Ill Flight Guests
What you should know to help prepare for the flight Ill Flight Guests
Ill Flight Guests
Whenever a medical condition exists that may cause an airline passenger to require assistance during a flight, the airline must be notified well in advance of the flight date. There are certain conditions which may prohibit flying for a specified length of time to avoid the possibility of in-flight emergencies, and passengers would be wise to seek advice, however trivial an injury or illness may be thought. With the tissue swelling that occurs at altitude, even a newly applied plaster cast may pose a risk to circulation. Although airlines do their utmost to accommodate most flight guests with some form of disability or other, it remains within their rights to override a medical evaluation of a passenger’s fitness to fly if, at the time of a flight, their condition poses serious concerns. The airline must consider the well-being of this particular passenger as well as any risks to others. If the possibility exists that a medical condition may necessitate the use of oxygen, the airline needs at lease 72 hours prior notice of this as not all flights have the facility. Neglecting to inform an airline of an illness and possible complications may put a passenger at serious risk.
Respiratory diseases in general do not respond well to flight conditions although most will not be subject to exclusion from flying. It is, however, recommended that passengers afflicted with transmittable conditions such as influenza take every precaution not to infect others. In the case of infectious respiratory diseases like tuberculosis, particularly if it is of a highly drug-resistant strain, a passenger will be prohibited from flying until it is medically certified that they are no longer infectious. This applies to any communicable disease or illness such as measles if the passenger is still within the infectious phase.
Medical Requirements and Medication
If oxygen is required aboard a flight and the aircraft has the facilities to accommodate the need, a passenger is still required to provide their own oxygen supply up until the time of boarding. Passengers who need assistance with eating or using toilet facilities aboard a flight may be requested to arrange for a travel companion as flight attendants may not feed a passenger or accompany them inside an aircraft toilet. As with all acute or chronic medication devices such as asthma pumps must be kept close at hand and flight attendants should be informed of the location. If medication requires a device such as a syringe to administer, then the airline must have prior notice for screening purposes. Medication also needs to be clearly marked for the personal use of a passenger.
If an airline has prior notification of a passenger’s need for mobility assistance, a wheelchair and assistant will be provided and the passenger will be afforded priority boarding. Battery-powered mobility aids intended to accompany a passenger must be reported, screened and made safe for flying. If a gel wheelchair cushion is desired for maximum comfort, it will also be required to undergo the screening process. Vision impaired persons may have assistive dogs travel with them subject to compliance with regulations set down by DEFRA for pet travel. An airline may only deny passage to the disabled for valid safety reasons or in the case of aircraft design limitations.
Know your Rights
European aviation laws regarding illness and disability prohibit airlines from denying air passage to any ill or disabled persons unless it can be proved that a particular condition will not tolerate in-flight cabin conditions. An airline will be required to advise of such a decision in writing and a passenger is free to contest the decision. Such cases are the extreme exception and most ill or disabled passengers will be accommodated in the most comfortable manner possible.