Passengers aboard an Icelandic airliner had to abandon their plane – and their belongings – because of an ant infestation, according to a report.
The WOW Air flight from Reykjavik was held in containment Monday in Montreal, Canada, after the tiny stowaways were spotted on board, according to CBC News. Marco Lavecchia was on the five-hour flight when he awoke from a nap and noticed a commotion near an overhead bin.
“There was some ants crawling around. It kind of freaked me out a little bit,” he told the Canadian news outlet. After landing, the captain announced that they’d have to stay put.
“Finally, after two hours, they let us know that, ‘OK, you have to leave all your personal items on the airplane and a bus is going to pick us up to take us to the baggage check area,’” Lavecchia said. That included all of their carry-on luggage and coats.
“After that whole process, we had to leave the airport with a T-shirt,” he said. “They gave us a blanket and a water bottle.”
Passenger Renée Levaque said she was forced to leave behind her bags and winter clothing because of the tiny stowaways.
“We were promised that our luggage would be delivered the very next day. It was poorly handled. They weren’t prepared. They absolutely weren’t prepared for that,” Levaque said Thursday.
The Quebec City resident — who stayed with her daughter in the Montreal area after the flight — said she headed back to the airport, where she paid $24 for parking, and tried to retrieve her belongings.
“The WOW representative at the airport said, ‘I have no information for you, you should ask customs.’ The man at customs said, ‘I have no information for you, you have to talk to the WOW representative,’” she said.
After getting the runaround, Levaque said she left in frustration and returned to Quebec City, where she worked the phones. She said she was asked to leave a message with her name, phone number and luggage number.
“The thing is, I have no luggage number! I had to leave my stuff on the plane! I tried calling again — to no avail, no answer back,” Levaque said.
Health officials told CBC News that they had been in touch with entomologists for help identifying the ant species. Various government agencies found that the critters posed “no significant risk to public health.”
Wow Air said the “aircraft was treated in accordance to standard procedures.”