Cormac O’Shea from Dublin decided to brave the flight during Storm Eunice, but was left facing a huge delay when he set off from Dublin to Birmingham and landed in the wrong country
A man has described the moment his “shaky” flight landed in the wrong country after taking off and attempting to land in the midst of ferocious Storm Eunice.
The weather front had brought gale-force winds of 100mph to the British Isles, ripping the roof off the London O2 arena, claiming several lives and wreaking havoc on travel and transport.
But Cormac O’Shea decided to press ahead with his plans to fly from Dublin to Birmingham with two companions.
Despite severe weather warnings, the storm seemed calm to the trio, who boarded their 10.15am Ryanair flight on time.
But as they made their descent into the midlands of the UK, their hopeful outlook began to change.
Writing a piece for DublinLivejournalist, Cormac, said: “The take-off was rocky, but nothing too frightening, and once we were up over the clouds it all seemed fine.
“It’s only 40 minutes to Birmingham and it felt like less when the pilot alerted the cabin that we were making our descent.
“It gradually became rocky as we started to come beneath the clouds, the plane bouncing from side to side rather violently.
“Many were visibly nervous, a two-year-old sitting near me, who was ‘on her second-ever flight’ according to her Mam, excitedly looked out the window and remarked it was ‘very wibbly wobbly’.
“The pilot aborted the landing and informed us we’d circle around a try again.
“After a few minutes circling the sky, it was clear the plane was lifting higher and maybe we’d be heading somewhere else.”
Cormac and his flying buddies thought the plane may divert to Manchester or Liverpool instead.
But when the pilot revealed they were headed for Prestwick, Glasgow, instead, it took some time for them to realize they were landing in a completely “different country”.
Cormac said: “It’s fair to say not many people know where that is, I and the passengers around me certainly didn’t, it soon became clear it’s in Glasgow – literally a different country.”
After they touched down on Scottish soil, the pilot gave passengers the chance to wait to see if they could return to Birmingham by air or disembark and take a replacement bus.
Ryanair would provide the alternative transport, but warned the journey would take eight or nine hours, according to Cormac.
He said: “Waiting seemed like the right option until the pilot informed passengers it was “very likely” the plane would head back to Dublin, with the chances of a Birmingham return minimal.
“That saw a pretty mass exodus as people headed out to wait for this Ryanair provided bus.”
But after a two-hour wait for their replacement bus, Cormac and friends were crestfallen to learn that the flight had eventually landed in Birmingham despite the pessimistic forecasts.
He said: “About two hours later [the bus] finally arrived and tired passengers filtered on, with a five-hour journey ahead of us.
“It was at this time someone spotted that our flight had just landed back in Birmingham, making the trip that bit more depressing – especially given the outlook the pilot gave as we disembarked.
“Ryanair offered their apologies by text and email for something that in their defense was not within their control.”