Clearly the most unusual passenger on a recent Southwest Airlines flight was Clark, a 19-year-old bald eagle, traveling on business with his handler. The bird got quite a bit of attention at the security line, even spreading his wings (perhaps to show he had nothing to declare).
In an exception to the usual procedures, Southwest allowed the eagle to fly in-cabin with special arrangements; no information on how much leg... er, wingroom was allotted.
The bird normally resides at the World Bird Sanctuary near St Louis, Missouri, but occasionally travels for special events. On this trip, he had been to North Carolina's High Point University, where he welcomed the incoming freshman class by soaring over their heads at a welcome ceremony. He traveled with his trainer.
Clark is one of four eagles at the sanctuary where they serve as roving ambassadors and fundraisers. The sanctuary was part of the breeding program that helped pull bald eagles back from the edge of extinction, but could not be released into the wild because he was born with defects in his feet.