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Sugar glider on Shanghai flight sparks delay, woman detained

By Xu Zhesheng | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-06-12 22:19

A flight from Shanghai to Jinan was delayed on Monday after a passenger's pet sugar glider escaped in the cabin, causing disruption and prompting the detainment of the pet owner.

Authorities identified the woman only by her surname, Guo, and said the 34-year-old violated airline regulations by bringing the small marsupial on board Eastern Airlines flight MU5599. The animal escaped Guo in the cabin before being secured by other passengers.

Guo was subsequently detained by police for disrupting public order on public transportation. The incident caused a roughly hour-long delay, with all passengers required to disembark and wait.

Unnamed sources allege Guo attempted to hide the sugar glider in her clothing during security checks, exploiting a blind spot in typical female passenger screening procedures.

Aviation safety expert Lin Quan stressed the dangers of concealing pets onboard aircraft. "Such actions pose a risk of animals biting through electrical wires, potentially leading to in-flight malfunctions," Lin told the Beijing News. Additionally, uninspected animals could carry transmittable diseases.

Chinese civil aviation regulations mandate that passengers declare pets, provide quarantine certificates, and obtain carrier approval before travel. Pets must also undergo designated check-in processes and cannot be carried onto the aircraft by passengers themselves.

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