Unexpected Item in the Cargo Hold – Snake Found on Air India Express Flight

An unexpected passenger was reported by ground staff after a snake was found in the cargo hold of Air India Express flight IX-343 on Saturday. The scaly stowaway was only discovered when the plane landed in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Air India Express Plane
An investigation is underway to ascertain how the snake managed to evade detection © Andrew Thomas.

Slithering Into The Cargo Hold

Flight IX-343 left Calicut International Airport (CCJ), India, without incident and landed as scheduled at Dubai International Airport (DXB) in the United Arab Emirates. However, ground staff discovered a snake in the cargo hold upon landing. The airport’s fire services were alerted to the situation.

All the passengers safely disembarked, and the Boeing 737 plane was thoroughly fumigated before any further operations.

The incident was reportedly the result of a ground handling lapse. India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has now launched a probe into the incident to investigate how the snake was able to enter the aircraft undetected and why its presence was not detected. The DGCA will, where necessary, take the appropriate action against those involved.

The reptile species in question has yet to be reported – perhaps a Boeing constrictor?

Flight path CCJ–DXB
The jet-setting snake’s presence was only revealed when the plane reached its destination © Great Circle Mapper.

Snakes on a plane – The never-ending story

Although the incident in Dubai makes for startling reading, the news follows another reptilian incident onboard a United Airlines flight in October, where a snake was found in the aircraft’s cabin space, coming face to face with frightened passengers.

An even more disturbing incident occurred in July on board a Düsseldorf-bound SunExpress aircraft when a crew member found a severed snake head in an in-flight meal. The situation prompted the airline to launch an investigation and pause its contract with its food supplier Sancak.

What are your thoughts on this latest reptilian stowaway story? Let us know in the comments!

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Rachel Dunster
Rachel Dunster
Aviation Reporter