Excuse me, that’s my service bear | Marcel Strigberger

By Marcel Strigberger

Law360 Canada (August 18, 2023, 1:03 PM EDT) --
Marcel Strigberger
Marcel Strigberger
This bear was not hibernating. An Iraq Airline flight en route to Baghdad was delayed in Dubai as one of its passengers, a bear, escaped from his place in the hold. It seems that it is not unusual for people in Iraq to harbour wild animals as pets. The passengers, however, did not appreciate the delay after the captain addressed them, supposedly trying to quell a riot. Presumably he did nothing to pour oil on the fire by saying something like, “Hey, just grin and bear it.”

I cannot imagine something like this happening on an Air Canada flight.

“Ladies and gentlemen. This is your captain Jean-Pierre Lafontaine speaking.

We are scheduled to depart shortly, for a four-hour flight to Edmonton, after we finish loading up the luggage, de-ice the wings and locate that missing bear. Enjoy the flight.”

In the event of an action against Iraqi Airlines I suppose they would have some defences.

One might be Yogi paid for his seat. He found it a bit lonely in the hold with the Jeromes, a family of giraffes. He decided to head up and speak to a flight attendant to see if he could get an upgrade. He may just have had enough Aeroplan reward points. Who knows? 

Or perhaps he was a service bear. Maybe he wanted to fly next to his master, perhaps Goldilocks. Since that incident in the forest where she visited the home of the three bears, she and Baby Bear became good friends. I did not check the manifest to see if she was onboard.

Or given that some Iraqis do adopt wild animals as pets, it would not surprise me if the airline had a caveat or warning putting passengers on notice about potential passengers. On this day the bear was the elephant in the room.

Was there a lapse in security? They should have been curious after the big ursus walked through the metal detector.

And what about the owner of the bear? I believe Boo Boo was eventually found and sedated. But what would have happened had he not been located? The purchaser of his new pet probably would have arrived at the Baghdad airport, and he would be given the bad news. He’d have to line up at the lost baggage booth and describe the missing item. No doubt in Baghdad to help in the search, he would have been shown pictures of different bears. That is usually helpful. I think if it was my bear, I would have taken some mugshots of the guy with my cellphone.

And depending on the bear’s sophistication, maybe before the flight he could have taken a few selfies. Very helpful.

So far the airline has not accepted full liability for the incident. In my view it should be liable 100 per cent or at minimum as for responsibility, bear the brunt.

Marcel Strigberger retired from his Greater Toronto Area litigation practice and continues the more serious business of humorous author and speaker. His book Boomers, Zoomers, and Other Oomers: A Boomer-biased Irreverent Perspective on Aging is now available on Amazon, (e-book) and paper version. Visit www.marcelshumour.com. Follow him @MarcelsHumour.

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