A Hong Kong-bound British Airways 747 carrying 298 passengers was forced to return to Heathrow after suffering a "minor technical fault".

The flight took off at 6.20 pm Monday but returned at 9.15 pm after dumping fuel.

"They spotted very quickly that the plane had a technical issue," passenger Ashley Steel told the BBC.

"We flew over the sea for 90 minutes dropping fuel prior to returning.

"Really the whole thing felt like a detour -- it was really well handled by the staff. Most people on the plane are happy to be back on land," he added.

The flight has been rescheduled for later Tuesday.