Reuters reports the incident happened aboard a flight between Tampa International Airport (TPA) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).
Stowaway Snake Makes Appearance at End of Flight
According to those aboard the flight, most of the trip was uneventful between Florida and the New York-area airport. It wasn’t until after the aircraft landed did the slithering stowaway make an appearance.
As the flight was taxiing to the gate in Newark, witnesses say those in the business class began “shrieking and pulling their feet up off the floor.” The aircraft ultimately made it to the gate, where police officers from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and animal control specialists met the flight.
The reptile was ultimately determined to be a garter snake, which is described as a “generally harmless, small to medium-sized snake” native to North America. It’s unknown how the snake boarded the aircraft, or how long it was on the flight. Once captured, the stowaway was released into the wild without further incident. No flyers were harmed by the appearance of a snake on a plane.
When pressed for comment, a United spokesperson told Reuters that crew members were quickly alerted to the situation and “called the appropriate authorities to take care of the situation.”
Snake Brings Back Memories of “Support Animals” for Flights
Although the snake created emotional distress, there was a time in the not-so-distant past where a reptile could fly for free as an “emotional support animal.” In late 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation created a rule to amend the Air Carrier Access Act, tightly defining what can be claimed as a support animal.
Source: frugal travel guy