Air New Zealand fumigates its passengers

I’m going to admit to a little ignorance about this strange story in the New Zealand Herald this morning, concerning an Air New Zealand flight yesterday that was fumigated with passengers still on board.

A man is complaining of a sore throat, and a baby caught in the noxious fog gagged and threw up.

Passengers were left with no official explanation for the spraying, but one traveler who spoke to the Herald said that one of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry officers who carried out the spraying explained that the airplane had its “bio-security certificate” expire and thus needed manual fumigation.

The plane had come from Fiji and was fumigated on the tarmac of Auckland International Airport.

I can sum up my ignorance thusly: Just what is a airplane bio-security certificate? It seems to me that this is something particular to New Zealand; there is, after all, an official agency called the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Bio-security New Zealand. But then again, maybe this is something so common as to usually be ignored.

What doesn’t seem common is dousing a bunch of passengers with chemicals while they sit in their seats, covering their noses and trying not to breath too much. One man described the ordeal as like a sauna, only without the heat.

Next time your pissed sitting on the tarmac be at least thankful that the plane’s doors do not fly open and man in gas masks come on board.