Snake on a Plane Causes Flight Delays

By Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones
September 23, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

It wasn’t quite as fearsome as the nest of vipers encountered by actor Samuel L. Jackson’s character in “Snakes on a Plane,” but a 20-centimeter-long (7.8-inch-long) snake found onboard a plane in Australia was still enough to ground a passenger flight for several hours Sunday night. 

Hundreds of Qantas passengers were forced to spend a night at a hotel after a Mandarin rat snake, which is about the width of a ballpoint pen, was found wriggling in an aircraft doorway. 

The flight, from Sydney International Airport to Narita, Japan, was delayed overnight while staff checked for anymore of the reptiles onboard. 

“The snake was taken to quarantine to determine where it came from, and a replacement aircraft–a B747–operated a replacement service to Narita this morning at 10:15,” a Qantas spokeswoman told the Guardian newspaper. 

Rat snakes are generally non-venomous and subsist on a diet of small rodents–a far cry from the poisonous vipers and pythons in the 2006 Hollywood blockbuster “Snakes on a Plane.” 

It is the second time Qantas has had a snake onboard. In January, a three-meter-long (9.8-foot) scrub python hitched a ride on a wing of a jet on a two-hour flight from Cairns to Papua New Guinea.

Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones