Airplane Mode

Rat boards flight at Oakland, California, airport, forces cancellation

OAKLAND, Calif. — Alaska Airlines is calling in an exterminator after the company says a rat boarded one of its planes at Oakland International Airport in California and forced it to cancel the flight.

The airline says passengers were boarding the Portland, Oregon-bound flight Tuesday when the rat jumped from the jet way onto the plane.

Passengers already on board came off, and the plane was taken out of service. Most of the 110 passengers scheduled to take the flight were rebooked on a later flight to Portland.

Related: Commercial air travel in 2017 was safest ever, travel group says

Alaska Airlines says it will resume using the plane when a professional exterminator certifies it is rodent-free. The aircraft will also be inspected for any damage.

Oakland woman Ginger Hintz, a passenger on the plane, live-tweeted the situation and said people began getting frustrated.

"I asked the captain, 'If we took a vote and accepted the risk of flying with it could we still go?'" Hintz later told The Mercury News about the rat. "The pilot said he didn't want it around his feet. Maybe he had a phobia?"

For the inconvenience, she said, she was given a $12 food voucher and a new flight to San Francisco.