A British Airways steward on his first day of work mistakenly activated the emergency slide as the jet taxied, causing a major inconvenience to passengers and costing the airline £50,000.

The incident occurred on a Boeing 777 flight from Heathrow to Lagos, Nigeria, when the steward accidentally opened an emergency door. Emergency services rushed to surround the plane, but soon realised it was not being evacuated.

The plane had just pushed back from the stand and was moments from take-off when the incident occurred. Passengers were then told they faced a four-hour wait as engineers were called to lift the rubber emergency slide from the tarmac. However, the plane required a new slide, which further delayed the flight. A substitute jet completed the journey with the same crew, minus the rookie steward who was immediately replaced.

Emergency slide of a British Airways Boeing 777 deployed at London Heathrow
Photo Credit: AirLive

The steward, who has not been named, was “stood down” from all duties by irate BA bosses and ordered back to training. The bungle cost the airline at least £50,000 after missing its take-off slot, ordering a new slide, and switching aircraft. BA apologised to customers, gave them refreshment vouchers and arranged for a replacement plane.