Panda on a Plane Eats Shoots and Leaves

Forget Passenger Pigeons, the new hotness is passenger pandas! The surrealistic snapshot above purports to portray “Squee Squee”, a rare and endangered Giant Panda from China, comfortably ensconced in his very own seat aboard a China Airways jet. Seated to his left is Fu Jiang Lang, official carer for “Squee Squee” charged with seeing his seatmate safely to southern California and his ultimate destination: the San Diego Zoo.

A poster at the well-known website Snopes Forum applied a glaze of truthfulness over the curious photo by stating they had contacted China Airlines' Public Relations department, who sent him a “press release” in reply:

“China Airlines is a proud corporate sponsor of the panda sanctuary at Chengdu and was happy to help out recently with the transfer of a young panda cub to a zoo in the United States of America. After extensive consultation with the sanctuary's veterinary staff it was concluded that the importance of the panda cub precluded it from traveling in the hold of the aircraft, where attending to its needs would be difficult.

Thus China Airlines agreed to donate seats in its Business Traveler First cabin for the panda cub named Squee Squee and his carer, Fu Jiang Lang, seen here sitting in the window seat. In the interests of hygiene Squee Squee wore a plastic nappy to take care of panda poop during the flight. We are happy to report that Squee Squee arrived rested and relaxed after his 14-hour flight, and is settling into his new home well.”

Still, doubts linger... the above text has had several grammatical errors corrected though “pandapoop” was left alone – always the best policy. In addition, what airline would park a living, breathing panda in front of the emergency exit? In a worst case scenario can you imagine panicked passengers pushing past the perturbed panda on their way to the evacuation slides? Now that's what you call “pandamonium”, Samuel L Jackson optional!

Lastly, let's give credit to Athena Ho of the Chinese International School who smelled a rather large, black & white rat upon viewing the photo, and there is but a single snap of the panda & partner available by the way. “That panda is most definitely a fake,” stated Ho. “How do I know this? Because I have that exact stuffed toy. It comes from the Novotel Hotel in Beijing, and it's... large, to say the least.” Case closed, jet-set panda's exposed, next time fly Pand Am. (via Shanghaiist, IMDB, and SeattlePI)

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