A live sake made an unexpected appearance on a plane, causing some turbulence among business-class passengers aboard a United Airlines jet flight from Florida to New Jersey.

The reptile stowaway was identified as a harmless garter snake.

According to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the snake showed up on United Airlines Flight 2038 from Tampa shortly after landing Monday afternoon at Newark Liberty international airport.

As the plane taxied from the runway to the gate, passengers in the business-class cabin began shrieking and pulling their feet up off the floor, one passenger told local media News 12 New Jersey.

The Guardian (UK) reported that airport animal-control officers and Port Authority police officers were at the gate when the plane arrived.

Port Authority spokesperson Cheryl Ann Albiez said Tuesday via email that officers removed the snake and later released it into the wild.

She added that there were no injuries, no impact to airport operations, and the plane later departed Newark.

When asked about the incident, a spokesperson for United Airlines only said crew members 

“called the appropriate authorities to take care of the situation” after passengers alerted them.

No mention was made by any of the parties involved as to how the snake managed to get aboard a commercial airline flight.

But the situation no doubt reminded some passengers of the 2006 movie thriller Snakes on a Plane, a fictional story about dozens of venomous snakes being released by criminals on a passenger plane in an attempt to kill a murder trial witness, The Guardian added.

The paper noted that Monday’s incident was not the first real-life instance of a serpentine creature hitching a ride aboard a commercial jet. 

A large snake was discovered slithering through the passenger cabin of an Aeromexico flight to Mexico City in 2016. 

And a python was spotted by passengers clinging to the airplane wing – on the outside – of a flight from Australia to Papua New Guinea in 2013.


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