Our Experience

Strange Items Passengers Have Tried to Check-In

by Moderator April 2011 - last edited February 2013 by Community Manager

You may remember a while back we wrote about our passengers' strangest inflight requests - we've certainly been on the lookout for Barbie ever since.

This time around we've spoken to our check in staff at our 32 destinations around the world, and discovered that the strangeness doesn't just happen on board - it begins inside the airport terminal.


Cheese, spiders and bath tubs

From a giant wheel of cheese to a car engine, the survey revealed that our passengers are willing to try and check in almost anything on their flights, as demonstrated by the lady who had her family carry her unwrapped, unpackaged bath tub to the counter at JFK.


Other items that have turned up at Virgin Atlantic check in desks around the world include:


Pet Tarantula by Siri B.L. on Flickr

Pet Tarantula by Siri B.L. on Flickr


  • A pet tarantula hidden in a ladies coat at JFK airport
  • A dead cow wrapped in plastic at JFK airport
  • A bag of cutlery previously stolen from a Virgin Atlantic flight at Delhi airport
  • A bag of sand and seawater by a couple who fell in love on the island of Grenada and wanted a memento of the place where they met
  • A bag of soil and coconut trees also at Grenada airport

Have you ever seen anyone trying to check in a bizarre item on one of our flights? Perhaps you've even chanced it yourself - either way, we'd love to hear your stories so share them with us in the comments below.

Thanks to Flickr photographers Siri B.L and pasotraspaso (for the header shot of Las Vegas airport).

For the best fares on flights to all our destinations, log on to www.virgin-atlantic.com.

To leave a comment, please log in with Facebook.
User Icon
Pieter April 2011
I flew to London from JNB to get a part for one of our buses that broke down, the part was huge and weight 32kg exactly! I was In London for 2 days, and was very thankful that Virgin checked the part for me! Thank to Virgin our bus were fixed in time for a trip to Cape Town!
User Icon
TNMovingStori April 2011
Atlantic blogs about the strangest items passengers have tried pass off as checked baggage, including bathtubs,
User Icon
Kev April 2011
At Toronto some years ago - flying back to Amsterdam on KLM, I saw a woman check in an ironing board! I had to convince myself I was not seeing things - but sure enough, there it was. All nicely wrapped up in see through plastic. I guess they do not have ironing boards in Holland!

I thought I had seen it all until that day.... Kev

User Icon
Sair April 2011
When I did the check-in for Virgin Nigeria, bags of fish and fridges were always a favourite to check in!
User Icon
farmboyliving April 2011
I checked 60 pounds of corn (Dryed Grain), from Nebraska to Seattle. At the time in 2002 the corn was worth about $2.00 for 60 Pounds.
User Icon
ADeadCowamp April 2011
Strange Items Passengers Have Tried to Check-In
User Icon
Roslyn April 2011
We once checked in a large yellow plastic children's swimming pool shaped like a seashell. I thought it was a very odd thing to do (my husband insisted you couldn't find them in NY), but the check-in staff didn't turn a hair.
User Icon
JB April 2011
Large dead salmon in a suitcase packed with ice. Woman coming from Alaska connecting in Atlanta, who wanted to bring home fresh salmon. Problems started when the flight was delayed and the ice melted sitting on the hot tarmac. Eventually flight was canceled and she had to spend the night with the fish iced down in a bathtub. The next day we all got to hear (and smell) her fish story.
If you liked this, you may also like
Author Avatar

About the author: Maxine

Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.