The Jetstar flight attendant strode down the aisle and asked a male passenger a direct question: “Do you have a fish?”
“Yes, I do,” the passenger replied.
That did it. The plane stopped taxiing towards the runway for takeoff and returned to the gate, where the pet goldfish (in a sealed tupperware container) and its owner were ordered off the flight.
It happened last week on a Jetstar flight from Wellington to Auckland, New Zealand.
The passenger was taking the black moor goldfish to Auckland as a surprise birthday present for his girlfriend.
The kind gesture led to flight JQ252 being delayed by 40 minutes so the fish’s owner, Wellington student James Ayr, could take his fish off the flight before take-off.
Ayr says he had shown the pet fish to Jetstar staff when he checked in and they double-checked it was OK by phoning the flight deck. Other passengers agreed check-in staff had said the fish, named “Lil’ b”, was welcome aboard, Wellington’s Dominion Post newspaper reported.
The little fish was sitting on Ayr’s lap in its container and was “happy” to be on the plane, Ayr said.
Then it turned out that Jetstar rules forbid fish to fly. To solve the impasse, the duty manager at Wellington Airport offered to take the fish home to his fish tank. Ayr accepted and flew on without his finny friend and travelling companion.
The fish has yet to comment.
Written by Peter Needham