Home Pop Culture Virgin Airlines: The flight from Hell.

Virgin Airlines: The flight from Hell.


“There were babies on the plane. And we are in dark and hot. You try to be patient but people were yelling and screaming.”

Willlan and other passengers that contacted CNN said at least three people passed out and had to be taken away in ambulances.

By now the confusion begins to set in. Why aren’t they letting you off the plane, why aren’t they serving you food, a cool glass of water, changing the toilet paper in the lavatory? And then there are those maddening announcements, and the more they make the more you just want to throw up and wish you stayed in the comfort of your own private summer residence- where you at least had access to a fresh round of Jim Bean…

Allegedly the cabin crew made announcements every 10 minutes that the plane would be departing soon—which by the end of 4 hours sounds maddening!

It is existential angst of the most maddening kind and by now you will be happy just to take your losses, get out of the plane and call it one of those hellish experiences that all humans are obliged to live through from time to time in order to redefine those serene moments that they actually do enjoy…

When the flight was diverted to and grounded at Bradley Airport in Connecticut, passengers were left on the plane for four hours (8:20 p.m. to 1 a.m.) as temperatures rose and humidity took over. The air conditioner (and at times all power) wasn’t working, leading some trapped passengers to faint and some needing to be treated by paramedics. One man told the AP, “Everyone was beginning to get a bit crazy; a few people got fevers, they were really struggling. Basically they cracked.” While it didn’t get all Alive, there were fears that things could get violent—one man described the scene: “people started shouting, getting more abusive. It got a little scary at times.”

This is the moment that we all dread, that we can no longer control our immediate circumstances and that despite reasonable judgement we are still held captive. A kind of weird horrid metaphorical allegory of life at times. How ironic, you keep thinking as you silently cry into your rolled dewy sleeves- this is what I had come to escape in the first place and yet the hairy green monster is sitting right here in front of me, refusing to be placated, refusing to yield, adamant that it have its way with you. If only you could stop from sobbing…

While domestic flights cannot be held longer than 3 hours on the tarmac (without the airline facing a huge fine of up to $27K/per passenger)—international flights are not subject to that rule, though Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says federal officials are investigating whether any rules were violated. LaHood, prior to this incident, also proposed extending the tarmac rule to foreign carriers.

A Virgin spokeswoman noted that because Bradley doesn’t deal with international flights, it took them a while to get everyone through customs, and for 4 of those 7 hours they were held on the plane; she declared, “It was a situation that was beyond our control.”

Red tape, bureaucratic rules, insensitive flight attendants, airport workers, security- why you wonder? Why?

Currently passengers have only been offered vouchers for ground transportation and hotels, though the airline says they are considering offering “some sort of credit” on tickets.

Finally the cabin door open and you are released from hell, from some kind of weird existential hell. You breathe in the airport tarmac fumes, look into the eyes of an unaffected airport worker and realize that even he has been through something like this before as well. You move forward, take out your passport, collect your luggage and then look to hail a taxi, hoping that somewhere along the way as you come into the vast Manhattan skyline that it’s all going to be fine, save for the bumper to bumper gnarly traffic ahead of you…