Flight diversions usually only happen in a big emergency, like a passenger in distress – even when that passenger is a dog.
French bulldog Simba was flying from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Toronto via Air Canada when the aircraft had to be diverted to Frankfurt, Germany.
The flight was proceeding as scheduled and things were normal until the captain noticed a problem with the cargo’s heating system.
"As soon as the crew became aware of the temperature issue, the captain grew rightfully concerned for the dog's comfort and well-being," Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick told CNN via email. "With the altitude it can become very uncomfortable, and possibly the situation could have been life-threatening if the flight had continued."
With the captain's impromptu decision made, the aircraft carrying the 7-year-old dog landed at Frankfurt and the animal was boarded onto another flight.
"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 added.
Simba’s owner German Kontorovich, who was in the cabin with other passengers, expressed his gratitude over the pilot’s decision while speaking to City News at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
"It's my dog, it's like (my) child. It's everything," he said.
Although the diverted flight could spell increased costs for the airline, the decision was the right call, aviation expert Phyl Durby told City News. "The captain is responsible for all lives on board."
In a time where the news filled with humanitarian crises and people's sheer cruelty, it is heart-warming to know there are still good people around who are not only willing to help humans, but also give equal importance to animals.