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The picture that fooled the internet: Photo of panda flying business class from China to America tricks thousands
03:56 GMT, 10 December 2012
A shocking photograph of a panda bear flying business class on a China Airlines fight has been shared by thousands of mesmerized and astonished viewers online.
But what those believers of the bunch failed to realize, the panda isn't real.
'When you look at this photo you might assume that you’re seeing a man on an airplane seated beside a big plush panda. But guess what, that’s not a toy. That’s a real live panda cub and he’s flying first class,' website Geyser of Awesome posted with the photo on Saturday.
Panda express! A hoax photo of this panda bear seen allegedly flying business class on a China Airlines flight to the U.S. has circulated around the world to thousands of views and shares online
'China Airlines is a proud corporate sponsor of the panda sanctuary at Chengdu and was happy to help out recently with the transfer of a young panda cub to a zoo in the United States of America,' a dually-circulating hoax press release by China Airlines reads with the picture.
'After extensive consultation with the Sanctuary’s veterinary staff it was concluded that the importance of the panda cub precluded it from traveling in the hold of the aircraft, where attending to its needs would be difficult. Thus China Airlines agreed to donate seats in its Business Traveler First cabin for the panda cub named Squee Squee and his carer, Fu Jiang Lang, seen here sitting in the window seat.'
Most websites opted to cut out the press release from here on. But the third and last paragraph added the most surprising and ultimately perhaps obvious detail behind its authenticity.
'In the interests of hygiene Squee Squee wore a plastic nappy to take care of pandapoop during the flight,' that last paragraph begins.
Behind the photo: A fake press release explaining the bizarre photo explains the bear as traveling from Chengdu where pandas like these two, Qiqi (left) and Zhizhi, live
Attention grabbing: This photo posted on China Airlines' Facebook page lightheartedly briefs passengers on luggage restrictions while showing a baby placed in the overhead bin
'We are happy to report that Squee Squee arrived rested and relaxed after his 14-hour flight, and is settling into his new home well. During the flight we can report that he didn’t watch any of the flight movies as we couldn’t find a headset big enough for him. He did order the bamboo from catering menu, with a side of bamboo, and bamboo mousse for desert.'
Featured on websites BuzzFeed and Jalopnik, the panda allegedly named Squee Squee has been shared thousands of times with most comments praising its cuteness, while a few others reacted with shared shock by another popular observation:
'China Airlines have Business Class'