Passengers on a United Airlines flight from Venice to Newark had a pretty disgusting experience thanks to a fellow passengers, who brought ants on board the aircraft which then spread throughout the plane.
The ants originated from the overhead bins, where the passenger in question had stored his bags. Following an inspection even more of the insects spilled into the cabin.
NBC New York (access here) reported about the situation and showed the aircraft after landing.
A passenger on a United Airlines flight from Venice to Newark tweeted that she and other travelers saw — and felt — large numbers of ants crawling on them, their seats, the windows and even in the luggage compartments.
At one point, Charlotte Burns tweeted, ants spilled out of an overhead bag as the situation quickly spiraled and the insects spread. The cabin crew apparently scrambled to contain them with limited resources. …
The airline acknowledged the incident and said it was responding.
“We are concerned by the experience our customer reported on United flight 169 from Venice to Newark. We have been in contact with the crew and they have advised the ants have been isolated from a customer’s bag and the affected areas have been wiped down,” A United spokesman said in a statement.
“At this time, the aircraft will continue to its final destination. We will be taking the aircraft out of service when it arrives in Newark.”
In an updated statement, the airlines said that the ants were isolated in the customer’s bag in the overhead bin and “was contained to a limited area of the cabin.” Once it landed in Newark, the plane was taken out of service for extermination, United said.
Why were all these ants inside that passengers carry on on how were they transported? Never mind that he took them through security, what would have happened at customs in Newark? There is no way so many of them could find their way into his luggage without him knowing or noticing.
Here is an excerpt of the live tweets the lady put out when confronted with the situation on board:
Hilarious and shocking at the same time as apparently the crew didn’t have the slightest clue or coordination of what to do. “We have an ant infestation from a passengers bag and they’re crawling all over but sorry, said passenger is sleeping now so nothing we can do!” Seriously?
I’m surprised there isn’t a simple can of bug spray on board for such situations. Bugs find their way into confined spaces all the time, even without the involvement of humans so why not be prepared for that!?
Horrible experience for the passengers involved. This happened shortly after take off so they had to sit another 8 hours through this.
The article had no information about any action taking by CBP upon arrival other than United saying they “followed proper protocol by notifying customs, immigration, as well as agriculture of the issue”. Hopefully they took the passenger aside for a thorough interview to investigate how the ants came into his carry on. Should he be found to have deliberately taken them on then hefty fines are waiting from both Customs and United as they’d hopefully bill him for the planes downtime and extermination service.