Otter, rat run amok on VietJet flight after escaping from suitcase of animals

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A VietJet flight from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) to Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) played out like a scene from Jumanji when escaped critters ran amok inside the cabin.

The chaos on the flight began shortly after takeoff, when a passenger noticed an albino rat scurrying towards the lavatory. A few moments later, a foot-long otter was found under one of the passenger’s seats.

Word quickly spread that there were rodents on the flight and flight attendants attempted to catch the animals. One flight attendant eventually managed to get a hold of the rat but was bitten on the hand.

Passengers saw the flight attendants carry the creatures to the galley. A flight attendant then made an announcement for the passenger carrying the critters to make themselves known.

A female passenger later came forward, and initially said that the rat was her pet. However, a subsequent search of her suitcase revealed that she carried more creatures, namely: 

  • 28 live turtles
  • one snake
  • one marmot
  • two otters
  • two other rodents of unknown species

The woman faces a penalty of up to $31,000, as outlined in the Prevention and Control of Animal Infectious Diseases statute. 

Meanwhile, a baggage screener at Bangkok Airport was suspended for failing to open and inspect the woman’s bag, which had already been flagged as suspicious by another baggage handler.

Southeast Asia is a hot spot for illegal wildlife trading, and Bangkok Airport, in particular, recorded more than 14,000 live animals confiscated at the airport between 2010-2020.

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