Live snake seen on an AirAsia plane (and it’s more common than you think)

2006 cult film Snakes on a Plane – James Dittiger

A snake was discovered on an AirAsia flight from Bangkok to Phuket, sparking concern among passengers.

The Blanford’s bridle snake was spotted above the overhead bins of AirAsia’s Airbus A320 aircraft on January 13 as the plane prepared to land at Phuket airport.

After being discovered, some passengers left their seats, while others filmed the reptile. A TikTok video of the incident has racked up more than 3.4 million views since it was posted.

In the footage, a cabin crew member is seen trying to trap the snake inside an empty water bottle and then pushing it into a plastic bag.

Local media reported that the snake was safely stowed away until landing, and that Phuket International Airport staff boarded the flight to search all luggage for other snakes. None were found.

Kristina Galvydyte, who worked as a flight attendant for a major UK airline, said: “Given that the snake was so small and was found in the overhead lockers, where passengers’ suitcases are kept, the only logical explanation here would be who got into the passenger seat.” suitcase before traveling, so it ends up on the plane.

“Snakes are quite common in Thailand, so it is not uncommon to find animals hiding in people’s homes. However, the snake clearly passed through airport security in someone’s luggage without problems, so how it happened definitely needs to be investigated further.”

So is the snake dangerous? Mark O’Shea, Professor of Herpetology at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “Blanford’s bridal snake would fit, Lycodon davisoniibut I can’t see it clearly enough to confirm the identification.

“These are small, harmless snakes. A few years ago I caught a rare nuptial snake in Sri Lanka, only the third in the country. The crew took very professional measures by securing the snake in a plastic bottle, that’s what I would have done if I had been there.

Frame from the movie Snakes on a PlaneFrame from the movie Snakes on a Plane

Real situations have been compared to the 2006 cult film Snakes on a Plane (a scene from the film in the photo) – Getty/James Dittiger

“You have to be careful with Licodonsome of them are imitators of highly poisonous kraits (Bungarus) and that was the mistake that American herpetologist Joe Slowinskii made in September 2021 and received a fatal snake bite. So, although you may think that it is a Licodon (wolf snake, bridal snake) you treat it with care until you find its loreal scale to confirm that it is not a Bungarus,” he said.

The incident has drawn comparisons to the 2006 cult film starring Samuel L Jackson, Snakes on a plane. However, this is not an isolated incident. Since the film’s release, there have been more than a dozen snake incidents on commercial, cargo and private airliners, from deadly cobras in the cabin to pets smuggled on board.


In 2012, an 18-inch reptile (a juvenile smooth-scaled racer from Central America) was spotted on a plane at Glasgow Airport, arriving from Cancun, Mexico.

The Scottish SPCA’s senior inspector at the time, Billy Linton, was called in to assess and remove the snake from the plane. He was not fazed by the incident: “We have rescued several exotic creatures from international flights, including scorpions, spiders, turtles and even giant land snails, so this is not as unusual as many people might think,” he said.

In another case in Scotland, this time in 2019, Moira Boxall discovered a spotted python wrapped around a shoe in her suitcase after returning from Queensland, Australia, to Glasgow, a 40-hour flight with two changes.

“I honestly thought it was a toy and that my family was playing a prank on me. But then he started to move, I saw that his head and his fangs were moving. “I received the biggest shock of my life,” she said.

Cargo fugitives

In some cases, snakes have escaped from their containers in the cargo hold of a flight. In 2009 in Australia, four baby pythons disappeared from a container carrying 12 Stimson’s pythons during a two-and-a-half-hour Qantas flight from Alice Springs to Melbourne. When ground crew were unable to find the snakes after landing in Melbourne, the plane was temporarily removed from service and fumigated.

Eight years later, an Emirates flight from Muscat, Oman, to Dubai was canceled when a snake was spotted in the cargo hold before passengers boarded the flight. The flight was canceled as cleaning and engineering teams rushed on board to locate the snake.

A flight attendant holds a snake found on a flight from Ravn AlaskaA flight attendant holds a snake found on a flight from Ravn Alaska

In 2017, a passenger (not pictured) aboard a Ravn Alaska commuter flight brought a large snake on board without permission – AP/Anna McConnaughy


Sometimes passengers try to illegally bring pet snakes on board. In 2012, an Egypt Air flight from Cairo to Kuwait was forced to make an emergency landing in the resort town of Al Ghardaqa, Egypt, when a 48-year-old Jordanian man was bitten by the snake he had smuggled into board. The man, owner of a reptile shop in Kuwait, hid the cobra in his handbag, but it escaped through the passenger aisle. The plane completed its flight to Kuwait after local authorities confiscated the snake.

In another incident, in 2017, a passenger aboard a Ravn Alaska intercity flight from the remote village of Aniak to Anchorage brought a large snake on board without permission. He had disembarked without knowing that the snake had escaped from his bag, and on the next flight the passengers saw the large snake sleeping in a corner of the plane.

Snakes sometimes end up on airplanes as part of the illegal international wildlife trade. In 2008, a ton of live snakes were discovered on a Thai Air flight from Bangkok to Hanoi airport, hidden inside 60 boxes of ice marked “fresh fish.” The cabin crew said there were too many to count.

A snake lies under a duffel bag on a flight from Ravn AlaskaA snake lies under a duffel bag on a flight from Ravn Alaska

A snake lies under a duffel bag on a flight from Ravn Alaska – AP/Anna McConnaughy

in the cabin

The worrying thing is that the snakes don’t just scare passengers in the cabin. Last year, pilot Rudolph Erasmus discovered a cape cobra under his seat while flying a small plane from Bloemfontein to Pretoria, South Africa.

“To be honest, it’s like my brain didn’t register what was happening,” he told the BBC. “I felt a cold sensation going up my shirt,” she said. Erasmus said he thought he hadn’t closed his water bottle properly and that water was spilling down his shirt.

“When I turned left and looked down I saw the cobra […] moving his head back under the seat.”

Cape cobras are deadly and their bite can kill a human in just 30 minutes. Erasmus made a successful emergency landing and all five people on board disembarked unharmed.

In 2012, a pilot in Australia’s Northern Territory was forced to make a 180-degree turn after seeing a snake emerge from behind the dashboard and slither down his leg. The pilot, Braden Blennerhassett, was flying to a rural municipality to drop off cargo when he saw the snake, uselessly covering the transmit button used to communicate with air traffic control. He finally got through and asked for a snake handler to be ready to land.

“I saw it once in a movie, but never on a plane,” he told ABC Television.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *