Flying can often be panic-inducing for passengers. Between the bumpy landings, the rolling and thumping in the air, and fears that the plane will crash, there’s a lot to deal with on an airplane. Yet few people pay close attention when the flight attendants read the safety instructions before the flight begins. Thankfully, flight attendants and crew know their stuff, and it saved the life of one little dog.
16. Animals on Airplanes
Some airlines are restrictive on what pets can be in the cabin with their owners, but Jetblue even has a “Jetpaws” program designed to make it easy for pet parents to travel with their furry friends. Luckily, this story involves a pet that was safe in the cabin and not in the cargo hold like they may have been on other airlines.
15. French Bulldog
Three-year-old Darcy, a French bulldog, was flying from Florida to Massachusetts on JetBlue with her family when trouble struck. The dog had been inside her carrier under the seat when her mom, Michelle, realized that the dog’s gums and tongue were turning blue. Michelle immediately got the dog out of the carrier.
Michelle flagged down two flight attendants, who immediately responded. They first tried bringing over some ice bags. One look at Darcy’s condition convinced the well-trained flight attendants that the dog needed some oxygen. The crew contacted the pilot and he responded quickly.
13. Horror Stories
Most fliers are aware that changes in pressure can cause sickness in humans, but it may be news to them that they can also affect cats and dogs. Over the last few years, there have been several horror stories about animals losing their lives during flights. Those animals were mostly in the cargo bay of the planes. Thankfully for Darcy, she was inside the passenger area where she could get immediate help.
12. Viral Star
The flight attendants jumped in to save the dog’s life. They immediately got the pup and oxygen mask just like the ones for humans. The resulting photographs, which show Darcy sitting in a window seat with the oxygen mask on, have since gone viral. Darcy is a news sensation.
Flight attendant Renaud Fenster told ABC’s “Good Morning America” Monday that he had worked for JetBlue for 15 years but had never seen anything quite like this. “I was passing through the cabin to check up on a passenger, and I noticed [another] passenger, who had the dog out of her crate and the dog had an indication that it wasn’t looking too well … And I believe the dog passed out,” Fenster said.
“The dog started panting very rapidly and uncontrollably, and so as a French bulldog owner myself, I knew the dog was overheating and needed some ice. I brought the dog some ice, and that didn’t do anything.” As a dog owner and flight attendant, he knew exactly what steps to take.
Fenster then said he “decided that we needed to consider using oxygen to support the animal.” His next step was to contact the flight crew. “So I called the captain, and I told him, ‘I think I need to use some oxygen,’ and he said, ‘Go ahead.’ And right then and there, placed the oxygen on the dog and the dog revived like nothing else,” he said.
According to ABC News, the dog was treated for hypoxia, a deficiency in oxygen that can be deadly if it is not caught in time. Hypoxia can take hold quickly, especially in children and animals, and can kill in a matter of minutes. In her thank you letter to JetBlue, Michelle credited flight attendants Renaud and Diane with responding so quickly.
“I placed the mask over her face, and within a few minutes she became alert and after a short time, she didn’t want the mask. I believe Renaud and Diane saved a life, some may reduce the value of the life because Darcy is a canine, I do not.” Unlike the horror stories of flight attendants from other carriers letting animals suffocate, the JetBlue team saved a precious dog.
Michelle went on to explain that the “It may have been only a ‘dog’ to some, not a major disaster certainly, but a family member to us.” The family asked a friend to post their letter to Facebook so that others would know what a great job the airline did for Darcy. The positive feedback has been overwhelming.
“Goodness and kindness along with the ability to assess a medical crisis, albeit a canine in crisis saved the day,” Michelle wrote. “We all are affected by cabin pressure and oxygen fluctuations, human, canine and feline, etc., but the fact that the Attendants were responsive and attentive to the situation may have saved Darcy’s life.”
Michelle’s letter mentioned the two flight attendants by name. “Renaud Spencer and Diane Asher were the helpers today. The little boy in the seat behind Darcy was paying close attention. Darcy has made a complete recovery and I will confirm with my vet and will not fly with her in the future without my vet’s clearance.” The other passengers and the little boy were no doubt impressed with what they witnessed.
3. Thank You
“But I wanted to say thank you Jetblue and thank you to Renaud and Diane for doing their job and also being great humans. My husband travels frequently and we are grateful for Jetblue and the ease and comfort of the extra -legroom, tv service, and general decency among staff that we observed over the years but now we have another reason to be grateful. Thank you.”
2. JetBlue Responds
JetBlue made a statement about their response to the crisis. JetBlue made it clear that the airline values pets as much as humans. “We all want to make sure everyone has a safe and comfortable flight, including those with four legs. We’re thankful for our crew’s quick thinking and glad everyone involved was breathing easier when the plane landed in Worcester.”
Darcy is now home making a full recovery from her setback. The family is profoundly grateful to the JetBlue team for making that a reality. For animal lovers, JetBlue is an example of a company who truly cares.