A single rodent can have a small but mighty impact on air travel.
British Airways Plane Mice
Credit: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Mice can be cute, but they can also be a nuisance. One mouse in particular proved especially problematic for travelers aboard British Airways Flight 285 from London Heathrow to San Francisco on Wednesday, when they spotted the small rodent aboard the craft just before takeoff.

The flight, which was all set for departure, had to be deplaned and a replacement plane procured for the beleaguered passengers.

Mice and other rodents are a known problem for air travel, as The Independent explains: they can chew through electrical wires and otherwise wreak havoc on a plane's electrical systems, not to mention the common sense issues that might arise around hygiene, food service, and general public distaste for pests.

Other airlines, including Emirates, Air India, and Delta have dealt with the nuisance before, although the extent of the issue is not known. But apparently this particular creature had a penchant for travel to warmer shores.

"With service and prices this good, we know almost everyone wants to fly with us to San Francisco…but on this occasion there was one very small customer who we had to send back to the gate," a spokesperson for British Airways told Travel + Leisure. "We are sorry for the delay."

Passengers ended up delayed about four hours due to the little interloper before they got on their way to the West Coast, cleared of stowaway creatures.