Airline baggage handlers are not known for their gentle touch. A package containing tarantulas broke open in the hold of an airplane and baggage handlers noticed a spider roaming free. To the dismay of the passengers, Delta Airlines cancelled the flight. The tarantula, an African Baboon Spider, has a painful bite but it is not deadly. Most baboon spiders are defensive which makes them difficult to handle. They are also shy and avoid people. The hold of a plane is separated from the passenger cabin, so there was little threat. This story got a lot of attention on TV.
A more hazardous spider on a plane incident received much less attention. A passenger seated on a Qatar Airways flight crossed his legs and received a sharp pain. The pain radiated throughout his leg, his leg swelled to twice normal size and the wound burst open. Thinking it would heal on its own, the man took pain medication and went home to recover. The next day the leg was swollen, black and the wound infected. Friends took the man to a hospital where doctors diagnosed the wound as a brown recluse spider bite. Brown recluse venom causes tissue necrosis and this patient appeared to have received a large dose of venom. Doctors removed a substantial amount of necrotic tissue containing the spider venom and managed to keep the wound from further expansion.
People often fear the wrong thing. The big hairy tarantula: Much ado about a little threat. The little brown recluse spider: A much greater concern.