Passengers antsy after insects discovered aboard WOW Air flight to Montreal

Passengers on a plane that landed in Montreal last night from Iceland were stuck on the plan for hours as officials investigated an ant infestation that has now left some in travel limbo.

People forced to leave bags, personal items onboard after ants were discovered in cabin

A WOW Air airplane, like the one seen in a photo from the company's Twitter account, had passengers stuck on the tarmac for hours after ants were discovered in the cabin. (WOW Air/Twitter)

A plane that landed in Montreal from Iceland was held in containment for hours last night as officials investigated an apparent ant infestation onboard.

Marco Lavecchia was on the five-hour WOW Air flight from Reykjavik when he woke up from a nap and noticed a commotion near an overhead bin on the plane. 

"There was some ants crawling around. It kind of freaked me out a little bit," he said.

When the flight landed, the captain came on the intercom to say they'd have to stay put.​

"Finally, after two hours, they let us know that, 'Okay, you have to leave all your personal items on the airplane and a bus is going to pick us up to take us to the baggage check area,'" Lavecchia said.

That included all of their carry-on luggage, purses and coats. 

"After that whole process, we had to leave the airport with a T-shirt," he said. "They gave us a blanket and a water bottle."

No risk to public health

Health Canada told CBC News in an email that officials have been in touch with entomologists for help identifying the ant species found onboard.

The various government agencies ruled the ants posed "no significant risk to public health" and are overseeing "pest management."

This will include fumigation of the aircraft, baggage and personal items on the plane.

WOW Air told CBC in a statement that "the aircraft was treated in accordance to standard procedures." 

Flight cancelled

The delay didn't only impact passengers flying into Montreal.

Gonen Snir, who lives in Gatineau Que., was waiting to board the same plane for a trip to Israel with his seven-year-old daughter to celebrate Passover and Easter with family.

After waiting several hours at the airport, Snir and the other passengers were told their flight had been cancelled and there was no way he could be rebooked to Tel Aviv earlier than March 30.

WOW Air said it is working to try and help passengers get rerouted.

With files from CBC's Antoni Nerestant