LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Two brothers booked on different flights somehow got on the same Tokyo-bound plane, creating a bizarre case of confusion that forced the aircraft to return to Los Angeles International Airport Tuesday night, several hours after taking off, a U.S. government official told CBS2 Wednesday.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) Flight 175 departed LAX at 11:36 a.m. Tuesday. About four hours into the flight, the plane made a U-turn over the Pacific Ocean and headed back to LAX.
“During the flight, the cabin crew became aware that one of the passengers boarded the incorrect flight and notified the pilot,” ANA said in a statement to CBS2. “As part of the airline’s security procedure, the pilot in command decided to return to the originating airport, where the passenger was disembarked.”
However, a government official told CBS2 that two brothers bound for Tokyo had been booked on different flights: one had a boarding pass for the ANA Flight 175, and another had a boarding pass for a United Airlines flight. ANA and United have a joint venture.
When the brothers tried to change seats, attendants noticed the problem.
The plane, which happened to be carrying singer John Legend and his wife Chrissy Teigen, landed at LAX at 7:33 p.m.
Teigen expressed her frustration, tweeting frequently to her more than nine million followers during the ordeal.
“A flying first for me: 4 hours into an 11 hour flight and we are turning around because we have a passenger who isn’t supposed to be on this plane. Why… why do we all gotta go back, I do not know.”
LAX police were initially told to be ready for Flight 175’s return before it was discovered there was a mix-up that was ultimately straightened out, police said.
“ANA is researching the situation currently to determine how the passenger boarded the flight,” the airline wrote.
Once back at LAX, tired passengers were bussed to nearby hotels. Several tweeted the airline only gave them a $200 voucher for food and hotel costs.
The plane did not take off again until 3:23 a.m. Wednesday.
Other Tokyo-bound passengers were caught in the domino-effect Wednesday morning.
“I was checking in, and it said the flight was delayed seven hours, and I was wondering what is happening,” one flier told CBS2.
“It’s more complicated, so I’m going on to Vietnam and then I’m getting on a cruise, so I could miss the whole thing, depending on what they tell me,” another said.
Meanwhile, Teigen speculated as to why the plane did not just continue its journey to Tokyo.
“Why did we all get punished for this one person’s mistake?” Teigen asked on Twitter. “Why not just land in Tokyo and send the other person back? How is this the better idea, you ask? We all have the same questions.”
It was unclear if passengers would be receiving refunds.