11 Unusual 'Passengers' That Airlines Flew Around The World

British Airways

#1 The Magna Carta


At 800 years old, the Magna Carta, Britain’s most celebrated charter, may well be the oldest passenger British Airways has ever carried. Travelling in luxury in the airline’s First cabin with a dedicated security guard, the esteemed historical document is part-way through its anniversary world tour. On loan from Hereford Cathedral, British Airways is partnering with GREAT Britain to transport the document over 65,000 miles through 25 time zones to showcase it to members of the public around the globe, for the Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary world tour.

#2 Six tonnes of rhinos


On October 25 this year, the inaugural A380 flight from London to Miami had six white rhinos in the cargo hold, who had travelled all the way from Johannesburg via London to Miami as part of a global conservation project. International zoo breeding programmes such as this help to ensure the long-term success of the species well away from the threat of poachers. The rhinos weighed one metric tonne each and specialists from IAG Cargo as well as veterinary teams will be available every step of the way to ensure a comfortable and relaxed journey on the British Airlines' A380.

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#3 The Olympic Flame


As official sponsor of the 2012 London Olympic Games, British Airways flew the Olympic Flame from Athens to London on board flight ‘BA2012’ a specially chartered, gold-liveried aircraft. The Flame travelled in a ceremonial lantern secured in a specially designed cradle firmly fixed to its seat on the plane.

#4 12 endangered San Saldvador Iguanas


In February 2014, British Airways flew 12 endangered San Salvador Rock iguanas that were illegally brought into the UK, back to their home in the Bahamas. The iguanas play a critical role in the Bahamas ecosystem and are vital to maintaining biological diversity in the rural communities they inhabit. The delicate cargo had special dispensation to fly in the cabin for the flight and were carefully looked after by British Airways pilots and crew.

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#5 The Rugby World Cup Trophy


Hosts England unfortunately had an early exit at this years’ Rugby World Cup, but back in 2003 the England Rugby team returned victorious from Australia. As champions they travelled back home on a British Airways flight from Sydney to London, with the Webb Ellis Trophy in a seat of its very own.

#6 A lost cuckoo


Back in 2012 an endangered cuckoo who missed her summer migration due to injury was given a helping hand on her journey by British Airways. The injured cuckoo was found dying in a garden in Surrey and was unable to fly after being attacked by other birds. After a period of recovery at the Wildlife Aid Foundation's (WAF) veterinary hospital in Leatherhead, British Airways flew her to Italy so she could catch up with the rest of the cuckoos on their summer migration down to South Africa.

#7 Not-so-Slow Loris


In 2014 British Airways flew a rare Bengal Slow Loris from the Maldives where it was confiscated during a drugs raid by local police, to the UK to start a new life in a rescue centre dedicated to conserving endangered animals. The VIP (very important primate) flew at speeds of over 500 mph on his way from the Maldives to London, for once not such a Slow Loris.

The Concorde 



The now-defunct Concorde still holds the record for accomplishing the fastest crossing of the Atlantic by a passenger aircraft in only two hours, 52 minutes and 59 seconds. The record-holding flight on February 7 1996, from New York to London, is still the fastest to this day. Thanks to its high speed, the Concorde is also utilized to used to transport human organs, diamonds and currency by Air Couriers.

Orbis International



The non-profit Orbis International, dedicated to saving sight worldwide, is renowned for its "Flying Eye Hospital", which is an ophthalmic teaching facility and hospital located inside the MD-10 aircraft. Training doctors and nurses from developing countries are brought on board the fully-functional flight, which has classrooms, operating theatres and laser rooms.

A C-130 Hercules and a C-17 Globemaster



If you watched Free Willy you might have a soft spot for Keiko, the star orca. Like a true star the orca was transported by air twice. The first flight was in a C-130 Hercules, when he weighed a record 5440 kg, to an Oregon-based aquarium. The returning flight, which planned to bring him to Iceland for his return to the wild was one of controversy, but ‘Keiko’ remained unharmed. The C-17 Globemaster aircraft he was on, however, suffered a failure that caused more than US$1 million in damages.

3 Antonov-124 Planes



In January 2000, three large Antonov-124 planes were spotted airlifting some 1,500 people and vehicles from the Dakar-Cairo rally. The rally was interrupted when a possible guerrilla assault was said to be underway. According to Hubert Auriol, chief organiser of the rally, the round-the-clock airlift stretched over 1,250 miles with an estimated cost of about US$4.7 million.

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