He felt a tickle on his arm and brushed it aside without looking. There was a second tickle.
"Felt it again, and that's when I saw. 'That's a scorpion,'" said Ellis.
"At first I didn't believe him, and then I saw it," said Ellis's girlfriend, Suzanne Foster. "He held the napkin up for me to see, and I saw the tail wiggling and I pretty much jumped out of my seat."
Ellis's scorpion sting wasn't serious, but paramedics in Anchorage had to look up "scorpion" on the Internet because they're so rare in Alaska.
The airline says it probably came from a previous flight from Texas.
For his pain, Ellis got an apology and two free round-trip tickets.