Stoke City's Carling Cup squad became embroiled in a mid-air drama on Tuesday night when the aeroplane that was taking them back to the Potteries following their 4-0 defeat at Portsmouth was forced to make an emergency landing.
The 45-seater plane was re-routed to Gatwick Airport after smoke was smelt aboard the aircraft.
Fire engines rushed to the scene as a precaution once the plane had safely landed at Gatwick before players and staff returned home via taxis after declining the opportunity to board another aircraft.
The chartered flight had left Southampton Airport at 11pm en route for East Midlands Airport.
Meanwhile, City boss Tony Pulis admitted his side deserved to lose their fourth round clash at Fratton Park.
Pulis made ten changes from the side that won at Tottenham at the weekend but had no excuses after the game, saying:"The four we conceded were very poor goals to give away and were typified by Glenn Whelan falling over the ball for their fourth.
"When we got in Pompey's final third there were at least five occasions where our final ball was absolutely shocking. If we'd picked people out we'd have had great opportunities ourselves.
"Between both boxes we did okay, but games are won or lost in the final third. We weren't good enough at both ends. I was expecting us to have a go at Portsmouth and I'm disappointed we didn't.
"Those ten players haven't played together much this season so you can't expect them to go out and put in a great performance."