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Surprise stowaway: Air India flight forced to turn around after bat found in business class

June 02, 2021
2 min read
Surprise stowaway: Air India flight forced to turn around after bat found in business class
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A bat with discerning taste hitched a ride on an Air India flight May 27 and terrorized passengers, forcing the plane to return to the airport.

According to the New Zealand Herald, the incident was chronicled by those on the flight, who later posted the chaos on social media.

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About half an hour after takeoff, the bat appeared, prompting the Newark-bound flight to turn around and head back to New Delhi, its city of origin.

By the time the plane landed and wildlife experts were called to assist in the capture and removal of the bat, it had disappeared.

Passengers deplaned and boarded another aircraft for their flight, which reportedly reached Newark safely around 11:35 a.m. local time.

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Related: A comprehensive guide to traveling with pets

Eventually, the bat was found, dead, inside one of the overhead bins in business class. Its remains were removed, and the inside of the plane was thoroughly fumigated.

As for how the animal found its way inside the aircraft, authorities say they'll conduct a thorough investigation, but the Indian Express quoted an airline official saying that "The probable reason/cause may be loading vehicles like those for catering" -- a disturbing thought, considering catering vehicles handle the food that's brought onboard to feed passengers. We reached out to Air India for comment, but hadn't heard back by publication time.

Related: 8 Things to consider before flying with your pet

There haven't been many animal-related plane stories of late, largely due to last year's downturn in travel, thanks to COVID-19. However, earlier this year, United, Delta and American -- the "big three" U.S. carriers -- banned emotional support animals from flights. (Don't even get us started on the man who inadvertently sat in dog waste after a service animal had an accident in his seat on the previous flight.)

Featured image by Getty Images/Mint Images RF
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023