How Uncommon is Chrissy Teigen’s ‘Flight to Nowhere’ Experience?

Dec 31, 2017

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On Tuesday, people worldwide were talking about the wild story of an “eight hour flight from LAX to LAX” on ANA Flight 175, an experience that was live tweeted by supermodel, aviation lover and (hopefully) future TPG contributor Chrissy Teigen. After landing, the situation was investigated by the FBI, who found that two brothers used a duplicate boarding pass to get on the plane, and the airline issued a formal apology.

Many news outlets continue to be fascinated by the idea of a plane turning around mid-flight. On Friday, Brian Kelly (The Points Guy himself) was invited onto CNN to talk about the situation:

However, an aircraft turning around and returning to its origin airport isn’t that uncommon. The New York Times spoke with our friends over at FlightRadar24, who searched through their extensive flight database and found that Chrissy’s flight was one of 10 flights worldwide that returned to its destination across the same 24-hour window.

Clearly not all of these flights are due to a stowaway. Most flights that divert are caused by a medical situation, mechanical malfunction or a serious birdstrike — which are a costly problem for airlines. And then there are unusual or scary situations that make the news, like fire shooting out of the engines or screams coming from the cargo hold.

In fact, diversions are so common that if it weren’t for Chrissy’s live tweeting, the public might have never heard about this story. Passengers would have been inconvenienced — and some have taken to Twitter to express that frustration. But, without someone with a large social following, this probably would have just been another flight diversion.

And yes, Chrissy made it to Japan, although the new flight messed up her plans with her husband John Legend:

Thankfully Tokyo is far from the worst place in the world to end up spending some extra time.

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