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Airline asks, 'Is that a monkey in your ponytail?'

  • Story Highlights
  • Spirit Airlines passenger was hiding pet monkey in his ponytail
  • Monkey escaped and the passenger had to hold it in his hands
  • Passenger boarded in Lima, Peru, and plane landed in New York
  • Man and monkey were met at the gate, turned over to health officials
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Passengers aboard Spirit Airlines Flight 180 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to New York's LaGuardia International Airport had an unexpected travel companion Tuesday: a small monkey.

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A monkey peeks out of a cage after being spotted on a plane Tuesday.

A passenger who originally departed from Lima, Peru, and connected in Fort Lauderdale had been hiding the small monkey in his ponytail, under his hat, according to Spirit Airlines spokeswoman Alison Russell.

During the flight, the monkey crawled out of its hiding spot, forcing the owner to hold it in his hands, where the unexpected visitor was soon spotted by fellow passengers and crew members, Russell said.

The Port Authority Police Department was contacted by Spirit Airlines, and officials met the owner and the monkey at the gate.

Port Authority spokesman Pasquale DiFulco released a statement saying the monkey was never loose in the airport, as originally reported.

"We've contacted health officials, and man and monkey will be turned over to appropriate officials. He was never on the loose in the airport," DiFulco said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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