A Delta Air Lines flight was delayed for several hours Wednesday after a swarm of bees gathered on the plane’s wing, prompting the airline to delay the flight while it tried to convince the insects to buzz off.
The flight was originally set to leave Houston at 12:25 p.m. ET today for Atlanta, but was delayed until around 4:30 p.m. due to the bee swarm, according to flight data.
“Bee-lieve it or not, Delta flight 1682 from Houston-Bush to Atlanta was delayed this afternoon after a friendly group of bees apparently wanted to talk shop with a wing on our planes, no doubt to share the latest on flight conditions at the airport ,”[ads1]; a Delta spokesperson told CBS News.
A passenger on the plane tweeted about the incident, from the initial discovery of the bees and a blow-by-blow of the incident, including the idea of calling a beekeeper to remove the insects.
“My flight leaving Houston is delayed because bees have gathered on the tip of one of the wings,” wrote Anjali Enjeti, a journalist and author, on Twitter, who also posted a photo of the bee-swarmed wing. “They won’t let us board until they remove the bees. But how on earth will this happen? Won’t they leave the wing when we take off?
However, the beekeeper was never called because they were not allowed to touch the plane, while pest control was not allowed to spray the plane, Enjeti wrote, citing an update on the situation from the pilot.
“Would be a huge highlight of my life to see a beekeeper de-bee an airplane wing. It’s going to be hard to let this go. The disappointment is real,” she added.
At another point, she noted that the airline was trying to blow exhaust on the swarm. “The bees were not impressed,” she wrote.
Enjeti noted that some other passengers seemed annoyed by the bee delay. – Wish you could hear people on the phone here trying to explain why our flight is delayed, she tweeted.
Finally, the bees were shaken loose as the plane pushed back from the gate, with no passengers on board, according to a spokesperson.
“As soon as our plane’s engine turned on, DONE THE BEES!!! All Delta had to do was TURN ON THE PLANE,” Enjeti wrote.
A couple of lots added comments to Enjeti’s thread.
“Can’t wait for the Samuel L Jackson adaptation of this whole saga,” wrote one commenter, referring to Jackson’s 2006 “Snakes on a Plane.”
Another joked: “Delta should offer the bees $350 to catch a later flight.”
Such swarms are rare, but have occurred before, for example on the side of an American Airlines flight out of Miami; and on the flight deck window of an Air India jet .