Norwalk Virus Hell

April 8, 2010

in Illness/Medical Stories

The worst flight of my life turned into the all around worst experience of my life because it didn’t end when the plane did. The background info: I was returning from a friend’s wedding in the Dominican Republic, and like everyone else on the direct flight back to Regina, I had contracted the Norwalk virus that was rampantly infecting all the resorts and vacationers in the vicinity. In case you are unfamiliar, Norwalk is code word for “can’t keep anything down as extreme gastrointestinal distress is ravaging your body.”

The flight was packed and the plane had only 2 washrooms for well over 200 people. Just boarding the plane, I could tell I was not the only one feeling like I was about to die. Saying people looked green is an understatement. Even before the plane took off people began lining up for access to the washrooms. The attendants made everyone go back to their seats so the plane could take off, and this is where the real hell began. From where I was sitting I could hear people gagging, retching, and vomiting into whatever they could get their hands on. To make matters even worse, vomiting was not the only means that people were using to deploy offensive body functions. As sick as it sounds, I know for a fact people on that plane were forced to “soil” themselves due to the combination of their severe diarrhea and the lack of washrooms available to a plane full of sick people.

The flight was roughly 4 hours, and if this was not trying enough, upon landing the plane no deboarding started even after we had been on the tarmac for over 10-15 minutes. By this time BOTH the washrooms were declared “unusable” as they were full and would start to overflow if used anymore. The plane reeked like poop and vomit and people started to question (not nicely or quietly) why we were not deboarding. It was at this point that the pilot comes on the loud speaker and announces that he has contacted Health Canada (as per protocol) and he is not authorized to let any passenger off the plane until an official comes to inspect us.

The plane arrived in Regina at 3:10 AM and said official took his sweet time in arriving as I assume he was called out of bed to come. So we are sitting for almost 3 hours on the tarmac in a stinky plane with no washroom and some very sick and smelly people. Oh I shouldn’t forget to mention that they also had no food or water to offer us as they “ran out” because they only stock enough for the flight. HELL HELL HELL

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Greg April 8, 2010 at 3:35 pm

OMG….that is a flight from hell. That is so sickening, I feel sorry for you. And yes, I believe its true.


dan April 8, 2010 at 5:44 pm

and to make matters worse…you were going to Regina


dan April 8, 2010 at 5:48 pm

I apologize, actually I was in Regina once and found it and the people very friendly


Hugh April 8, 2010 at 11:22 pm

WHY would you get on a plane if you were so sick??? First, knowing that immediate access to a bathroom is not possible, why would you do that to yourself. Secondly, and most importantly, WHY would you risk infecting others who may not be sick?? If I was sitting next to you, or my kids were, I would be LIVID. What an amazingly stupid and inconsiderate act!!


rerere April 9, 2010 at 8:57 am

Yes, thank you, someone who just puts it out there!


Allen April 9, 2010 at 1:12 am

Well put, Hugh. Don't fly if you're sick! I feel no sympathy for the writer.


Ren2005 April 28, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I have no sympathy either… stupidity on everyones part!!! Of course you cannot use the restroom on take off or landing.. Stay in your hotel room idiots!!!


the logger April 9, 2010 at 1:26 am

Sitting next to a shitter AND a puker. That would be my flight from hell.

Were there any shitter puker fatties on the plane?

Stay off the plane when you are sick, moron.


Kad April 9, 2010 at 1:23 pm

"had no food or water"

The first thing I think of when in a sewage infested place is a meal. 😉

If you couldn't keep anything down, or in, why would anyone want to supply something likely to aggravate (if that's possible) the situation.

Definitely a flight from hell. I wonder why the cabin crew didn't refuse the flight. Health reasons (for others) alone should have been enough to quarantine everyone on the plane for at least 48 hours.


Laura May 20, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Oh goodness. This is a true flight from hell. I pity anyone who wasn't sick.

I can't blame you for just wanting to GTF home though. I flew into Beijing with the flu last summer, had to do it because I had work and no vacation days left…


Kaylie May 27, 2010 at 7:05 pm

That's terrible! I contracted the Norwalk virus on a flight from Tokyo to Vancouver and I'm really thankful that I was able to suffer at home and not on an airplane!


Ren2005 April 28, 2011 at 2:01 pm

You and everyone else who boarded that plane violently ill are IDIOTS!! I am sorry..but you and everyone else who were sick, could have waited it out until your symptoms went away. Who the hell would want to fly so sick anyway?? Not normal. I dont care where you were. Stay another couple days in your hotel room. You probably infected everyone in your vicinity..not to mention the next few flights after you. DISGUSTING.


numb3rs April 28, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Didn't the OP mention that the virus was "rampantly infecting all hotels in the area"? Everybody would already have the virus, anyway. Plus, lots of people have extenuating circumstances, like work or whatever, and, well, not flying… is not an option.

(But, just saying; if there were people horrendously sick on an airplane I was going to fly on, I would stay the frick off! Book another flight. :P)


Ren2005 May 19, 2013 at 10:48 pm

I don’t care. It’s disgusting. So you get a couple of unpaid days off work. Stay in your hotel room until you are well enough to fly. I am shocked they let these people board so sick.


MB2013 October 22, 2013 at 12:35 am

I came down with Norwalk virus on a plane last night on a 20 minute flight in Canada. Within 10 minutes I went from feeling fine, to sudden uncontrollable diarrhea. It came on very suddenly, while the plane was in the air. An ambulance medic took me off the plane after the other passengers were taken off and put in a quarantine room in the airport. The ambulance took me to a nearby hospital to see a doctor. The ambulance medic asked me several questions to determine if I had Norwalk virus or stomach flu. The other passengers were released from the quarantine room based on the ambulance medic's diagnosis of stomach flu. They were told to be extra careful to wash their hands frequently especially before eating since the virus is primarily spread by touch. I vomited into the air-sickness bag I had taken with me to the hospital about an hour and a half after onset of symptoms. The doctor who saw me at the hospital about 3 hours after onset diagnosed Norwalk virus and gave me an IV to rehydrate and anti nausea medication. The doctor also said to avoid contact with other people for 3 days to avoid spreading it. The nurse setting up the IV mentioned that alcohol based hand sanitizers do not protect against Norwalk virus and hand washing is the only protection.
I caught it from my husband who had come down with it about 45 hours before the flight and was feeling fine by yesterday. He may have caught it at a medical clinic he visited for another problem about 30 hours before he got sick.


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