Surprise stowaway: Air India flight forced to turn around after bat found in business class

Jun 3, 2021

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A bat with discerning taste hitched a ride on an Air India flight 27 May and terrorised passengers, forcing the plane to return to the airport.

According to the New Zealand Herald, the incident was chronicled by those on the flight, who later posted the chaos on social media.

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About half an hour after takeoff, the bat appeared, prompting the Newark-bound flight to turn around and head back to New Delhi, its city of origin.

By the time the plane landed and wildlife experts were called to assist in the capture and removal of the bat, it had disappeared.

Passengers deplaned and boarded another aircraft for their flight, which reportedly reached Newark safely around 11:35 a.m. local time.

Eventually, the bat was found, dead, inside one of the overhead bins in business class. Its remains were removed, and the inside of the plane was thoroughly fumigated.

As for how the animal found its way inside the aircraft, authorities say they’ll conduct a thorough investigation, but the Indian Express quoted an airline official saying that “The probable reason/cause may be loading vehicles like those for catering” — a disturbing thought, considering catering vehicles handle the food that’s brought onboard to feed passengers. We reached out to Air India for comment, but hadn’t heard back by publication time.

There haven’t been many animal-related plane stories of late, largely due to last year’s downturn in travel, thanks to COVID-19. However, earlier this year, United, Delta and American — the “big three” U.S. carriers — banned emotional support animals from flights. (Don’t even get us started on the man who inadvertently sat in dog waste after a service animal had an accident in his seat on the previous flight.)

Featured photo by Mint Images/Getty Images.

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