It didn’t take four and twenty blackbirds to force the cancellation of a British Airways London-New York flight. One was enough.
A blackbird was found flapping around in the cockpit, but despite crew best efforts, they were unable to capture it.
Cabin crew spent 'several hours' trying to remove the creature, including using a recording of birds in distress to try to scare it away, according to reports.
But the frightened bird hid and could not be found, so the decision was made to cancel the flight, on Monday, and transfer passengers to a later departure.
One passenger, Anna Dolganov, told the Guardian the bird had defecated on the seats of the captain and first officer. “We sat on the plane as the seat covers were changed. Then, as the plane reached its starting position, a blackbird flew into the face of the pilot and started flying around the cockpit.”
One passenger told the Guardian passengers were kept informed about what was happening, with regular updates by the captain, such as "Our feathered friend is still at large," and "If you happen to hear strange noises, please do not be alarmed".
BA said: "When it comes to flying, we're the experts, so it's not surprising this bird wanted to hitch a ride on one of our 12 daily flights to New York. We could not help him out this time, but after a short delay we made sure our non-feathered customers got to the Big Apple as soon as we could."
It wasn’t the first fearsome wild animal to stall a BA flight this year. In March, a flight to San Francisco was unable to take off for hours because of a mouse on board the plane