Brett McHenry, spokesman for the Madison airport, said the Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight left the airport with 49 passengers at 6:45 a.m. Friday and pilots notified air traffic controllers the plane was returning at 7:08 a.m., the Wisconsin State Journal, Madison, reported Tuesday.
McHenry said the plane reversed its course after a bat was spotted flying around the cabin. The winged mammal was eventually trapped in a lavatory by a man sitting near the rear of the plane.
The spokesman said airport staff boarded the plane to get rid of the bat, but the animal managed to fly out the door and into the terminal. He said the bat was eventually coaxed out of the terminal and into the open air.
Passengers were allowed back onto the plane and it departed with a delay of a few hours, airline spokesman Jarek Beem said.