Ants on a plane! United Airlines aircraft is taken out of service after passengers complain of insect infestation on flight from Italy to the US
- United Airlines flight 169 was travelling from Venice, Italy to Newark, New Jersey on Monday when passengers began noticing large ants on board the aircraft
- It appeared the insects had been brought onto the plane in carry-on luggage
- One passenger live Tweeted the unfolding drama, which caught the attention of United executives on the ground
- The plane was taken out of service for cleaning and ‘extermination’ when it arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport on Monday afternoon
A United Airlines plane has been taken out of service after it became infested with ants on a flight from Venice, Italy to Newark, New Jersey.
Several passengers on board United flight 169 complained to cabin crew when they began to notice the insects partway through the nine-hour plane ride on Monday.
One traveler took to Twitter to document the unfolding drama. The creepy-crawlies appeared to have been brought onto the aircraft in an carry-on suitcase.
Charlotte Burns, a New York based editor, updated her 53,000 social media followers in real time as the plane made its way across the Atlantic.
‘On the plane from Venice to New York [Newark Liberty International Airport] when a large, fat ant walks over my pillow. Hmmm. That’s odd,’ she wrote.
A United Airlines plane has been taken out of service after it became infested with ants on a flight from Venice, Italy to Newark, New Jersey (file image)
Soon, several other passengers also noticed the large ants crawling over their seats, after a man pulled his luggage down from an overhead locker.
‘Ants, ants, ants spill out, running in every which direction. This is absolutely heeby-jeeby-goose-bumpy-get-me-gin-gross’ Burns posted on Twitter.
She later began complaining about the United cabin crew and the fact the open carry-on bag was placed unzipped on a seat.
‘This is where things start to get more inept. They open the suitcase ON THE SEAT! why? Ants running everywhere and guy in front is using his hands as little tweezers, picking them off one by one. Cabin guy is using sterile lemon wipes’.
When cabin crew claimed that the ants has come from the carry-on bag, Burns Tweeted that they should have a ‘protocol’ for dealing with bugs on planes.
She wrote: ‘United– bugs happen! Deal with them! Don’t tell one passenger to blame another passenger for an inconvenienced flight with an abundance of household insects’.
Later, Burns even claimed that one of the ants had bitten here, sharing a photo of a red mark on her leg.
Burns’ tweets caught the attention of United staff while the plane was still in mid-air.
Charlotte Burns , a New York based editor, updated her 53000 social media followers in real time as the plane made its way across the Atlantic
They decided to take the aircraft out of service for extensive cleaning and ‘extermination’ following its arrival at Newark.
In a statement, a United spokesperson said: ‘We are concerned by the experience our customer reported on United flight 169 from Venice to Newark. We have been in contact with the crew and they have advised the ants have been isolated from a customer’s bag. At this time, the aircraft will continue to its final destination. We will be taking the aircraft out of service when it arrives in Newark.’
The plane landed in Newark shortly after 2 pm on Monday.
The plane was taken out of service for extensive cleaning and ‘extermination’ (file image)