While it might sound like something funny that’s right out of a movie, rats on a plane can be a serious problem. Not only do they pose a sanitation and comfort issue, but the much bigger issue is that they can eat through the electrical wiring on planes, which could have catastrophic effects if a plane is flying.
Air India is an airline that has historically been known for their problem with rats, which has caused many of their flights to be grounded. In 2016 Air India’s chairman personally carried out an inspection of a plane at Delhi Airport, to further stress the issues rats can cause. The airline wanted to set up a proper staff canteen area so that there wasn’t food on the ramp (that may attract rats), and he was also committed to tightening the maintenance and cleanliness of their food trucks. We’ve heard fewer Air India rat stories lately, so I’m not sure if they’ve actually improved their situation, or if the media just isn’t picking up on it as much.
Well, even in the US we’re not immune to problems involving rats on a plane, as some unlucky Alaska Airlines passengers learned yesterday.
Yesterday morning’s Alaska flight 915 from Oakland to Portland was operated by a Boeing 737-700, and was canceled after a rat jumped inside the aircraft during boarding.
The rat was spotted while the plane was boarding at approximately 8:30 a.m.
The plane is currently out of service and will be back and running once an exterminator declares it rodent-free.
Fortunately Alaska Airlines took the situation seriously, and I’m sure they searched every inch of the plane to make sure there were no other rats. I guess rats can make an appearance anywhere, though it’s pretty remarkable that the rat apparently just boarded through the forward entry door.
Based on the story I’m also not surprised to hear that Alaska started boarding the flight over an hour before departure. Typical Alaska Airlines. 😉