Flight Diverted To Save Dog

A Tel Aviv-Toronto flight was diverted to ensure a dog's safety.
A Tel Aviv-Toronto flight was diverted to ensure a dog’s safety.

An Air Canada pilot is being praised for interrupting a long-haul flight to make sure a dog survived the trip.

The aircraft was part way through its non-stop from Tel Aviv to Toronto when flight crew discovered a heater in one of the baggage holds wasn’t working. There was a dog in a crate in that hold and the high-altitude temperatures could have been lethal.

The captain diverted the flight to Frankfurt so the dog named Simba could be transferred to another aircraft with more comfortable quarters.

“The captain grew rightfully concerned for the dog’s comfort and wellbeing,” Peter Fitzpatrick, a spokesman for Air Canada, told CBC in an email. “With the altitude it can become very uncomfortable, and possibly the situation could have been life threatening if the flight had continued.”

Fitzpatrick said the diversion caused a 75-minute delay but most of the 232 passengers agreed it was the right thing to do.

“The overall reaction was positive, particularly once people understood the dog was in potential danger but safe as a result of the diversion.”

Air Canada also has rules about this sort of thing and can’t carry animals in the hold unless it can keep the temperature above 10 degrees.