Each year, some 2 million pets travel in an airplane. A 7-year-old French bulldog named Simba was one of them, but his journey would have been a painful, possibly even fatal, ordeal — if not for one pilot's bold decision.
Simba was in the cargo hold of an Air Canada flight to Toronto from Tel Aviv. But just as the plane was about to fly over the Atlantic Ocean, the pilot noticed that the heating system in the cargo hold had malfunctioned. The drop in temperatures could have killed Simba.
So the pilot changed the plane's course entirely and landed in Frankfurt, Germany, all so that little Simba wouldn't freeze to death.
Speaking to CityNews, who first broke the story, aviation expert Phyl Durby said the pilot made the right decision because Simba very well could have failed to make the journey across the ocean.
"If you look at the outside temperature, if it's minus 50 or 60, there is some insulation, but it will probably still get down to below freezing [in the cargo area]," Durby said.
The diversion cost about $10,000 in extra fuel and landing fees, and delayed the flight by 75 minutes.
"The captain is responsible for all lives on board, whether it's human or K-9," Durby said.
And the 260 passengers onboard weren't too upset at the decision, either. One of them told CityNews, "I'd probably have been upset, but if it saved the dog ..."
An Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick told Upworthy that people generally reacted well to the pilot's decision. "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," Fitzpatrick said.
Simba was put on another flight and the plane continued on its journey to Toronto.