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August 11, 2010 / achanguris

Kittens on a Plane

Air travel is full of inconveniences. Measure your liquids. Take off your shoes, belt, jewelry and dignity. Weave through this cattle chute, even though we haven’t opened the desk yet, so you’ll be waiting in queue until our employees show up.

Delays happen. On our trip out to Greece we sat on the runway for 90 minutes because of a thunderstorm that left us 22nd in line for takeoff. Leaving Batsi, we stood in the afternoon heat with our packs on, waiting for a bus that (as far as we know) never came. It happens, it’s annoying, and you just suck it up and try to enjoy your trip in spite of the hassles.

As far as delays go, this was the most adorable reason – ever.

I briefly met the sweet, middle-aged woman near the gate in Athens. She was traveling with three kittens in tow, all rescued strays from the island of Crete. They even had little kitty passports to document their journey to the United States.

When we boarded and took our seats, I was happy to see she was just one row in front of us with her pet carrier full of kittens safely under the seat in front of her. As we prepared for an on-time departure, there was a stir in her row and we learned one of the kittens had managed to sneak out of the carrier. Everyone on the plane looked around for the little Houdini-cat, but we couldn’t find him.

Then a page overhead: “This is the captain speaking, we’re ready to push back from the gate, but one of our passengers is traveling with a pet cat and it got out of the carrier. We’ve located the cat here in the cockpit and we’re doing our best to remedy the situation so we can get underway.”

About ten minutes later a flight attendant offered an update, “The cat is still in the cockpit, we have our maintenance crew trying to get him out. We’re sorry for the delay and appreciate your patience.”

Now, of all of the reasons to be late getting off the ground, I think this is my favorite. The little kitten broke out of his carrier, slipped entirely unnoticed past a full 40 rows of passengers and up into the cockpit, and then found a nice, cozy spot to hide.

Eventually the cat was caught – or “in the bag” in the words of Captain Cliche – and we were on our way.

I’ll be delayed an hour for a kitten any day… and love it.

Update: It’s now 9:30pm EST (that’s 4:30am in Greece for those of you playing along at home) and we’re on our way to Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC. The plan was to fly into Baltimore Washington International, but thanks to that kitten we missed our planned connection. Honestly, I still don’t mind.

It does help that my Dad was planning to pick us up from the airport. It’s just a different airport now! Love you, Daddy!

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One Comment

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  1. proudgeek / Aug 12 2010 5:29 am

    Aaaawwwwwwwwwwwww! :-)

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