Did You Know That Pandas Fly Commercial? Here’s How One Flew Los Angeles to Shanghai

Not only do pandas fly commercial, but they have to connect. And they don’t earn extra any miles.

Yun Zi was born at the San Diego Zoo, but isn’t a U.S. citizen.

Panda politics are complicated and agreements with China are that when a Panda parent gives birth, the government gets to decide where to send the kid. Since Yun Zi is more than 4 years old, it was time to be taken from his family. In a Hunger Games sort of way.

The panda flew to Shanghai onboard a China Southern 777 and then onward to Chengdu before making the rest of the trip to Wolong Nature Reserve in Sichuan.

That’s apparently Yun Zi’s ancestral home, where his parents Bai Yun and Gao Gao were born.

“He was calm, and when we first took off he ate some but then he was kind of tired and for the last half of the trip he mostly slept… we were worried he would be nervous but he was mostly calm.”

That actually sounds like me on my last long haul flight!

Apparently Bai Yun and Gao Gao have another panda together, Xiao Liwu, who can be seen via the San Diego Zoo’s PandaCam.

(HT: LA Airspace)


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Finally a traveling companion I’m interested in flying with and at least yun zi wont be texting and speaking loudly on his phone

  2. Most of the time they are on a FedEx “Panda Express”. I wish there were direct flights to Chengdu.

    Panda updates are always appreciated 🙂

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