On Feb. 10, 2022, TikTok user @edal8808 posted a video that appeared to show a snake on an AirAsia plane that was flying over Malaysia. It looked to have been visible inside an overhead light. A flight attendant on AirAsia Flight AK5748 could be heard talking to passengers in the brief clip.
This really did happen. The video led many social media commenters to repeatedly make jokes about the 2006 Samuel L. Jackson film, "Snakes on a Plane."
According to the TikTok video, a Reddit thread, and the above repost on Twitter, the plane with the snake was originally scheduled to fly within Malaysia from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Tawau (TWU), but was diverted to Kuching (KCH). It's unclear if @edal8808 was the person who recorded the video.
Following the images shared on social media, AirAsia's chief security officer, Liong Tien Ling, made a statement regarding the incident, saying, “AirAsia is aware of the incident that occurred on the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Tawau on Thursday. As soon as the captain was notified, the plane was diverted to Kuching to be disinfected,” he said. Ling said that the captain took "appropriate action" by prioritizing the safety of passengers and crew, adding, "Guests and crew are never at risk."
We also received a similar statement from AirAsia:
AirAsia is aware of an incident on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Tawau on Thursday.
As soon as the Captain was aware, he made the decision to divert the aircraft to Kuching as a precautionary measure to fumigate the aircraft.
This is a very rare incident which can occur on any aircraft from time to time.
The Captain took the appropriate action and the flight have safely departed for Tawau as soon as possible.
The safety and wellbeing of our guests and crew is always our top priority.
At no time was the safety of guests or crew at any risk.
Capt Liong Tien Ling
Chief Safety Officer
Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) chief executive officer Captain Datuk Chester Voo Chee Soon confirmed the incident involving Flight AK5748.
"CAAM flight operations inspectors confirm the aircraft is currently undergoing full fumigation as per the required procedures. CAAM will continue to monitor the situation with the airline's accountable officers to ensure all risks are mitigated accordingly," said Voo.
He added that overall, the diversion was handled very well and all safety procedures were followed closely and in compliance with regulations. "Also, our inspectors are in constant communication with the airline," he said.
In sum, yes, according to reports, a video really did show a snake that was spotted on a plane while it flew over Malaysia. We reached out to AirAsia for additional comment and will update this story if any further information is provided.