It’s no secret that air travel can be, to put it lightly, unpleasant, but passengers on a flight from the Dominican Republic to Montreal lived a real-life nightmare when a couple stowaways started crawling up their legs.
They were stuck on a plane for hours with tarantulas on the loose. It’s the stuff horror films are made of.
Traveler Catherine Moreau was an hour into a flight home from Punta Cana with her family when she felt a tickle on her leg. She looked down and saw a massive tarantula. Moreau’s daughter Laurence lost it.
“My heart stopped when I saw it, and I screamed bloody murder,” she said.
She wasn’t the only one screaming when the rest of the plane realized the tarantula wasn’t traveling alone.
It was sheer panic as passengers raised their feet off the ground, trying to avoid the two tarantulas. There was three hours left in the flight.
One of the creatures was caught by Moreau’s fast-acting husband. The other remained on the loose until the plane landed.
Entomologist Etienne Normandin guesses they were Hispaniolan Giant Tarantulas. They are common in the Dominican Republic. These two probably stowed away in someone’s bag.
“It can be aggressive sometimes so if you try to catch it or put a pen on it or just poke her, it will rise up the side of its body and show both teeth,” Normandin said.
But the passengers were never really in much danger. Tarantula venom is quite mild, and doesn’t cause long term damage.
The airline, Air Transat, said their cabin crews are trained to prioritize safety.
“In the case at hand, which is an unusual and isolated event, our staff reacted promptly and efficiently,” Air Transat said in a statement.
Moreau said she wants a refund for the trip. She said it’s the least the airline can do for the flight from hell.
In fairness, Samuel L. Jackson once famously battled snakes on a plane. So it can always be worse.