While the Indian aviation industry is marred by recent unpleasant experiences, I realised that we generally tend to take pleasant experiences for granted and only lament about unpleasant ones. With this thought, decided to pen down recent instance on a domestic India flight.
Some encounters and experiences are for lifetime. This one was surely amongst those limited few.
As the flight took off, I could not help but notice this talkative couple seated right in front of me. Middle-aged, might be in late fifties they were so engrossed talking to each other - while I could not understand their language but could easily make out it was an engaging discussion, about the place they were flying out from and about those they were going to meet.
Soon I got busy with my own writing but was intermittently looking at them and was amused that they had so much to talk about.
Around two hours into the flight, I went to the rest room. While I was inside, suddenly heard some noise and screams. All sorts of scary thoughts came to my mind. Anticipating something bad, I quickly came out to see that the lady was screaming, and there were few people standing near their seat and husband was sinking and losing consciousness….
Just before I went to restroom, it was all fine and now this suddenly. I wasn’t sure how to help so immediately pressed the assistance button to inform the air hostesses, who came rushing there from rear of the plane.
Firstly they asked the crowd to go back to their respective seats, while I took mine. Then one of the air hostess called for any doctors in the flight but as there was none, one of them took charge by rubbing hands of the man, removing the excess woollen clothing, removed shoes and rubbing his feet and palm rigorously.
The other one was enquiring his wife about underlying health issues but she was panic-stricken and so anxious that just kept screaming and not giving proper reply. Somehow after lot of calming effort and counselling, she managed to get some medicine and they gave him that. The other one in the meantime continued to bring back the gentleman. Those were really tense moments and everybody around was visibly nervous as we were witnessing a person just on the edge of life and death, and those two angels trying to bring him back to life.
It took that air hostess good 10-12 minutes of intense effort to revive the person back. After few minutes, other air-hostess got some liquid asking person to take small sips . As that was man was tending to lose the consciousness again, one of the air hostess, sat on the floor, continuously asking the gentleman to talk to her and not go to sleep. In the meantime, wife continued panicking and other air hostess was trying hard to calm her down and she was intermittently keeping flight captain updated.
As I was sitting right behind, I could see the effort they both were putting in and one of them did extremely well to manage the man, and other took care of the lady who was cluelessly panicking and terrified that she might lose her husband.
Anyway things came in control in next 15-20 minutes or so. As soon as situation became normal, passengers around started their expert comments on how the situation could have been avoided or better ways to manage 😊That’s so typical of us, post the event.
Soon thereafter captain made the landing announcement.
Upon reaching destination, that couple was rushed out first and in a hurry, they did not thank the air hostess. When it was my turn, before disembarking, I went to that air hostess and congratulated, praised for what she did to save a life.
She smiled, thanking me back for the compliment.
As I was walking through the airport, there were lot of thoughts - it seemed that man had some heart related ailment, could this have been avoided by the gentleman by proper diet or exercising. Can I/we take some lessons from this !!
If it was an underlying condition, shouldn't they have informed airlines staff proactively, so they were better prepared !!
For that lady, although easier said than done, could have done better by maintaining her calm….she was only aggravating the situation.
On Airlines staff part, it was a sheer display of superb training, sharp acumen, excellent skills and composure in stressful situation. While they could not thank explicitly, I am sure that family is indebted to the airline forever.