Spirit Airlines passengers arriving to Orlando got an unexpected hold-up on their way to the terminal Monday when their flight had to yield to an alligator crossing a taxiway.
Spirit customer Anthony Velardi tells the Orlando Sentinel the flight's pilot came on over the public address system to inform fliers about the hold-up.
"Believe it or not, we have to wait for an alligator that's in the middle of the runway," the pilot said, according to an account Velardi gave to WKMG TV of Orlando.
Velardi took video of the gator as it lumbered across the tarmac and appeared to head toward a pond in the distance. The plane held its position for about five minutes, Velardi said to local media. He added that an airport truck came to the pond to make sure the alligator didn't return to the taxiway.
"Only in Florida. A gator held up our plane crossing the runway at MCO on the way home from (the DC area)," Velardi wrote as he posted the 11-second video to Facebook, using the three-letter code for Orlando's airport.
The post had been viewed nearly 9,000 times by early Tuesday.
"It was definitely unexpected but as a Floridian not surprising,' Velardi told the Sentinel about the gator spotting, which happened around 8:30 a.m. on Monday.
Despite waiting for the alligator, Spirit Airlines' website shows that Flight 389 from Baltimore arrived to Orlando 17 minutes early.
Airport spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell told The Associated Press such sightings are infrequent, even though 280 acres of the airport's land are covered in water.
Orlando International even tweeted Velardi's video, saying: "Passengers caught a rare glimpse of an alligator trudging from one pond to the next."
Fennell added to AP that the alligator's presence didn't impact any other airport operations.
That’s so Florida! Pilots of a Spirit flight departing MCO today had to pause on the taxiway and give right of way to a local resident out for a morning stroll. Passengers caught a rare glimpse of an alligator trudging from one pond to the next. ?? pic.twitter.com/xK12ydomLX- Orlando International Airport (@MCO) June 11, 2018
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