Thursday, 16 December 2010

Pets on planes. Part 2


Some people just cannot or will not leave their pets at home and often it causes chaos. I still remember one time when standing close to a baggage x ray machine I heard a tremendous commotion. I turned to see this very lithe, beautiful albeit over-made up young woman screaming at an official to “leave im alone” and “don’t frighten im”

The “im” in question was a five foot long python that she had packed in her cabin bag along with a Hello magazine and a pair of hair straighteners. “He is an integral part of my act” she bleated “and part of the family”. It was fun watching the security folk trying to lever this large snake back into a small bag using nothing but hand-held metal detectors whilst having to restrain a now frantic ‘exotic’ dancer. She was also found to have two dead mice in a little cool box for the journey in case he got ‘peckish’

The ‘Supermouse’ referred to in my title was neither of the two snake snacks mentioned above. This supermouse was very much alive and caused mayhem lasting three days on a long drawn out flight to Australia. This mouse belonged to a little girl who could not bear being separated from her ‘Mickey’ so she successfully managed to stow it away somewhere on her person.

Off the plane went and after about 3 hours we could see something was clearly wrong. There was this frantic child on her hands and knees followed by even more frantic parents poking their heads under people’s seats. They refused to tell even the crew what they were doing but it became clear when a scream came from the rear of the cabin galley area. “I tell you it was a bloody mouse” came an indignant voice. “The bloody thing was washing its feet as bold as you like in that corner”

Creatures like mice are big deals in the airline world. Mice have been known to not only chew cables but also spread diseases around the world. Our plane immediately was awarded the status of a flying global outcast along with everyone in it. Mickey had to be caught and all the passengers and spare crew set to it whilst the pilot tried to get someone somewhere to allow us to land with a rodent on the run.

Finally the mouse hunt ended fruitlessly and our captain had managed to persuade the Lebanon to allow us to land. We all shuffled off into 40 degrees of Beirut sunshine, only allowed to take the clothes on our back and the plane was impounded until Mickey was taken ‘Dead or Alive’.

It took a nightmare three days in blinding heat with no change of clothes living in a war zone before the news came through than Mickey was no more. The manual searches had failed so they decided to gas the aircraft and kill it that way. Unfortunately having gassed the plane and located our demised Mickey the humidity would not allow the gas to leave again. This meant that the plane had to go up and down a spare runway with its doors open before we were allowed to get on it.

Just before we boarded a little chap came along with a jam jar. Inside the jar was a dead mouse which he proudly displayed to the passengers and crew. “We have him,we have him” he exulted. I glanced over to the young girl to see how she was coping looking at the corpse. She quickly turned to her dad and said “it is not hi……” before he snatched her away and headed for the aircraft steps.

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