Cockroaches on a Plane: China Eastern Flights Infested With Over 100 Roaches
We've reported about snakes on a plane, a scorpion falling out of an overhead bin and even a mouse forcing the disembarkation of a San Francisco-bound British Airways flight. But until now, we haven't seen a katsaridaphobic's worst nightmare: dozens of cockroaches scurrying around an international flight.
Just in time for Halloween, that horrifying scenario played out on not one, but two recent China Eastern flights. As reported in the South China Morning Post, a pair of flights arriving in the southern China city of Kunming (KMG) landed with over 100 six-legged stowaways.
After landing in Kunming, "quarantine inspectors" boarded the flights to catch the insects. One photo of this process was provided by the authorities:
As cockroaches are a known disease carrier, the authorities examined over one hundred of the caught cockroaches for pathogens. They found the cockroaches to be blattella germanica, known commonly as German cockroaches.
The SCMP explains the news was originally reported by the China News Service, but the government-owned media service wouldn't reveal the airline, country of origin or dates of the incidents. Gary at View From The Wing points out that the headrest covers in the photo above match SkyTeam member China Eastern's logo.
As KMG is one of China Eastern's hubs, it's not going to be an easy process to figure out where these flights came from. According to the Kunming Airport's Wikipedia page, China Eastern flies to 26 international airports and a few dozen domestic cities from KMG.
Thankfully, TPG didn't see any cockroaches on his recent China Eastern first class flight. But even if he didn't see them, they may have left their mark. As Penn State's Department of Entomology explains, these cockroaches "produce odorous secretions that can affect the flavor of various foods. When cockroach populations are high, these secretions may result in a characteristic odor in the general region of the infestation." Of course, when flying China Eastern, you probably won't notice this scent over the smell of cigarette smoke in the cabin.
Both aircraft have since been fumigated by pest control, and airport authorities have asked the undisclosed carrier to "improve hygiene on its planes."
H/T: View From The Wing