300 Passengers Forced to Sleep at Airport After Plane Diverts to Bermuda

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More than 300 passengers were forced to sleep on the floor of the L.F. Wade International Airport in after a London-bound flight from Florida was forced to divert to Bermuda, local and international media have reported.

A replacement American Airlines (AA) plane eventually flew the passengers to their original destination on Monday night more than 21 hours after they arrived.

An AA spokesman confirmed that American Airlines flight 38 from Miami to London had to be diverted to Bermuda after a possible mechanical issue.

“We never want to disrupt our customers’ travel plans, and we apologize for the trouble this has caused.”

A spokesman for airport operator Skyport confirmed that the 777 aircraft touched down in Bermuda shortly after midnight, but safety regulations meant it could not leave until Monday evening. The relief flight, scheduled for an 8.00 p.m. take-off, left at 9.30 p.m., according to airport departure times.

According to UK news reports, some passengers claimed they were “abandoned” — and that facilities at the airport were not satisfactory.

One report quoted a passenger, Jonathan Lo, who said the pilot explained that there was an indication that the plane’s electronics were overheating.

Another passenger, Danny Wells, was quoted in the UK as saying “we have had to take an extra two days’ holiday from work as we were due to work this morning but will not be able to work tomorrow either.

“We have a family house sitting, and both have now had to take the day off tomorrow as well as they are looking after animals. There are rows of people asleep on the floor, the lights have been on almost all night, and everyone is freezing because the air con is on, so they had to get everyone’s blanket from the plane.”

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health said officials were at the airport to provide COVID-19 tests for anyone who wanted to leave the facility.

“In this instance, the decision for arranging accommodations is not one to be made by the Ministry of Health. The airline must organize hotel rooms for its passengers in such situations. At no time did American Airlines communicate a desire to have its passengers landed to transfer them to a hotel, even if only for the day.

“The Port Health team at the Ministry of Health stood ready to administer supervised antigen tests for all passengers – as we have done for passengers on previous diverted flights. However, the airline did not make that decision.

“The Ministry of Health’s compliance team also stood by in case a decision was made to allow the passengers to leave the building and stretch their legs in a designated area. Again, no decision was made. We note American’s crew were provided accommodation at a local hotel by the airline.

“Bermuda’s COVID-19 regulations did not in any way prevent American Airlines from taking steps to better accommodate its passengers today,” the spokesman added.

CMC/

 

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