Captain Bruce Ramph was piloting his Boeing 737-800 enroute from Bali to Guam on the evening of Tuesday, September 11, when forty-five minutes into the flight he received an urgent call to return to Bali's airport with his load of 161 passenger and crew. The control center of Continental Airlines, in the light of the ongoing terrorist activities in the United States, had decided the flight should hold in Bali until the situation became clearer.
Back in Bali, Continental Airline's local Manager, Eric Kaler, had the sizeable task of making arrangements for the 153 passengers suddenly back where their flight had started, while the crew of 8 faced some different problems. Originally assigned only to travel down to Bali on a turn around flight, the crew now found themselves without so much as a change of clothes facing a stay of uncertain duration.
Such a situation could become poignant as well as pungent for the crew who eventually were compelled to stay in Bali for 72 hours before getting the "all clear" to continue the flight to Guam. Fortunately, the local Continental Manager, managed to mix and match a wardrobe for them from several Bali department stores and even persuaded the hotel to provide a one-hour dry-cleaning service while the crew wrapped themselves in Balinese sarongs.
Once cleaned and scrubbed, there was still the problem of what the crew were going to do to fill their time while waiting for orders to get air borne. Local members of the community, moved by the events happening in the U.S.A. insisted they be allowed to lend a hand in keeping the delay as stress-free as possible. Bali Discovery Tours provided complimentary tours of some of the island's many beautiful cultural attractions while the award-winning Bumbu Bali Restaurant hosted the crew to a multi-course Indonesian Rijstafel dinner.
Perhaps being stranded in Paradise has its advantages, after all.
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