Freaky things flying with you

From snakes on a plane to dead bodies and cremated remains, you may be surprised at the extra ‘baggage’ taken on your flight …

According to Fodor’s, here are 10 of the more ‘peculiar passengers’ commonly catching planes.

Dead bodies and cremated remains

If a loved on dies overseas you can have them flown back home on a common passenger liner. There are strict regulations for the packing of a dead body, especially if they’ve died from an infectious disease. And, as long as the right paperwork is provided, cremated remains are usually allowed as carry-on.

Thoroughbred horses

Ever wondered how horses come from overseas to race here? Well, some may have special planes to ferry them over, but often, they’re shipped via passenger plane. Airlines such as Emirate and Qatar actually have animal lounges at their hub airports. These horses really do get first-class treatment!

Live fish

Supposedly, Lufthansa flies over 80 million aquatic organisms each year, with specialists on board to treat sick or injured fish. Some of these are ornamental, bound for foreign lands to become pets, while others, such as live eels, are destined for dinner plates.

Human Organs

Human organs and body parts, such as kidneys, eyeballs, hearts and bone marrow, are often transported by air to save the lives of dangerously ill patients in other countries. With some airlines transporting around four organs per day, chances are you’re next flight could be a life-saving mission.


Viruses and vaccines

Some of the world’s most deadly viruses are probably flying above you right now. So too, life-saving vaccines. The rules for packing pharmaceuticals are incredibly stringent, transported in high-tech, temperature controlled containers. But it does give one pause to know that, though ‘captive’, those viruses are still ‘airborne’ …

Currency and jewels

The next time you fly you could literally be sitting on a gold mine. Well, not a mine as such, but bullion, bank notes, jewels, currency, precious metals and gems are often transported by air accompanied by armed security guards.

Zoo animals

Some airlines say they ship around 150 zoo animals each year, including lions, tigers, bears, polar bears and all manner of quadrupeds.


Museums fly invaluable paintings and sculptures to exhibit in galleries all over the world. With priceless cargo ranging from Monet’s to Mondrian’s, the cargo on your next flight could easily be worth more than the plane on which you’re flying.


Human and animal sperm is shipped daily, packed frozen in liquid nitrogen to ensure safe delivery to receptive live vessels in other countries.


You were waiting for it, I know. Venomous snakes are ferried about the air daily, to be used for medical research or as pets. Before you freak out too much, they must be packed inside two knotted cloth bags or pillowcases, placed inside a Styrofoam container which is then put in a wooden box and screwed to the floor.

But wait, there’s more! Check out the rest of this list at

Did you know things such as this flew with you on your plane? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve taken on a plane?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


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