Saturday 23rd of September The itinerary is OAK -> OSLO -> Tenerife, Canary Islands.
On the first leg from Oakland to Oslo, the flight attendants announced:
“Attention Ladies and Gentlemen, please ring your call button if you are a medical professional.”
Like Little gophers, heads pop up around the plane to see if someone around the area was sick. Nothing out of the ordinary in the Economy Section.
A few hours later, the captain announces:
“Attention Ladies and Gentlemen as you know we have a medical emergency. At this time, we have determined that this a serious issue and will make a diversion and land in Edinburgh. Flight attendants prepare for arrival. We apologize for this inconvenience. We ask that everyone stay seated until the paramedics have left the airplane.”
Within forty minutes, we landed and taxied over to a gate where an ambulance and a police car stood waiting. The next moment, the siren and lights turn on. The ambulance and the police escort take off.
What Happens if your flight has a Medical Emergency
Once the passenger left, I thought we would reverse and take off again. Not True.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, the passenger has exited the plane. The cargo crew is now searching to remove the passenger’s luggage before we depart. Please standby.”
Another forty minutes. As each minute goes by, the chances of making my connecting flight closes. I look out the window. It’s a cloudy day in Scotland. The rain on the window distorts the view. I try to sleep, but it’s too bright outside.
I get out of my seat and stretch. Passengers start talking about connecting flights. Looks like I’m not the only one that will be stuck in Oslo. The flight map on the screen no longer counts down to the final destination. The globe just keeps spinning and stopping at Edinburgh.
In the next announcement, the captain tells everyone we need to refuel. He asks everyone to stay seated but to unbuckle your seatbelt. Good thought. If the plane catches on fire, I don’t want to be buckled in.
2 hours in Edinburgh, the cargo crew has found the passenger’s luggage, the plane is full up on gas, a new flight plan is logged and we are on the way to Oslo. The flight to Oslo is only 90 minutes away. I click on the flight map and see the location time 16:45. My flight left at 15:30. So much for meeting my co-workers tonight.
Ding. The seatbelt light turns off. People jump into the aisles. It’s a rush to get out of the plane. I feel the American Stress vibe.
We debark the plane and take a long walk to immigration.
The other passport queue has two women working the booth. I proudly show my visa.
OH, yes! I will be living here. Yes! I will be working here. Hello, EU! Hello, free health insurance! Goodbye Trump. Goodbye “Take Back America” people.
I miss my connection. I pick up my luggage and head over to Norwegian customer service. Here’s my passport. The man at the counter starts typing. A LOT. It’s not looking good.
There are no more flights to Tenerife tonight. There are no available flights tomorrow. Instead, he offers a flight to Barcelona. I can sleep in a hotel there and then fly to Tenerife tomorrow.
He prints out some boarding passes and then casually says, you might have to get off the plane at Bilbao. Bilbao? Turns out, I now have to fly to Barcelona, then Bilbao, then to Tenerife.
I call my new co-workers and inform them of my delay. My amazing new school co-workers had planned to pick me up and take me out to dinner and host me at their house for one night. So much for that. I spend the next 18 hours in a daze. I arrive Barcelona around midnight. Norwegian Air gives me a voucher for a taxi and hotel. I drag myself to the hotel. Its a NH 5 star hotel. A nice surprise.
The room is a bit smokey despite being a smoke-free hotel. The kitchen is closed because I arrive so late into the night. I order a giant breakfast to be served at 5 am. About 3.5 hours of sleep later, I wake up to room service with a cart full of food. Eat. Taxi. Flight
I call Chase Sapphire Reserve and Norwegian Air. I find out that “medical emergency landings” are not covered. If the flight had been delayed by weather, I could have received up to 600 euros in compensation with the EU laws. However, this was caused by another passenger, so the airlines do not have to compensate.
My credit card insurance only refunds and credits pre-paid expenses. So I don’t get any charity there either. I feel a small twinge of anger from the delay. But then again, I don’t have anywhere to be.
What qualifies for a compensation? Let’s say you missed your connection.
Here are the types of delays that do NOT qualify for compensation:
ATC or strike by crew
Other than that, you can get 250 euros to 600 euros depending on the flight.
Priority Pass Lounge
Back to my misery. In the early morning, I fly from Barcelona to Bilbao. My layover is 2 hours. The airport is small and without any shops. I use my Priority Pass card to get into the VIP lounge. Its only 9 am, so I decide to skip the free booze. I must be getting old. I grab some perrier and fruit.
Wifi and all the snacks you can eat makes the two hours fly by. Finally, I am on my way to Tenerife. Three more hours.
The Canary Islands are part of Spain, but not like Spain. People here pay fewer taxes, have cheaper gas and cheap gas. The lifestyle is even more relaxed than the mainland. I wheel out my baggage and find a bus to Puerto De La Cruz pretty easily. For 13.55 euros, I take an hour bus ride to the city by the sea. Once there, I put on my duffel bag and wheel my two carry-on suitcases and laptop bag around the bus station. Sweat clings to my back. My face is dripping wet, and my sunglasses keep fogging up. I say forget it. I want to the taxi queue. Pension Silene Orotava hotel por favor. 4 men start speaking Spanish trying to figure out the directions.
5 minutes later, they all agree on the route and we hop in. Another 8 euros I’ve arrived at my final destination.
Total travel time…. 36 hours. Was it worth it? Have a look for yourself…