Alaska Airlines
The Alaska Airlines flight had to be grounded because of the rodent (stock image) REUTERS/Jason Redmond

An Alaska Airlines plane had to be grounded on Tuesday (2 January) after a rat was spotted jumping from the jet way at Oakland International Airport and into the aircraft.

Flight 915 was scheduled for takeoff at 9.15am for Portland, but instead its 110 passengers were hauled off the plane and forced to make alternative travel plans as officials tried to catch the rodent.

Airport spokeswoman Keonnis Taylor told the East Bay Times on Tuesday: "An Alaska Airlines aircraft departing Oakland International Airport was cancelled today due to reports of a mouse in the cockpit of the aircraft.

"The flight's 110 passengers are being accommodated as appropriate by Alaska Airlines flights from San Francisco and San Jose airports."

A statement from Alaska Airlines later described the rodent as a rat "spotted jumping from the jet way to inside the aircraft".

"The plane is currently out of service," Alaska Airlines said. "It will be returned to operations once it's certified rodent-free by a professional exterminator. The aircraft will also be thoroughly inspected to ensure no damage has been done."

Some passengers had to wait until the following day to find a flight to their destinations.

One customer, Ginger Hintz, who was planning to visit her sister in Portland, told the East Bay Times: "I asked the captain, 'If we took a vote and accepted the risk of flying with it could we still go?'

"The pilot said he didn't want it around his feet. Maybe he had a phobia?"

Hintz said at one point an exterminator arrived to deal with the rodent so the aircraft could take off safely, but the flight was still cancelled.

A restaurant located in the airport close to the gate where the rodent-infested Alaska Airlines plane had been boarding was reportedly issued a violation back in April for having vermin, it later emerged.