By Andrea Romano
March 06, 2019
SOPA Images/Getty Images

Passengers on a Virgin Atlantic flight from Barbados to London had to be quarantined on Wednesday morning due to a mystery illness affecting 50 people on board.

According to Business Insider, passengers on Flight VS610, a private charter flight from an MSC Cruises ship, landed at Gatwick Airport around 5 a.m. and were quarantined after several passengers reported that they were feeling “unwell,” suffering from coughing fits and nausea.

Related: A Virgin Atlantic Flight Just Broke a Record by Hitting 801 MPH on Its Way From L.A. to London

According to Business Insider, the passengers were also aboard the cruise ship in the Caribbean before getting on the flight.

After landing, all sick passengers were taken to a holding area to receive medical attention. According to tweets from passenger Trevor Wilson, all passengers were kept on board for about 90 minutes before being moved to quarantine.

Wilson described that the cough was originating in the chest, implying that those afflicted may have a chest infection.

Officials believe the sickness may have started on the ship, and not the flight, NBC News reported.

Planes are sometimes quarantined as a safety measure after widespread illness is reported. For example, an Emirates flight was quarantined in New York back in September 2018 after passengers felt sick. Officials have even been known to shut down parts of airports if a contagious illness is suspected, like Cleveland Airport shutting down water fountains after several passengers fell ill.

MSC Cruises told Business Insider that there were no cases of acute gastroenteritis on the ship in the last two weeks, and they are currently looking into the cause of the sickness.

Virgin Atlantic said that 50 people on board were affected, however, a statement from the South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust estimated about 30 sick people, according to Business Insider. Three people had to be taken to the hospital for further examination.

“As a precaution the plane was met by the relevant authorities who made the decision to screen everyone onboard, in line with standard health and safety procedures. The Wellbeing of our customers and crew is always our priority, and we are supporting those affected. Customers have now left the aircraft and can continue their journeys as normal,” Virgin Atlantic said in a statement to Business Insider.

Getting sick on a trip can put a damper on the whole journey. Some of the best ways to stay healthy while traveling include staying hydrated, packing an emergency kit, and taking probiotics. But if you’re really feeling ill, it’s best to rebook your flight.

Advertisement