Passengers on a British Airways flight to Nice from Heathrow were surprised to see cabin staff wearing oxygen masks on the 17:00 service on Thursday.

The crew had reacted to a strange smell in the cabin, passengers said. The aircraft turned around and headed back to Heathrow where it landed without incident to be inspected by fire persons.

Passengers were transferred to another aircraft which left for Nice at 19:00.

The airline had nothing to say about the incident except the usual trite message: “The safety of our clients and our teams is always a priority.”