The packaging mechanism of segmented RNA viruses has not been well studied. Specifically, it has not been clear whether influenza A viruses package only eight RNA segments or whether virus particles contain more than eight segments. Using a newly developed ribonucleoprotein (RNP) transfection method, we engineered an influenza virus which must contain nine different RNA segments rather than the usual eight in order to survive under the experimental growth conditions. This result is compatible with a mechanism of packaging which allows influenza virus to encapsidate more than eight RNA segments. We also suggest that the virus packages its RNAs randomly and that this random packaging results in infectious viruses with the required ("right") complement of RNA segments.