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Just plane cute: Koalas get first-class perks before Qantas flight to Singapore

The koalas headed to Singapore in a gesture of goodwill and diplomacy (and cuteness).
/ Source: TODAY

At least one koala got a taste of first class — and apparently some eucalyptus — before jet-setting from Australia to Singapore.

Before four koalas named Chan, Idalia, Paddle and Pellita boarded a Qantas Airways flight for a six-month stay at the Singapore Zoo, at least one of them was presented with seltzer and hot towels in a first-class photo op.

Australia's gift of koalas is intended to enhance the country's diplomatic relations with Singapore, which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its independence.

At the Singapore Zoo, the animals will "reside in a world class, purpose-built koala exhibit," according to a press release issued Thursday by Julie Bishop, the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs. Announcing intentions to visit the zoo next month, Bishop hopes it will be able to sustain a koala colony over time.

Qantas agreed not only to fly the koalas to and from Singapore, but also to transport fresh eucalyptus twice weekly to the zoo.

But luxury can be fleeting. In reality, the animals were expected to travel in custom-built containers stowed in Qantas' cargo hold for Monday's seven-hour flight, according to reports.

The airline did not respond to a request for comment (or details on how we could arrange our seats to be next to koalas on future flights).

Follow writer Chris Serico on Twitter.