When you’re 35,000 feet above the ground, there’s the possibility that anything can go wrong. The fact that your giant metal tube with wings might fall out of the sky at any moment is just the beginning. When you’re midair, you’re susceptible to lots of the same random dangers and health crises you would be on land. What’s more, it might surprise you to learn that the pilots who are flying the plane, the flight attendants serving you over-priced snacks, and the locked and loaded air marshall lurking among the passengers aren’t actually equipped to handle every situation that arises. It’s in these dire situations that the crew must hope against hope that there’s some civilian on the plane who knows how to handle things. Here are 11 times that airlines relied on passengers to get the job done and save lives.
1. Dr. Angel
Doctor Patricia Quinlan was headed to San Francisco on the Thanksgiving flight when she noticed that the passenger in the aisle opposite her slip into unconsciousness. That’s when the physician went to work, using the plane’s on-board defibrillator to check the man’s vitals. Fortunately, she determined that the passenger was suffering from severe dehydration, at which point she — along with “a pediatric intensive care unit nurse and an emergency medical technician who also happened to be on the flight” — MacGuyvered up a method for delivering intravenous fluids until the plane landed and the man was (miraculously) able to walk off under his own steam.