Air India Creates History with Its Move to Provide Timely Medical Help to Flyers during Midair Emergencies

‘Is there a doctor among you on board?’ This call for help during an inflight medical emergency sounds familiar to frequent flyers. Midair health emergency is not a regular occurrence; it is not uncommon either. Air India flights alone encountered a spate of such unexpected incidents in the past 6 months. Most recently, an Air India flight from Delhi to Chicago made an emergency landing in Uzbekistan due to an octogenarian passenger’s heart attack on board. On 23 January 2024, a medical emergency aboard the nonstop flight Delhi to Newark forced Air India to divert to Iceland.

In November 2023, a doctor on board responded to desperate calls for medical help when Air India was about to take off for Toronto and thus, saved the flight from mid-air diversion. What if there is no doctor to play a knight in shining armor during a flight, particularly on some international route? It would be a nerve-wrecking scenario for both the crew and passengers due to limited access to life-saving medical resources at the height of 35,000 feet.

Air India news, Air India MedAire, emergency medical care aboard Air India flights

As part of its ongoing transformation, Air India made a history-making move to provide professional medical help to passengers and the crew during emergencies on ground or in the sky. The Tata airline has roped in MedAire, a leading global medical service provider in aviation and maritime sectors. This partnership made Air India the first Indian airline with 24-hour access to emergency medical support across its fleet and network. This milestone in Air India’s journey to becoming a world-class airline will not only ensure passengers’ life safety and convenience, but also reduce flight delays and diversions.

MedAire will empower the crew members of Air India flights to handle inflight medical incidents with real-time guidance from on-duty physicians certified in aviation medicine until the flights reach their destinations, said Henry Donohoe, SVP of safety, security and quality at Air India. The cabin crew, who are fundamentally trained in basic first aid, CPR and other emergency procedures, will now be able to provide advanced medical assistance even in the sky.

MedAire facilitates connect between on-duty aviation doctors and the cabin crew through its MedLink app that also supports primary assessment of an ailing passenger’s health. By enhancing its response to onboard medical emergencies, Air India looks to do away with the hassles and costs of unplanned diversions. In the event of an unavoidable diversion, MedAire will provide all possible support for emergency landing at the nearest and most suitable airport. It will also coordinate with the airport to ensure proper arrangements for immediate medical attention.

Air India’s partnership with MedAire will also support pre-flight health screening of select passengers to avert mid-air medical incidents, emergency flight diversions, and travel time extensions. Additionally, Air India’s Abhinandan officers trained in providing on-ground medical care to passengers are already on duty at major Indian airports.

“Prior to deploying the most advanced aircraft A350-900 for expansion of nonstop flights between India and USA, Air India is pulling out all stops to become a passenger-friendly carrier, specifically for elderly travelers. Our airline partner, whose best fare deals and cheap flight tickets can be booked on round the year, is imbibing the brand values of the Tata Group in its service to flyers,” said Sourav Agarwal, the Editor of Travel Beats.

Also Check: Your rights to automatic refund of airfares as a passenger

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