Woman Tries to Bring Her Four-Foot-Long Boa Constrictor on a Plane in Florida
Picture this: you’re flying out of Tampa International Airport. You’ve just boarded, settled into your seat and then your seatmate pulls up. Before stashing their carry-on in the overhead compartment, they set it on the seat and open it up, presumably to put their coat away, or grab a pair of headphones. Out of the corner of your eye, you see something move. Curiosity gets the better of you, and you look. It’s a boa constrictor. The year is not 2006, but rather 2022, and Samuel L. Jackson is nowhere to be found.
Sound crazy? Turns out it’s a very feasible thing that could have happened, had TSA not caught the woman trying to sneak her four-foot-long emotional support boa constrictor through a security checkpoint in Florida last month, per a report from Travel + Leisure.
“Snake on a plane? This is a @TSA X-ray of Bartholomew, a boa constrictor who was in a traveler’s carry-on bag at @FlyTPA last month,” TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein tweeted on Friday. “Woman claimed the snake was her emotional support pet. TSA notified the airline, which ruled that there was not going to be a snake on their plane!”
Which begs the immediate question: what the fuck? And, second: why do people keep packing animals in their carry-ons, expecting to get them through security? Back in November, a 42-year-old man was found to have a live, three-foot-long, plastic-wrapped albino alligator stashed in his suitcase in Munich Airport in Germany, which (correctly) resulted in criminal charges for violating Germany’s Species Protection and Animal Welfare Act. The gator was reportedly in rough shape at the time it was found (because, get this, you can’t pack a live animal in a suitcase), which doesn’t bode particularly well for other potential jet-setting creatures of the reptilian variety. Further, most airlines don’t even allow emotional support animals anymore anyway (not to be conflated with service animals).
That said, there are apparently a few exceptions where snake travel is allowed. While zero airlines allow them in carry-ons, “only a few allow them to slither around in checked bags, if packaged correctly,” TSA explained on Instagram following the incident. Even still, I can’t think of any reason why any normal traveler should have a boa constrictor on a plane.
If you’re still left with snake-related travel queries, you can always text TSA before bringing your own boa constrictor to the airport.
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