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"If it's a one-way ticket, you're off the plane and there's not much they can do," she continues. "The main thing is that you don't want him to wake up before the plane takes off. If he does, they can take him off the plane. But once you're airborne, there's very little the airline can do. Sure, everybody's a little startled when we unwrap him and strap him into his seat, but once they see how well-behaved he is, there's no problem."
Not that there haven't been some close calls.
The Adamses recall the time that because of a late arriving plane, Alex's sedative wore off after they were seated on the plane but long before takeoff. Unhappy about being restrained, the ape thrashed around so violently that another passenger glared in horror until Adams retreated to the rest room to administer another sedative. When the plane finally got off the ground and the woman realized the tormented baby was actually an ape, she reportedly heaved a sigh of relief. According to Adams, the woman thought he was oblivious to the fact that his infant was having a seizure.
Realizing that the baby-blanket disguise had its drawbacks, the Adamses tried another tack during their next trip. Accompanied by a friend, the group raided the Adamses' massive collection of stuffed toy monkeys before heading for the airport. Lee and the friend carried a stuffed monkey under each arm, while Ric hauled a stuffed monkey and Alex.
"Alex blended right in with the toys" says Adams. "I thought we were home free." Unfortunately, no one had considered that all carry-on items--including stuffed monkeys--had to be run through the x-ray machine. The jig was up. "Here, you try running him through that machine,'" Ric Adams recalls telling the guard, who reportedly screamed when Adams handed him the live ape. Trip aborted and back to the baby blanket.
Asked whether the Northwest fiasco means that Alex's flying days are over, Ric and Lee Adams look at one another and smile slyly.
That's still up in the air.