As a domestic JQ flight between WLG and AKL was taxiing toward the runway for takeoff, a flight attendant approached a male passenger and asked a blunt question:
“Do you have a fish?”
“Yes, I do,” the passenger replied.
The plane then returned to the gate, where a pet Black Moor goldfish (in a sealed Tupperware container) and its owner were ordered off the flight. The passenger was escorting the goldfish to Auckland as a surprise birthday present for his girlfriend.
Here’s the strange part. The passenger, Wellington student James Ayr, was not hiding the fish in his underpants or trying to evade detection. He says he showed the pet fish to Jetstar staff when he checked in and they checked that it was a fish-friendly flight by phoning the flight deck.
Other pax agreed check-in staff had said the fish, named “Lil’ b,” was welcome aboard, Wellington’s Dominion Post newspaper reported.
Lil’ b was sitting on Ayr’s lap in its container and was “happy” to be on the plane, he said.
Then somebody got out the rulebook and discovered that JQ rules forbid fish to fly. To solve the impasse, the duty manager at WLG offered to take the fish home to his fish tank. Ayr accepted and flew on without his finned friend.