United flight delayed after scorpion reported aboard

Scorpion on a plane

United Airlines (UAL) has been stung by a second reported scorpion incident within a month.

A United flight from Houston to Ecuador was delayed after a scorpion was spotted aboard. United tells KHOU-TV that Flight 1035 returned to the gate Thursday night after a scorpion "reportedly emerged from a customer's clothing." Paramedics examined the man and determined that he hadn't been stung. The station says it's unclear whether a scorpion was found.

United says it found a new aircraft for the flight and all passengers were given a meal voucher for the inconvenience. The flight eventually got underway 3½ hours late.

The incident comes after a passenger was stung by a scorpion on a United flight in April. In that case, the scorpion fell onto passenger Richard Bell's head and stung him underneath his fingernail.

"We were on the plane about an hour, having dinner, and then something fell on my head, so I grabbed it. I was hanging onto it," Bell said in a Skype interview. "It was lucky that it hit my nail more than my skin I think, so maybe my thumbnail saved me a little bit."

United reaches settlement with passenger, pledges changes

United apologized and offered Bell and his wife a credit for a future flight. As a precaution, crews also checked the airplane for a possible infestation, while the scorpion was euthanized. 

The airline is still recovering from a backlash for its April 9 treatment of passenger David Dao, a doctor who was violently dragged from United Airlines flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville. Passengers were chosen at random to be bumped from the flight, including Dao and his wife. A viral video showed him screaming as officers pull him from his seat. 

The incident led to a settlement between Dao and United, while the airline also said it will no longer allow crew members to displace customers already on a plane. Delta is now willing to pay up to nearly $10,000 to get someone to give up a seat, and American promises it will never bump a passenger once the passenger is seated.