1. snake…

My mom worked for British Airways for years, dealing with special freight cases for import/export. Much of this freight was offloaded and put in a holding warehouse for customers to collect – it wasn't your typical suitcases and luggage of traveling passengers.

One shipment came in from Africa, a large wooden crate that didn't actually weigh very much. Her client came in, opened the crate to check the contents and immediately became hugely irate to the warehouse staff. He barges into her office holding a frozen, venomous snake – she said it looked like a jagged lightning bolt, all zigs and zags. He's screaming at her in the office gesturing wildly with this dead snake, demanding compensation in the hundreds of thousands of dollars…

Turns out he didn't declare them as animals (probably to get around any customs laws – there were dozens, if not hundreds of various venomous snakes in the crate). The cargo area of most planes isn't heated, so the poor snakes had frozen (literally!) to death in transit. He couldn't sue and had to answer some interesting questions from the Treasury Department once all was said and done. The sucky thing is he was importing them to make anti-venom; if he'd only declared them and paid for them to be shipped correctly he would have made a health profit and probably saved some lives…

Edit, thanks everyone for the comments.

We've learned anti-venom is another word for antivenin, that modern planes have heated cargo areas, and that Samuel L Jackson was sorely missed in a warehouse 30-odd years ago.

Going to take a moment to say that you should make sure you check with your carrier if you're flying with pets (or even venomous snakes!) and make sure you do it safely. As one of the commenters posted, please don't ship your wife in a box on vacation!


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