Of all things that could ground an international flight, a tiny mouse on a plane bound for San Francisco was the culprit Wednesday.
That's right, a mouse.
More than 300 passengers were delayed in London for more than four hours after the rodent was found on the British Airways jet. The passengers were onboard the plane at Heathrow Airport, about to pull back from the gate, when a flight attendant saw a mouse.
Believe it or not, flying with a mouse onboard is against the rules because it could bring down the plane.
"It is really pretty simple: Someone saw a mouse under one of the doors," said Chris Claeboe, a passneger from Fremont. "They kept us on the plane for about 15 minutes and told us we had to get off because it can't fly with a mouse."
British Airways passengers arriving at SFO on Wednesday evening were told airline regulations prohibit flying with a potentially rowdy rodent.
"They said the reason that the mouse would be a problem is because it eats the wires," passenger Elizabeth Young, of Lafayette, said.
Understandably, there was confusion aboard the 777 jetliner.
"Some people around me were saying, 'Can't they just kill the mouse? What's the problem?'" said Annina Salven, of Helsinki.
For some, the long wait for another plane was a bit much.
"It was 4 1/2 hours long," said Josh Samonini, of London. "It was a lot of waiting around, and they didn't really tell us much."
Others, meanwhile, found humor that such a small creature could cause such a big problem.
"We made a joke that it's clear a mouse can't enter U.S. airspace without a passport," Salven said.
Of all the passengers, a young boy seemed to be the only one who actually saw the mouse. Raif McPherson, of Glasgow, Scotland, said the mouse scurried past him on the plane.
"It was a small mouse," he said.
Under EU rules, passengers may be entitled to compensation for lost time. When asked what became of the mouse, British Airways had no reply.