Thursday, November 8, 2007

Bermuda: An "Unscheduled Stop," 2006

In September 2006 I was on my way to Trinidad, with the first leg of the trip being an American Airlines flight from Philadelphia to San Juan. We were an hour into the flight, roughly at 10 AM, when the pilot announced that the plane had a problem with its electrical system and that we would have to make an emergency landing on Bermuda.

We sat on the runway for two hours while the mechanics tried to fix the electrical problem. We knew little of what was going on, and as it turned out, one of the passengers and one of the flight attendants got into an argument and a woman from the Bermuda ground crew had to board the plane to calm things down.

Shortly afterwards, we were let out of the plane to occupy two waiting rooms in the Bermuda airport. We were given sandwiches and sodas to calm our hunger. In the meantime the flight crew was flown out of Bermuda, roughly at 1:30 PM, and the rest of us waited for a new plane and a new flight crew to arrive.

When the last flight left Bermuda at 3:00 PM, we were allowed to occupy the second floor as well, and the snack bars and shops were left open. We couldn't leave the airport to enjoy Bermuda, but we were given meal vouchers, were able to access the Internet if we wanted to pay for that service, and of course shopped. We had to content ourselves with looking out the window to get a sense of Bermuda's beauty.

Finally, at about 7:30 PM, the flight arrived to take us to San Juan and make the necessary changes in our flight itineraries. (We were made to go through customs in San Juan because we left US territory in our brief stay in Bermuda's airport.) As we left Bermuda, the Bermudian airport employees, in their British-sounding accents, said that they would remember this "diversion."

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