Though SFO will start having a lot more flight delays starting this weekend, a tiny reptile reportedly slowed travel a day ahead of schedule, simply by crawling across the runway.
OK, OK, do your best Samuel L. Jackson impression, that's fine. But according to the New York Post, this morning a New York-bound Delta flight was held up while airport staffers attempted to clear a teeny little snake from the runway, so the plane could take off serpent-squish-free.
SFO spokesperson John Ginty told the Post that "a 6-inch garter snake on the side of the runway" didn't delay travel "at all," but passengers on the plane say otherwise. One tweeted that the pilot told them that their flight was held up "due to a snake on the runway, which we are trying to move away with sirens." (Before you laugh, snakes are at least anecdotally averse to sirens, so that approach miiiiight not be as goofy as it sounds. Emphasis on "might.")
Another passenger said that "airport security is attempting to bag the snake and take it to a snake sanctuary." Perhaps the Bay Area Amphibian and Reptile Society?
While authorities have yet to confirm the ethnic heritage of the reptile in question, it's worth noting that there are estimated to be only 1,000-2,000 adult San Francisco garter snakes in existence. In fact, the San Francisco garter snake has been considered endangered since 1967, perhaps making even transit-delaying conservation efforts worthwhile.
A call to SFO's media relations line for more details and to confirm the health and well-being of the snake had not been returned at publication time.
Flight delayed briefly at SFO due to a SNAKE ON THE RUNWAY! Airport security is attempting to bag the snake and take it to a snake sanctuary— Charlie Knights (@knightc3) May 16, 2014
Flight SF-NYC delayed before take-off "due to a snake on the runway, which we are trying to move away with sirens." That's a first. #delta— Scott Belsky (@scottbelsky) May 16, 2014
SFO > JFK:"Folks, slight delay due to a snake on the runway. Ground crew working to apprehend the snake and take it to a sanctuary" #ForReal— John Cantarella (@jcantarella) May 16, 2014