Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive Steve Ridgway said the captain's assessment was that he needed to get the aircraft back to Gatwick Airport as quickly as he could, land the aircraft and deploy the emergency chute and get all the passengers off and that is what he did.
Mr Ridgway said several passengers wanted to thank the captain for what he did and the announcements he made.
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A Met Office warning covering much of England and south-east Wales is expected to remain in place until 11am.