First ever Virgin Atlantic flight from Manchester to Atlanta cancelled after water cannon salute goes badly wrong ….

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This is not your typical Head for Points article but I couldn’t help slotting it in!

To selectively quote from the Daily Mail (original story here):

A Virgin Atlantic passenger jet was grounded after a botched ‘water cannon salute’ by airport fire tenders clogged up its engines by spraying thick foam instead of water.

The Virgin Atlantic plane – with its ‘Beauty Queen’ name emblazoned on the fuselage of the Airbus A330-300 – had just landed in Manchester with 188 passengers on board after its high-profile inaugural flight from Atlanta, Georgia in the USA. 

Virgin Foam

It was preparing to depart from Manchester as return flight VS109 when the watery tradition was set to send it on it way.

But disaster struck when the fire tenders at Manchester Airport positioned themselves to spray a giant arch of water over the top of the transatlantic passenger jet – and someone mistakenly pressed the button marked ‘foam’.

So instead of pure water splaying down the aircraft, it was fire-suppressing foam which got into and clogged up the vital and sensitive jet engines and hi-tech turbine blades.

As a result the spluttering plane, dripping with foam residue, was grounded and forced to undergo a top to bottom safety check-over running to thousands of pounds by Virgin Atlantic engineers

Some 252 departing passengers hoping to enjoy an on-time departure at 10.35am instead faced a five hour delay before finally being told the flight would have to be cancelled altogether. They are being put up at hotels overnight and told to report for a replacement flight at 9.30am Tuesday.

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  1. Oh dear – wonder whose going to cover the cost of that then (or at least, whose insurance will cover it)!

  2. Aeronaut says:

    I wonder if they were trying to impress, the airline network news website that awards a weekly (water) “Arch of Triumph”…

  3. Worzel says:

    Fair play though; It seems they managed to rustle-up Prosecco and cupcakes for 252 fairly swiftly!

  4. The_Real_A says:

    Hilarious 🙂 This brightened my coffee break.

  5. This has made my afternoon! LOL

  6. Rather a good way to spread the news of their new route… Almost makes you wonder how much of an “accident” it was, especially given they had cupcakes and prosecco so quickly available!

    • Trust me, this wouldn’t have been intentional!

      While it will undoubtedly have generated plenty column inches, it will have cost many tens of thousands in overhaul, repair, compo, additional charges.

      The cupcakes & prosecco were most likely already aboard to give to the pax shortly after takeoff to celebrate the route launch.

  7. Apart from the actual first MAN-ATL flight departed the ay before! It was landing as the first ATL-MAN flight.

  8. Is it me or does that aircraft look incredibly dirty? It could do with a water canon salute aimed straight at the fuselage

    • Agreed, looking at the photo before reading the text, i had assumed that the punchline was that they used the sluice truck by mistake!

  9. Jimmyjimmy says:

    Darwin awards contender

  10. Thomas says:

    One word………LOL!

  11. David Barron says:

    LOL – Just think of the compensation. I wonder how many bonus Virgin Flying Club miles passengers will get in compo (as well as money due to Flight Delay rulings in the High Court)

    • RIccati says:

      They will just issue a plain denial of your claim, even if there are legitimate reasons. Then, they will take you by exhaustion. Unfortunately one has to go through the motions with the airline before taking the complaint further.

  12. MAGGER says:

    Opps…I guess the fire crews aren’t quite used to their brand new fire engines!
    I hope they don’t make a similar mistake if there us an emergency!

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