The events that happened in this story are fictional… Well, maybe some of it.
And it began….
Flight BA77 to Lagos.
I woke up suddenly when I heard a cough. Like I had read on all social media platforms, a dry cough could be a symptom of the virus infection. He coughed again and my heart skipped a beat. I was still half asleep, but my brain was alert. I listened for his position. He was probably seated a few rows behind me on the plane. I hoped he was covering his mouth. I tried to imagine the reaction of those around him.
He stopped coughing and I didn’t know when I slept off again. The next time I woke up it was because the captain was making an announcement.
“Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Please, if there is a nurse or medical practitioner on board, make yourself available to a cabin crew member immediately”. He repeated the announcement again.
I looked at the screen in front of me. It was one hour to landing. I looked up and one of the cabin crew ladies had a plastic bag in her hand. She held it out with her plastic glove hands. She also had a breathing mask over her nose and mouth like the rest of the crew members. I didn’t know I had missed breakfast.
The comms went off again and the pilot repeated the same announcement. A cabin crew lady trotted by on the other isle. She disappeared behind the curtain that divided the cabins. I was still staring at the curtain when she ran back.
Everyone panicked but remained in their seats. We followed her movement with our eyes. She disappeared behind the curtain on the other end. After a split second, she ran through the cabin again. This time with another woman. Not dressed in a uniform. Perhaps that was the nurse or medical practitioner.
The comms went off again. It was the pilot.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I oblige you to please remain seated and stay calm. We will be landing at Murtala Muhammad Airport in 45 minutes”. To the cabin crew, he said. “Cabin crew please prepare the cabins for landing.”
No one was calm we were all curious to know what was going on in front. Neither the medical practitioner nor the cabin crew lady returned until we heard the announcement. It was time to land.
The plane landed and parked at the gate, but we were asked to remain seated.
“Ladies and gentlemen please remain seated till the seat belt signs are turned off.”
Everyone waited. Well, some people. There was this man on the first row of our cabin who got up to retrieve his bag. When I saw him, I was so sure others will follow but no one did. I guess that’s what happens when people prefer not to get into each other’s faces. No one was going anywhere.
The signs did not go off. The waiting dragged. People were restless. The comms came on.
“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your patience. We will be moving off shortly to a new terminal so please remain seated until the seat belt signs are turned off.”
We started to move again. We reversed away from the gate and turned towards the new terminal. We drove into another gate after what felt like 15 minutes. The signs still did not go off.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I urge you to remain calm. A passenger on this plane has now been deboarded and isolated.” The moment he said that all hell broke loose. “We have all been advised to remain on board and we will be escorted off the plane once safe to do so. Please remain calm.”
The murmuring had started. The prayers had started. The woman behind me was rocking. It was shaking my chair. Her thick Yoruba accent could be heard above the chatter” Blood of Jesus!… Jesus Christ!!… We shall not die but live…”