Snake aboard a plane on a United Airlines flight: fear among passengers

Last Monday a snake caused panic on a flight of the United Airlines departed from Florida. Business class passengers had to contend with the unwanted guest, spotted shortly before landing. This isn’t the first time a reptile has sneaked onto an airliner.

The sighting

The “2038”, departing from Tampa in Florida and going to New Jersey, could have been one of the many flights operated by the US airline, if a passenger had not started screaming at the presence of a snake on board. The shouts immediately alarmed the hostesses and stewards, who took note of the rather unusual situation as fear spread among the customers. As reported by a United spokesman, the cabin crew immediately proceeded to “contact the appropriate authorities” to manage the emergency situation. Once ashore at the Newark Liberty international airportanimal control officers and airport police showed up at the gate and took steps to capture the snake which was then released into the wild.

The happy ending

It was a garter snake of the Natricidae family, widespread in North America. Although it looks anything but reassuring due to its distinctive yellow and orange color, it is not a poisonous reptile. It remains a mystery how the animal managed to “crawl” on board. Difficult to determine even if there are responsibilities on the part of the passengers. The fact is that it is not the first case. It had already happened in the past that a reptile terrorized the passengers of airliners: in 2016 on a flight of the company Aeromexico a similar situation had occurred and so in 2013 a python had raided the Australia-Papua New Guinea route.