The reptile even had its own boarding pass
The cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean had seen the three-year-old reptile initially develop hypothermia, but it was nursed back to health at Exploris Aquarium in Northern Ireland.
Dubbed as Julius Caesar or “JC” for short, the turtle was transported in a specially designed crate in the main aircraft cabin.
Aer Lingus pilot, Captain Peter Lumsden, said ahead of the flight on 15 September: “It is our pleasure to welcome aboard a very special passenger today and to ensure the safe transportation of JC the Turtle to Gran Canaria.
“Since they first got in contact, Aer Lingus has worked closely with the team from Exploris Aquarium and our Maintenance and Engineering and Ground Operations teams to ensure that all JC’s needs are met as we complete this important mission.
”Keeping the turtle’s temperature above 19 degrees is critical to his wellbeing and he requires regular monitoring and shell lubrication so placing him in the aircraft hold was not an option.
“His specially designed crate will be securely strapped across a number of seats in the cabin.
”Like all of us on the flight today, I’m sure he is looking forward to the warmer climate upon landing.”
JC was first found washed up on an Irish beach by a family in 2019, when he was just nine months old.
It’s believed he’d got caught up in a strong current and been swept along by the gulf stream.
Initial plans to return to JC to his native Canary Islands were put on pause by the coronavirus pandemic, but he has finally been transported from Dublin to Gran Canaria, accompanied by his minder from the aquarium, Portia Sampson.
He was passed over to the Centro de Recuperación de Fauna Silvestrede Tarifa, which ensured JC acclimatised before being released back into the water.