey over the ocean. Even if it means turning right the way around, it can be a much safer, quicker, and easier option.

747 farewell

Yesterday’s Virgin 747 diversion was joined with the news that the airline had retired another unit of the aircraft type. Over the weekend, the carrier said goodbye to Tinker Belle, one of its last 747-400 airliners.

Thomas Cook Sale
Virgin is currently phasing out its 747s in a bid to upgrade its fleet. Photo: MercerMJ via Wikimedia Commons

This move is part of Virgin’s plan to retire all of the 747s in its fleet by 2021. The 747 was once the firm’s key aircraft but now it will be replaced by the A350-1000. Virgin first received the iconic jet in June 1984. However, it has now made the emotional decision to move on.

Simple Flying reached out to Virgin Atlantic for more information about the incident. A spokesperson confirmed that a passenger had needed to receive medical attention.

“The VS76 was diverted to Boston yesterday, as a passenger became unwell and the crew deemed it necessary for them to receive medical treatment,” the spokesperson said.

Were you on this flight to Manchester yesterday? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.