Woman Stung By Scorpion On United Airlines Flight

A woman passenger aboard a late-night United Airlines flight from California to Georgia was stung on the leg by a stowaway Scorpion.

While the Samuel L. Jackson movie ‘Snakes on a Plane’ was all fun and games, an unknown woman told celebrity gossip website TMZ that she was stung by a scorpion while flying to Atlanta.

The scorpion dropped out of the passenger’s pants. Photo: United Airlines

The incident happened late Thursday night aboard a United Airlines Boeing 737-800.


The scorpion dropped out of the passengers pants

United Airlines flight number 1554 was en route to Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) when the woman said she felt a stinging sensation on her leg.

Flight # 1554 was from SFO to ATL. Photo: United Airlines

When her leg started to feel painful, the woman decided to go to the toilet and find out what was causing the discomfort. As she was pulling down her pants, a live scorpion dropped out and began to scurry about the floor.

Once alerted to what had happened, a flight attendant managed to corner the eight-legged arachnid and put it in a box. Apparently, the scorpion had stung the woman several times while being stuck inside her pants.


Upon learning that the passenger had been stung by a scorpion, the flight crew immediately consulted with a MedLink doctor who told them what to do until the plane landed after its four and a half hour flight.

Very few scorpion stings are fatal

Curiously, and unlike most would think, only 25 of the 1,500 known species of scorpions can deliver a sting that will kill you. Of these 25 scorpions, the only one native to North America that can deliver a sting toxic enough to kill a human is the bark scorpion found in Arizona.


A scorpion can sting you more than once. Photo: Xbuzzi Wikimedia Commons

Somewhat surprisingly the Bay Area around San Francisco has a large number of Pacific Forest scorpions that grow to be two inches in length and live for around ten years. The sting from one of these little critters is akin to a bee sting. While it will not kill you, it is unpleasant none the less.

The passenger was taken to a local Atlanta hospital

When the aircraft landed at 06:37 EST, paramedics were on hand to transport the woman to a local hospital where they would be able to treat her for the scorpion stings.

A United Airlines spokesperson when asked about the scorpion incident, said,

“After learning that one of our customers on flight 1554 from San Francisco to Atlanta was stung during flight, our crew responded immediately and consulted with a MedLink physician on the ground who provided medical guidance.”

The United spokesperson added that the passenger was taken to a local hospital for treatment and United Airlines has “been in contact with their customer to ensure her well-being.”

It will be curious to find out what type of scorpion it was and how it managed to get on board the aircraft.

My guess is that the scorpion had gotten itself into the passenger’s clothes before the flight and that she had not noticed while getting dressed.

What do you think? Please let us know in the comments.


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Come to Simple Flying to talk about planes.
Learn something about scorpions.

Gerry S

Yeah. That they have eight legs.


I lean more in the direction that the scorpion was on the plane. To not have noticed something was there in your pants from putting them on and going to the airport….well the scorpion would not have liked when she was walking moving around all that time. I say it crawled up her pant leg on the plane. Not fun regardless of when it crawled in…glad that it was not a deadly scorpion and hopefully she recovers fully.

Joseph Nucifora

Off COURSE this woman didn’t notice a two inch scaley hard thing in her pants as she was getting dressed. Sorry but the numbness took place AFTER the sting. United flies to many scorpion ridden cities like PHX and L AS and PSP and SFO and SNA, but would they take any blame? Nooooooo of course not. I doubt very highly she didn’t have this thing inside her clothes when she was getting dressed because being agitated as she put her pants on, it would have stung her then, not hours later. The fact that they immediately blamed her over… Read more »

Gerry S

Not surprising. They blamed a battered and bloodied doctor on an emergency call.


That was the City of Chicago that bloodied and battered him- and he wasn’t even on a genuine United Flight- it was a subcontractor (puddle jumper). Oh, but the facts.


Look, United never stated that it was the woman’s fault. And this was not United’s fault either. Stuff happens, and preventing a needle-in-haystack scorpion from crawling in is beyond the power of United or any airline, so the only thing that would matter is the response to unforeseen circumstances. Worst case scenario would be that the flight attendant does not call Medlink when made aware, but the FA was caring enough to call Medlink to make sure that she was all right. If you still think that United should be ashamed for the lack of scorpion spray or bug-detecting machinery,… Read more »

Joseph Nucifora

This is the quote that United Spokesperson said… “My guess is that the scorpion had gotten itself into the passenger’s clothes before the flight and that she had not noticed while getting dressed.” Ok so mayhe they didn’t blame her but they implied she carried it in and it couldnt have been on board. You’re going to tell me that this woman got dressed didnt notice it and went all the way to the airport, waited at a gate, boarded, took off, and the thing didnt sting her by that time-C’mon-preponderance of evidence or common sence…but UA was, as usual,… Read more »


I would like to see this woman get hit by a scorpion a few times and not scream, jump and cuss like all hell when it happens, but calmly walk to the bathroom and check it out. IF you get hit by one, you know it and really quick and it isn’t a numbness but your whole leg on fire … i am suspect on this too


Just as long as it’s not an emotional support scorpion.

Gerry S

That’s what you get when you sneak it aboard. Turns on you when you stick it in your pantyhose.

Joseph Nucifora

Now THATS funny!


Oh crap, it was a Boeing 737NG ! We need to ground them all until we can be assured they don’t attract scorpions with their lower landing gear. By the way, really fishy here, i have been stung by scorpions quite a few times, lived in Phoenix, and its not a burning sensation, it hurts like hell, and you are bound to scream some obscenities when it happens, not calmly walk to the bathroom and check it out.


I hope you’re joking about the 737 NG part. That would be as ridiculous as saying “ground all Q400s until we can be assured they don’t attract suicidal plane thieves” or “ground all A340s until we can be assured they don’t attract electric tow trucks that set planes on fire”


Happens on flights out of Phoenix & Mexico all the time. Not news.


Hope the scorpion was not poisoned after stinging the passenger.


I live in Arizona. While the bark scorpion is certainly one of the worst critters to bite you, it’s rarely fatal. There’s usually other medical circumstances that play a role. There’s been two recorded fatalities in Arizona from scorpion stings since stats began being kept in the 60s. That’s with the population of Phoenix increasing and people moving into new scorpion-filled areas. While infants and the elderly are most at risk from venom, a sting is most likely not a death sentence….


Even a scorpion has its day!!!


Even a scorpion has its day!!


Even a scorpion has its day

Mohammad Gorji

Thanks for report ,what did happen then for aircraft itself? is there any safety issue to follow ?I mean to do some tasks in order to be sure on aircraft with no more scorpion ?

Mark Harris

I can only see six legs plus two “claws” – or are they legs as well?