Posted on 02/14/2007

February 14, 2007 – FORT WORTH, Texas – As the country celebrates Valentine’s Day, as well as American Heart Month during February, American Airlines commemorates the 10-year anniversary of its own heart-health milestone. In 1997, American Airlines became the first U.S. airline to equip its aircraft fleet with Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), and this month, American proudly celebrates the 76 lives it has saved in those 10 years.

“American Airlines is pleased to be a pioneer in heart-health at 30,000 feet,” said Dr. Thomas Bettes, American’s Corporate Medical Director. “Our extensive training process ensures that our nearly 16,000 flight attendants are AED-trained annually and available to assist should a passenger become a victim of sudden cardiac arrest.”

American’s installation of AEDs came nearly seven years before the FAA required them on all commercial passenger aircraft of a certain size. Within the first year, all of American’s flight attendants were trained to use the AEDs in case of emergencies.

On Feb. 18, 1998, Robert Giggey of Mebane, N.C., became the first American Airlines passenger whose life was saved. Mr. Giggey collapsed on board an aircraft after rushing to catch a connecting flight at DFW Airport. Following his incident, Mr. Giggey and his wife, Carmen, became champions of getting defibrillators installed in public places.

Quick Facts About American’s AED Usage:

  • 76 lives saved by American Airlines & Flight Attendants: Since equipping its fleet with AEDs, American Airlines has saved 76 lives using AEDs.
  • Need to act fast: The American Heart Association estimates that 95 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital, and when defibrillation is provided within 5 to 7 minutes, the survival rate from sudden cardiac arrest is as high as 49 percent.
  • American’s high success rate: Since equipping its aircraft with AEDs, American, a founding member of the global oneworld® Alliance, has achieved a survival rate of 63 percent. The rate of survival aboard American Airlines is so much higher than the national average because an AED is only footsteps away.
  • Comprehensive training: To ensure that our customers have the safest inflight experience, all of American Airlines and American Eagle flight attendants are CPR/AED trained.