Life imitated art in dramatic fashion on a flight from Bangkok to the island of Phuket when a snake appeared above an overhead compartment in front of shocked tourists.
Horrified pilots spotted the 2-foot-long reptile when it emerged into the air next to a light inside the AirAsia Airbus A320 on Saturday afternoon.
Passengers directly below the snake recoiled in horror and jumped from their seats to stand in the aisle – fearing a repeat of the horror film Snakes on a Plane.
But, as the footage shows, a brave cabin crew member approached the snake and used an empty plastic bottle to put it in a plastic bag.
Still unsure whether the snake was venomous – and potentially deadly – it was then securely tied up and stored in a cupboard.
Life imitated art in dramatic fashion on a flight from Bangkok to the island of Phuket when a snake appeared above an overhead compartment in front of shocked tourists. A brave cabin crew member approached the snake and used an empty plastic bottle to slip it into a plastic bag.
One of the stunned passengers, a British holidaymaker from the UK, said: “I was clenching my bum when I saw the snake. I don’t like creepy crawlies at the best of times, much less snakes overhead.
“I was quite relieved when they took it off. The flight attendant was calm and professional. But I shook every time I felt something, thinking there might be another one on the plane.
“I watched the movie, but I never thought this would happen to me in real life. What a start to my beach trip.
One of the stunned passengers, a British holidaymaker from the UK, said: “I was clenching my bum when I saw the snake. I don’t like creepy crawlies at the best of times, much less snakes overhead. Ground staff removed the snake before passengers disembarked
The video’s director, who runs Wanna B Salon Phuket, said: “Snakes can fly too! It all happened above my head. They found a snake on a plane.
“This happened as the plane began its descent to land.”
Ground staff at Phuket International Airport boarded the jet before passengers could depart. They searched carry-on luggage to ensure none of the passengers had smuggled the snake – or other animals – onto the flight.
The snake was later identified as a Blanford’s bridle snake, a species of harmless colubrid snake endemic to Asia.
They are not venomous and avoid attacking humans.
In October last year, a rat and an otter smuggled into a passenger’s hand luggage with other exotic creatures caused chaos when they escaped into the open and bit a flight attendant’s hand on a VietJet flight from Bangkok to Taiwan.
In December, a Taiwanese vacationer was caught smuggling a prairie dog and two otters through Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
The security staff had become suspicious of the large bulge in his pants.
Authorities did not say whether the snake slithered onto the plane on its own or escaped from a passenger’s luggage.
Thai Air Asia X, the AirAsia subsidiary that operates flights in the country, has been contacted for comment.
Its eccentric owner, Tony Fernandes, was criticized in October last year for posting a topless photo of himself receiving a massage during an office meeting.
He bought British football club QPR in 2011 alongside Ruben Gnanalingam and Kamarudin Meranun before stepping down as co-chairman in 2018.