Next time the aircraft starts making odd noises, it may not actually be the wing flaps or landing gear retracting: it may, in fact, be a cow.
Virgin Atlantic has released information about the oddest things passengers have tried to check in to flights, including one passenger who tried to check in a cow wrapped in plastic at the airport.
Another woman tried turned up at the check-in counter with her bathtub, expecting the item to be checked in. "It wasn’t even wrapped or packaged – she just turned up with it at the check in desk!" Virgin said in a statement.
Passengers have turned up with:
- A giant wheel of cheese
- An entire car engine
- A pet tarantula hidden in a lady's coat at New York's JFK airport
- A cow wrapped in plastic at JFK airport
- A bag of cutlery previously stolen from a Virgin Atlantic flight at Delhi airport.
- A couple who fell in love on the island of Grenada and decided to check in a bag full of sand and sea water as a memory from the island they met and fell in love on.
- A bag of soil and coconut trees at Grenada airport.
Rather than taking the no-jokes-allowed, sour-faced approach espoused by many airlines, Virgin Atlantic's Greg Dawson said the airline saw the light side of such check-ins. "Virgin Atlantic check-in staff see thousands of passengers on a daily basis but every now and then, a passenger will arrive at check in with something you would never expect – it certainly brightens up their day.”
In the same vein, Australian Business Travel reader and CEO of Internode, Simon Hackett, related the story of how his Tesla electric car (the first in the country) got to Australia -- in the belly of a Qantas 747.
"It was done in a hurry because the Clipsal 500 event people were keen to get the car out for the 2009 Clipsal 500 event - and we got it there -- literally one day before the event," he said.
"My current daily driver -- my right hand drive, street-legal Roadster -- was also airfreighted, again to meet a deadline - and there are several more Roadsters that have arrived by air via Tesla Australia."
It's also not unknown for people to check themselves as air cargo -- in 2003, one 25 year-old got a friend to pack him in a crate and ship him as air cargo from New York to Dallas. The man, who had outstanding arrest warrants, almost made the trip successfully -- but his undoing was emerging from the box upon delivery and thanking the delivery man, who promptly reported him to police. He was charged as an aircraft stowaway.
One Flyertalk member describes how he was waiting for a flight out of Auckland in 2006, which was significantly delayed because a pallet of mangos had exploded mid-air, spraying the hold with sticky flesh.
An airline worker in the same discussion thread wrote, "Last year, someone checked a box containing a fresh moose head in Nome and by the time it arrived in Anchorage, it had leaked blood all over the front cargo hold. The guy on my crew who was unloading the front cargo pit got the moose blood all over his arm, leaned out of the door, held up his arm and started screaming. As his ramp lead...I nearly had a heart attack!"