Sunday, 4 January 2015
An Open Leter to Pegasus Airlines
I am a regular passenger on Pegasus planes, clocking up over 20 flights last year alone. I'm pretty impressed with the whole set-up: online booking is simple using an app that has all my details; the flights generally take off and land when they say they will and the fares are very reasonable. The number of routes on offer is increasing yearly and their hub airport in Istanbul, Sabiha Gökçen, is noticeably busier every time I fly, but doesn't seem to suffer the same hiccups as its European neighbour, Atatürk Airport. With only 50 minutes between landing and taking off on Thursday, despite the longest passport queue I have ever seen, I still made my connection to Stansted with 10 minutes to spare. My trip to the UK had got off to a good start and I was settled into a good book when I noticed a bit of a kerfuffle a couple of rows ahead, Cabin staff looked uncomfortable and then there was the announcement that everyone dreads, "If there is a doctor on board will they make themselves known please". No hands go up, a second call goes out and still no response. The unconsious passenger is still unattended. Staff confer and look at the punter causing their unease. I am going through my last first aid course in my head ( five years ago and so very rusty ) and am just about to suggest they get this poor chap horizontal when a lady who I later learn is called Claire and is a practising first-aider in Cyprus, tells the staff to get the patient on his back. She then spends the next 3 hours on her knees in the aisle, administering oxygen and suggesting that the plane land at the nearest airport. Another passenger cradles the sick guy's stockinged feet on his lap for the whole trip in a bid to keep the blood nearer his heart. The pilot declines to land and orders an ambulance at Stansted. Clare, who is neither doctor nor nurse, is given full responsibily for treating this prone passenger whose heart rate is alternating between 48 and 88 beats a minute and is drifting in and out of consciousness, while the crew continue to try and serve food over his head. At one point I thought he was going to get a hot cheese toastie in the face to add to his problems. So my question to Pegasus Airlines is: Do you teach your staff first aid? If you do, they obviously are not confident enough to put it into practice. If you dont, please start. It should have been the cabin crew looking after this chap, not a passenger. I also shall get my first aid notes out of which ever cupboard they are languishing and give myself a refresher course.