The latest volcanic eruption in Iceland has caused disruption for many travellers but rats have also created chaos and stopped several flights this year.
In March, a passportless rat wasn’t a welcome sight when it was spotted by a pilot in the cockpit. The pilot landed the plane safely in Paphos but Thomas Cook passengers had to endure a 24-hour wait while engineers scoured the aircraft in case the rat gnawed electrical wires or other damage.
A spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority aircraft safety team told the Daily Mail: “The aircraft has a built-in alarm system so that any break in the wires would have set off a flashing light alert and the plane would have then been diverted to the nearest airport for landing.”
In the same month a scurrying rat spotted on an Air India flight operating between Dubai and Delhi by ground support staff forced officials to ground the aircraft. Over 120 passengers were evacuated and stranded at Dubai International Airport. The airplane was fumigated before taking off the next day.
Alaska Airlines was forced to delay a flight in February. The plane was about to leave Seattle-Tacoma International Airport when a rat was seen scurrying in the cabin. The airline said the flight from Seattle to Denver had just pulled away from the gate when the little stowaway was spotted.
Last year a rat was spotted in an overhead luggage compartment as a plane was waiting to taxi down the runway. All 205 passengers were ordered off the Air Canada flight from Canada to Heathrow so the rat could be taken into custody and the passengers had to spend the night in a hotel.
Rats are not the only pests to stop flights or cause travel chaos. Check out my
Rats, Ferrets, Bed-bugs and other Hitch-hiking Pests blog.