Over 300 passengers were made to go through the inconvenience of a reroute after a pilot spilled his coffee in the cockpit of a plane on February 6, per The New York Times.
Following a lengthy inquiry, it's been determined that that Condor Airlines flight A330, which was taking 337 persons - including 11 crew members - to Cancun from Frankfurt had to turn back when the pilot accidentally got coffee on the controls. The plane was over the Atlantic ocean at the time and the crew thought it best to head to Ireland instead of continuing along the initial flight path.
According to the United Kingdom's aviation authority, the coffee was on a tray table in the cockpit when the pilot knocked it over, spilling most of it onto his lap. however, some of it went into the communications equipment and even melted a button.
“During the diversion, the flight crew alternately used supplementary oxygen, with one pilot on oxygen at all times,” the aviation authority said.
“As safety is always our top priority, we have comprehensively investigated this incident and reviewed the procedures of liquids in the cockpit,” Condor spokeswoman Magdalena Hauser explained. “Our crews were reminded of a careful handling as well as to use appropriate containers for their water or coffee. We apologize for any inconveniences the diversion might have caused to our guests.”
The pilot's and co-pilot's audio control panels were both disabled and there was a bit of smoke coming from the cockpit, according to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, but the flight landed safely in Shannon, Ireland, after turning around and no one was injured.
Pilots will now have to pay extra attention when flying with coffee, as well as ensuring that they have proper lids and holders for their cups.
“The aircraft manufacturer recommends using the cup holder,” the aviation authority added. “The size of cups used by this operator on this route made it more difficult to take cups in and out of the cup holder than larger cups that have a bigger area at the top of the cup holder to grasp. This incompatibility generally discouraged use of the cup holder, despite the policy.”
Per the report, the airline now provides lids for crew members for beverages and has let them know that they are required to use them.