New Jersey

Ants Infest Flight from Italy to Newark, Passengers Complain of Bugs Crawling All Over Them

United Airlines acknowledged the incident and said it would take the plane out of service once it landed, which it did around 2 p.m. Monday

What to Know

  • Ants infested a United Airlines flight from Venice to Newark on Monday, according to one passenger's Twitter thread
  • She reported that ants were crawling out of bags, in luggage compartments, all over seats -- and on people too
  • United said its cabin crew was working to isolate the insects and that the plane would be taken out of service in Newark

Forget snakes on a plane — on Monday, it was ants on a plane. Lots of them, apparently.

A passenger on a United Airlines flight from Venice to Newark tweeted that she and other travelers saw — and felt — large numbers of ants crawling on them, their seats, the windows and even in the luggage compartments.

At one point, Charlotte Burns tweeted, ants spilled out of an overhead bag as the situation quickly spiraled and the insects spread. The cabin crew apparently scrambled to contain them with limited resources. 

"This is my new normal. I live here now. Me and the ants," Burns tweeted in an extensive thread on her experience.

Another passenger and a member of the flight crew said the ants were spotted in first class.

The airline acknowledged the incident and said it was responding.

"We are concerned by the experience our customer reported on United flight 169 from Venice to Newark. We have been in contact with the crew and they have advised the ants have been isolated from a customer’s bag and the affected areas have been wiped down," A United spokesman said in a statement.

"At this time, the aircraft will continue to its final destination. We will be taking the aircraft out of service when it arrives in Newark."

In an updated statement, the airlines said that the ants were isolated in the customer's bag in the overhead bin and "was contained to a limited area of the cabin." Once it landed in Newark, the plane was taken out of service for extermination, United said.

"We followed proper protocol by notifying customs, immigration, as well as agriculture of the issue," United said.

Chopper 4 captured footage of the plane's arrival shortly after 2 p.m. Monday. It appeared to land uneventfully and taxied to the gate.

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