Snake owner Adam Gubbay found himself in a bind after being detained at Luton Airport for taking his new pet on a flight from Tel Aviv, writes Richard Ferrer.
The 24-year-old from Stoke Newington gave fellow EasyJet passengers a shock when they spotted he’d packed his new slithery sidekick, a harmless corn snake called Milky, in his hand luggage.
Those on board were not in any danger but, in a scene reminiscent of the 2006 film Snakes on a Plane, the airline called the authorities to meet the plane when it landed.
In an exclusive hiss-and tell, Adam told the Jewish News: “I bought Milky in Israel for 300 shekels (£50) and took it through customs in my hand luggage. I didn’t think it was a problem because the animal is not dangerous,
“During the flight I was worried Milky might be thirsty, so I took him out my bag. A lady to my left suddenly shouted: ‘Snake on a plane! Snake on a plane!’ A stewardess then informed the captain who wanted to make an emergency landing.”
The professional musician and bus driver, who auditioned for the current series of The X Factor, added: “I explained that Milky is a harmless non-poisonous corn snake and the crew eventually agreed to store him in a freezer until we landed. I complained that he might freeze so they said he could be placed in a cupboard instead.”
He added: “When we landed the captain announced that Bedfordshire police and customs officials would board the plane to collect me. My father, Meir, was also on the flight with me. They saw me pass him a book, which they must have thought was suspicious, so they removed him from the plane too.
“In the airport they x-rayed our bags and consulted a snake expert, who confirmed Milky is not venomous. They didn’t quarantine him and agreed to take no further action.”
Adam and his six-month-old reptile, who lives on a diet of a mouse a week, have now safely snaked their way back home after their mid-air adventure.
An easyJet spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that a passenger brought a small, pet snake in a container on board a flight from Tel Aviv to Luton.
“As soon as crew became aware of this they dealt with the issue in a professional manner, immediately contacting the authorities to ensure they met the aircraft at Luton. The safety of passengers is always our highest priority.
“The harmless snake remained in its container at all times and passengers were not in any danger. We have raised the issue with the airport to understand why the reptile was not detected during security.”
“We met the passenger when disembarking from the plane and he was spoken to by officials from the Border Force. “He wasn’t detained and left with the snake.”