reality for passengers on an Egypt Air flight from Cairo to Kuwait.

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Snake on a plane

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Despite the stringent security measures we are all used to experiencing each time we travel by air, somehow a passenger smuggled an Egyptian Cobra onto the flight, forcing an emergency landing when the reptile escaped and started slithering around the cabin. The passenger who smuggled the snake onto the plane was subsequently bitten but, putting on a brave face, refused medical treatment claiming he had not been seriously injured. A brave man indeed as the cobra's venom can kill a human in 15 minutes.


As someone with a (slightly irrational) fear of snakes, the thought of even the most timid of reptiles slithering around the cabin of any plane I am travelling on turns my stomach. This incident does, however, raise the question as to who would be liable if the snake had attacked another passenger.
Most claims against airlines (provided certain conditions are met) will be governed by the Montreal Convention. If the Convention applies then the injured passenger would need to show the incident was an "accident" under the terms of the Convention. If the Convention does not apply then a claim can be pursued on the basis the airline was at fault. It would certainly be surprising if the airline does not have some questions to answer in circumstances where it has somehow allowed a passenger to enter the cabin with a deadly snake in its hand luggage.


Chris Deacon
Solicitor
Claims Abroad team

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