Thought snakes on a plane was just the theme of a terrible movie? Unfortunately for some air passengers, the slithery creatures have made their way onto real-life flights. But snakes aren’t the only scary animals that have boarded planes. With the help of our friends at flight delays compensation company AirHelp, we’ve rounded up the most bizarre tales of creepy crawlies that have caused some of the strangest flight delays around the world…
A woman was stung by a scorpion while waiting for a plane to take off from Los Angeles International Airport on an Alaska Airlines flight to Portland, Oregon. The plane returned to the gate after the woman was stung on the hand and needed to be checked by medics. The incident caused a 50-minute delay.
Ants in the air-con
It’s been reported that cabin crew on a delayed flight from Mexico City had started the air conditioning, only to find a swarm of ants had made their way into the vents. Hundreds of ants were soon sprayed into the cabin, leaving plenty of passengers with the itch.
A WestJet flight was grounded in Toronto after customs officers were certain that some unwelcome guests had made it onto the plane. A passenger smuggled iguanas into their luggage, but when they were discovered only two of the creatures were still in the suitcase. The plane had to be stopped in order to have the cargo hold fumigated, avoiding the escaped iguanas from chewing through any wires or damaging the aircraft.
Passengers on a British Airways flight to San Francisco earlier this year were delayed for four hours when a mouse was spotted on the plane. The unusual stowaway’s presence was suddenly announced to passengers and could have cost BA more than £150,000 in compensation for the passengers on board. Similarly, last year a Qatar Airways flight from Madrid to Doha was delayed for more than six hours after a mouse was spotted scurrying through the cabin.
A Citilink Indonesia flight was grounded at Kualanamu International Airport earlier this year due to thousands of bees descending onto the aeroplane’s right-hand wing. Luckily, the bees were unable to get inside. Frustrated passengers were left waiting more than 90 minutes for intervention from the local fire service, which ended up dislodging the insects with jets of water.
Cockroaches on the curtain
A colony of cockroaches took over a curtain division on an American Airlines flight from Miami to Reagan National Airport a few years ago. Passengers were left curled up on their seats during their flight while the group of unwelcome passengers caused a two-hour delay. Even if they were killed, cockroaches can live for up to a month without their heads.
Snakes on a plane
Back in 2012, an Egypt Air flight was forced to make an emergency landing in the Egyptian resort town of Al Ghardaqa due to a passenger being bitten by a cobra. The passenger had managed to smuggle the Egyptian cobra in a carry-on bag. After being bitten, they tried to control the snake, but it soon slithered under the seats much to the fear of those sitting nearby. Another snake incident caused Qantas to ground a flight from Alice Springs to Melbourne in 2009 as four pythons mysteriously disappeared from their container in the cargo hold. Unfortunately, in both cases Samuel L Jackson was nowhere to be seen!