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Crews Tear Plane Apart to Find Fugitive Feline

Ripples the cat really wanted a first-class upgrade. In fact, he was willing to hijack a plane to get it. Well, okay, he didn't hijack...

JaneA Kelley  |  Jan 26th 2012


Ripples the cat really wanted a first-class upgrade. In fact, he was willing to hijack a plane to get it.

Well, okay, he didn’t hijack the plane so much as create a huge delay and send the entire flight crew and a small legion of maintenance workers on a search through the flight deck and wiring to find him.

When Debbie Harris boarded an Air Canada flight out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, with Ripples, she figured it was going to be just another ordinary day of travel. But her cat had a different idea.

When another passenger accidentally knocked the cat’s crate open while trying to put luggage in an overhead compartment, Ripples responded with cat class and cat style: He dashed up the aisle through first class and took refuge in a deep, dark corner of the aircraft’s flight deck.

Passengers were mystified as the plane sat on the ground for 10 minutes then 20 and they began to hear people calling, “Come here, Ripples. Come here, Ripples.”

When the engine turned off and the plane went dark, everybody knew something was up. Then the passengers were sent back into the airport to do their best to rebook their flights.

Meanwhile, mechanics literally tore the cockpit apart in search of Ripples. They finally found the terrified feline wedged into the flight deck’s avionics bay — the part where all the computers and electronic bits and bobs that control the plane’s movement are located.

Four hours later, Ripples was rescued, much to Harris’s relief. “This is his first trip and his last!” she said in an interview with CBC.

Although I’m sure plenty of passengers were “sick of this m—f—ing cat on a m—f—ing plane,” to paraphrase Samuel L. Jackson’s famous line in the movieSnakes on a Plane, others were sympathetic.

Ariel Detraz, a passenger on the flight, considers it a freak accident. “I just feel really bad for the lady,” she said.

Passenger Kyle Warkentin said he felt for Harris’s situation. “She was shaking, the poor thing,” he said.

He praised Air Canada staff for the way they handled the situation, both in terms of their search for the cat and all the work they did to rebook passengers on other flights.

I’ll add another kudos to Air Canada for being willing to literally take an airplane apart to find a cat. Congratulations, guys: You’re doing it right!