Here we are again! If you’ve missed Part 1, it’s essential reading before we dive back into the story.
When I finished, we had just taken off again after realizing that our plane was safe and had no more chance of catching fire than it would on a normal day (which is hopefully slim).
This delay was going to put us in Orlando about four hours late, but you know what, I can be flexible – it’s only four hours and I got a story out of the ordeal, so hakuna matata (what a wonderful phrase).
I took advantage of my extra leg room aisle seat to get up and walk around a lot in the first half of the journey. I get pretty restless on long flights because I get motion sickness if I read or watch a movie, so listening to the in-flight entertainment is usually my thing.
I would have preferred to listen to music on my phone, but my in-seat USB charger didn’t work and I didn’t want to drain the battery so that I couldn’t contact my dad when I landed in Orlando.
Well, guess what, past-Kalyn, GOOD IDEA! Because you’re going to need ALL of the battery you can get when you land in a couple of hours…
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ATLANTIC OCEAN!
Right, okay, so, after we took off again, there had seemed to be drama going on a few seats behind me with flight attendants running back and forth and oxygen tanks being rushed to the back. The seatbelt sign was turned on to make us stay in our seats and not get in the way, but we had no real idea what was going on.
I remember thinking as soon as it started that we were going to need to land somewhere because of a medical emergency. We were not too far from Canada at this point and I remembered stories from September 11th when planes coming from the Atlantic landed in Canada as the nearest possible landmass.
However, we kept on flying towards Orlando and I figured all was going to be okay since no announcements had been made. Life continued on as normal for most passengers and Orlando was just about two hours away.
Then, it happened.
“This is your captain speaking,” we heard. He hadn’t really been on speaking terms with us lately ever since he scared us out of our minds by Mayday-ing us earlier in the day. “We have an infant on board who needs immediate medical attention,” he said. “We’ve spoken to our ground doctors who have advised that we need to divert the plane.”
Because I’m neurotic, I keep up the flight tracker the entire flight. So I took a quick look at our plane soaring over the empty Atlantic and figured we were going to land in North or South Carolina and then continue on.
“We’ll be landing in Bermuda in about 45 minutes,” he said.
I’m sorry, excuse me? What? I literally have 0 idea where Bermuda even is. What do you mean we’re landing in Bermuda? Is Bermuda even a real place? Isn’t it like “Genovia,” the land that Princess Mia rules over in Princess Diaries that is so, so fake but sounds so real? It’s not even coming up on the flight tracker, so obviously this can’t be right.
I looked around at the other passengers who were all looking slightly shocked. The trauma of having to put the plane down once in a direct flight hadn’t even worn off yet, and now we’re landing again? On a tropical island? Are we on a reality show?
Obviously, no one was upset. Someone had a life-threatening problem – our Disney vacations could wait. But there were definitely some incredulous looks going around the cabin. What are the chances?
The cabin was prepped for landing and we all sat still, trying not to get in the way of the crew attending to the child.
And so, around 8:00pm Bermuda time, our flight to Orlando landed at Bermuda’s one and only airport.
We sat silently and patiently until the child was taken off the plane. Once he and his family were all deplaned and on their way to the hospital, chaos emerged.
“What’s going to happen?” people demanded of the flight attendants, who had no idea. “What’s going to happen?” the flight attendants asked the pilot, who had no idea. “What’s going to happen?” the pilot must have asked Virgin Atlantic headquarters, who very clearly had no idea given that we sat on that plane for about two more hours before anything happened.
“Here’s the deal,” said the head flight attendant (who had the really unfortunate job of keeping us in the loop from here on out.) “This crew has reached its maximum working hours, so we cannot legally take off again tonight. There are two things they’re considering. One is to fly a crew out from Orlando to essentially pick you all up and take you there tonight. Or we’re all going to stay in hotels tonight and try again tomorrow.”
By this point, I had been awake for almost 24 hours and was not really comprehending the fact that we were in Bermuda, much less could possibly be staying overnight. I texted my dad to let him know.
“Finally,” the man said behind me. “We can get off this plane!”
Joke’s on you, sir, because you won’t be getting over for awhile still!
See, the Bermuda airport isn’t big enough to hold 450 + people in the immigration lines, so we waited on the plane for another hour or so while filling out our Bermudian immigration forms and debating what kind of hotel they’d put us up in.
I wondered if I would be sleeping in a sketchy “cheapest of the cheap” motel because Virgin Atlantic didn’t want to pay out too much. Part of me thought they’d probably just have us spread out on the sand with some sleeping bags and call it a night.
First, passengers who needed special assistance were called off the plane first, followed by passengers with children.
If you’ve ever been on a flight to Orlando, you’ll know that this covered…just about everybody. Except for the poor souls (including me) who had dared to travel by themselves or without a small child in tow. One mom looked at me and said, “Ah, the benefits of having children!” Yeah, you say that now, lady, but someone is going to have to drag your 5 year old all throughout Bermuda, and it’s not going to be me.
Eventually I got through the immigration line where a very friendly staff member welcomed me to Bermuda. It all became very real and very bizarre in this moment, but I shrugged off any feelings of disappointment at not being in Orlando because, hey – I’m on a tropical island.
After waiting in a super (super) long and confusing line to get my name checked off a list and onto a shuttle bus arranged by the airline, I found myself sat in a Bermudian taxi with 8 other people.
This man could have been a serial killer for all we knew, but he promised to take us to our hotel, so we let him get on with it.
Apparently we were staying at the “Fairmont Southampton.” The driver kept promising us that the hotel was “nice,” but he said it in a way that you say the gift that you got was “nice” even though it was really the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen.
I say this to help you understand that I was NOT expecting the four – star hotel complete with a full golf course and private balconies that I ended up in.
I walked into my room to find a swanky bed. It looks a bit crumpled because I threw myself down onto it as soon as I came in. Of course then, as any good blogger does, I got straight back up and told my jet lagged and confused self to get out my phone to document the moment.
Of course, this is the most epic flight I’ve ever taken, which obviously means that we did not leave the next day at 1:00pm. Or 2:00pm. Or 3:00pm. Or 4:00pm. Or 5:00pm.
Did we even leave the next day at all?
That, along with loads of pictures of Bermuda in the daytime, covered in Part 3! See you then!