THE British sailors and Marines held by Iran - including Huddersfield sailor Chris Coe - boarded their flight to freedom today.
The former hostages left Tehran at 6am on a flight to London.
The British Airways flight was due to land later this afternoon.
It is understood the freed Marines and sailors will be flown to the Royal Marines Base at Chivenor, near Barnstaple, north Devon, after arriving in the UK.
The 15, whose release from nearly two weeks in captivity was announced by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday, arrived at the airport in a convoy of cars that drove directly to the presidential VIP section of the airport.
The crew boarded the BA flight that left the Mehrabad International Airport at about 8.30am local time (6am BST).
The British crew sat in business class on the flight.
Before boarding, the sailors received gifts given to them on President Ahmadinejad's behalf, Iran's state-run news agency, IRNA, reported.
Mr Ahmadinejad unexpectedly used a news conference in Tehran yesterday to theatrically announce that he was pardoning the 15 Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines as "a gift to the British people".
Iran continued its attempts to humiliate Britain by parading fresh pictures of the detainees being interviewed after their release, the latest in a series of stage-managed appearances.
But news of their release was greeted with relief and jubilation by the families of the detainees.
Leading Seaman Faye Turney, the one woman in the group, was shown on Iranian state television thanking Mr Ahmadinejad for "letting us go home".
She added: "We apologise for our actions."
Lieutenant Felix Carman said t he understood why the Iranian people were "insulted by our apparent intrusion into your waters".
Earlier the group - the men dressed in newly-provided grey suits - were shown shaking hands with Mr Ahmadinejad and thanking him for their release.
It was not clear what exactly prompted the release. But Mr Ahmadinejad said Britain had sent a letter pledging that it would not allow such an incident to happen again .
Mr Ahmadinejad built up to his big announcement with a lengthy denunciation of Britain, including its role in Iraq.
Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was glad the 15 were free.
In a brief, carefully- worded statement outside the door of No 10, Mr Blair insisted that there had not been any negotiations.
"We have taken a measured approach, firm but calm, not negotiating but not confronting either," he said.
He said he bore no ill will towards the Iranian people and hoped future differences could be resolved through peaceful dialogue.