Penguins Can Fly

“Is anyone here allergic to penguins?” the captain of Delta Flight 486 from Atlanta to New York asked passengers on Wednesday night. “No? Alright, we have a surprise for you.” “How would we even know if we were?” said the woman seated in seat 33D. “He can’t be serious,” she said, pausing briefly as she flipped through her copy of Sky Mall. But sure enough, after the plane reached a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet and the seat-belt sign was turned off, a pair of penguins waddled down the aisle from first class.  “You can take pictures, but we ask that you don’t touch them,” the captain announced. As told to the Penguin Post the flight’s 300-plus delighted passengers heeded the warning, snapping photos and videos with camera phones lighting the aisle as if it were a red carpet. The foot-and-a-half tall penguins, Pete and Penny, ages 6 and 12, were en route to the New York premiere of “Frozen Planet,” a new Discovery Channel documentary series narrated by Alec Baldwin. The screening, held Thursday at the Lincoln Center, was followed by a “polar-themed” party, hosted by Baldwin, Dustin Hoffman and Glenn Close, among other environmentally-conscious luminaries. Oddly enough, this is not the first time penguins were allowed to roam the cabin on a commercial flight. In fact, it happens fairly frequently, judging by videos uploaded to YouTube. Just last month, three penguins on Southwest’s Orlando-to-La Guardia trek emerged from their kennels mid-flight, surprising passengers. Last March, two world-traveling waddlers from Sea World made an appearance on a Southwest flight to San Diego from San Francisco, where they attended a science convention.

SeaWorld penguins Pete and Penny attend the "Frozen Planet" premiere at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on March 8, 2012 in New York City.

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