Spilling his coffee on his aircraft’s radio equipment, a United Airline pilot accidentally triggered an alarm signalling the plane was being hijacked, which caused the Chicago to Frankfurt, Germany plane to make an unexpected stop in Canada.
According to Transport Canada information, United Flight 940 was re-routed to the Canadian capital of Toronto in the late hours of Monday and touched down safely at the city’s Pearson International Airport. The coffee spill, which caused interference with the aircraft’s communications equipment, caused distress signals to be released, one of which was code 7500, indicating unlawful interference or hijacking. It is thought that the pilot’s exclamation upon spilling his coffee was incorrectly interpreted as this alarm code due to the muffled effect the liquid caused to the equipment.
Transport Canada’s report said that the country’s defense department was alerted to the potential security risk, but that with the assistance of the airline’s dispatch staff, the crew on board the aircraft were able to confirm that the problem was due to a breakdown in communication technology and not a hijacking.
In other coffee and airline news, US-based Java City Inc, a subsidiary of Irish coffee and tea expert, Bewleys, has been supplying American Airlines passengers, both domestic and international, with its sustainably-sourced speciality coffee since the start of November 2010. The blend offered on board is derived from the Arabica variety of bean, which is medium roasted and has a nutty flavour with a subtle smoky undertones.