An Air Canada pilot learned that it’s completely okay to delay your own flight for the sake of saving a poor dog’s life. Personally, as a pet lover, I feel that he undoubtedly made the right call.
This pilot, along with 232 passengers on Flight ACo85, was enroute to Toronto from Tel Aviv when he noticed a malfunction in one of the cargo hold heaters. The pilot whose name at the time of reporting hasn’t been released knew that he was carrying a 7-year-old French bulldog named Simba in one of the cargo holds, and that there’s a very high likelihood this poor dog wouldn’t make the trip. The temperature was falling. It was getting colder by the minute, the unnamed pilot knew.
"While a heater is not normally a critical component, on this particular flight there was a live animal in the hold. With the altitude it can become very uncomfortable, and possibly the situation could have been life threatening if the flight had continued,” said Air Canada’s spokesperson Peter Fitzgerald.
Knowing the decision will inconvenience everyone onboard, the pilot chose to divert the flight to Germany so they could fetch Simba and its owner, German Kontorovich, and have them transfer to another flight. Most of the passengers were even glad and did not mind the slight delay.
"While we recognize this was an inconvenience for our customers, the overall reaction was positive, particularly once people understood the dog was in potential danger but safe as a result of the diversion," said Fitzgerald.
“It’s my dog, it’s like my child. It’s everything to me,” Simba’s owner later said in an interview.