Animal Stowaway Stories

We’ve seen a lot happen as a result of COVID-19, and not all of it is doom and gloom. For instance, the canals of Venice were clear with fish and swans seen for the first time in decades. With most of us inside, wildlife has taken up the mantle to expand its surroundings and enjoy new places.

Another effect of this pandemic has left many planes grounded. Planes aren’t built to sit around parked for a long time, especially giant commercial planes. However, because of COVID-19, many aircraft remain parked at airports with nowhere to fly off too. One plane might’ve been left sitting a bit too long because a family of birds decided the 102 Airbus A320 was the perfect place for a nest on April 5, 2020. A maintenance crew was giving the plane a look-over, as is necessary to keep the aircraft in good condition as it’s in park, when they found a family of birds had nested under the wing!

This is definitely not the first time a stowaway has hitched a ride in a plane. Last April, engineers were performing pre-flight checks for a Virgin Australian plane in Melbourne Airport and found an owl napping on the engine! The owl was perfectly alright, just wanted a nice place to sleep and was released into the wild shortly after being found.

In January 2019, a particularly lazy Asian mynah bird didn’t feel like flying all the way to London from Singapore, so it snuck its way into business class. Somehow the bird stayed under the radar for 12 out of the 14-hour flight where it was discovered in business class. That must’ve been an interesting flight to write home about.

Birds have also been intentional passengers on planes, but still hidden. A passenger from Guyana was found smuggling more than 70 live finches inside hair rollers in a Duffel bag. On their arrival in JFK airport, the passenger was searched, and the birds were found. US Custom officials reported the reason was to have the finches sing in a competition. Participants bet on how many times a finch will chirp and a winning male finch can be worth $10,000.

We had no idea the finch-chirping-world was so expensive and would make someone risk US Custom Authorities by hiding live animals. You learn something new every day.

At Miami Jet, we’re dedicated to bringing you interesting stories in aviation. We hope you enjoyed this one as much as we did. As your partner in aircraft brokerage, put our decades of experience and knowledge to work for you! Whether you’re buying, selling, or leasing an aircraft, let us get you the best deal on your aircraft and help you soar to new heights!


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