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And Now This: Mice on a Plane!

Cindy Loose

Advice you never thought you'd need: Shake out those little pillows they give you on planes.

Why? Because of a story I spotted courtesy of eTurbo News , which covers the travel industry.

According to the report, mice were found on Sunday on a United Airways flight from Washington to Beijing. On inspection upon arrivial in Beijing, eight mice -- some dead, some alive -- were found in pillows. According to reporter Thomas Steinmetz, "Experts said mice could spread more than 35 fatal viruses, including plague spot and ship fever. In addition, they might bite circuits of the plane and cause deadly accidents."

Okay, so that's just a wierd thing that's never happened before, right?

They're so much cuter in an animated movie. (AP Photo/National Institutes of Health, Doug Hansen)

No, go view this video aired on a local TV news statoin showing mice in an American Airlines plane in 2006. According to the report, a whistleblower contacted the FAA to report a mouse infestation on the plane. Five days later, the whistleblower contacted the FAA again to say the mice were building nests near the oxygenerators. The FAA said American did nothing wrong because airlines do not have to report rodent infestation unless the rodents affect the plane mechanically.

Wow, it is just me, or does that rule seem crazy?

By Cindy Loose |  January 11, 2008; 7:08 AM ET  | Category:  Airplanes , Cindy Loose
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Gah! You make me never want to fly ever again! And I kind of *like* flying!!

Posted by: h3 | January 11, 2008 6:32 PM

Makes me wonder how they hitched a ride. Escaped as "live cargo"? Snuck aboard from the tarmac at night? Came aboard within cargo? Walked down the jetway from the airport during the night? Do they close the cabin door if a jet is "sleeping" at a gate? considering that you need a security pass to access the jetway, do they bother?

Posted by: rja112 | January 14, 2008 6:31 AM

Maybe the mice were there to feed the snakes?

Posted by: greggwiggins | January 14, 2008 9:36 AM

Um, I think it's United AirLINES, not United AirWAYS.

What they obviously need is a few cats. They have air marshals, why not air cats? Many years ago, when I worked for TWA, there was an article in our employee newspaper about a Paris-New York flight on which numerous passengers rang their flight attendant call buttons and reported hearing a cat meowing. Eventually the flight engineer came back into the cabin and pulled up a section of floor, discovering a terrified kitten crouched inside. According to the newspaper, the kitten was enticed out of its hiding place by a flight attendant offering it some hors d'oeuvres from First Class (would that still work today, or would the cat turn up its nose?). It turned out the kitten had been riding back and forth between New York and Europe for a couple of days on that 747-200. How it survived is anyone's guess, but I'm willing to bet there weren't any mice on that plane!

Posted by: ajsmithva | January 14, 2008 10:14 AM

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