A recent study by the University of Toronto points out a steady increase in the number of inflight medical emergencies. More and more senior citizens, pregnant women, infants, travelers with chronic ailments and terminally ill passengers are taking to the skies. Most of the time, their exposure to physiologic stressors during long-haul flights causes medical emergencies on board. Another study carried by the New England Journal of Medicine states, “One medical emergency occurs in every 604 flights.” Nausea or vomiting, light headedness, respiratory problems, cardiac symptoms and seizures are some of the most common causes of inflight medical emergency.
In a landmark move to ensure continual inflight medical care for travelers with pre-existing health issues, Etihad Airways has rolled out two specialized services. One is a pre-boarding visit and checkup by an Etihad aviation doctor and the other is an inflight nurse.
Etihad Airways’ new inflight guest medical services include an airline-certified doctor’s visit to the passengers who are required to get medical clearance to board flights. The passengers with pre-existing medical issues can request an evaluation of their health conditions by an Etihad aviation doctor before the scheduled departure of their flights. The Etihad aviation doctor can conduct a health checkup in the presence of a passenger’s attending physician. The passenger will be issued ‘fit to fly’ status within 24 hours of the checkup if he is found medically stable.
The introduction of a dedicated inflight nurse is the most commendable of Etihad Airways’ new inflight guest medical services. An inflight nurse will accompany and attend the passengers with pre-existing medical conditions throughout Etihad Airways flights. The inflight nurse will provide requisite support during medical emergencies on plane. It will surely add to the passenger-friendly value of Etihad Airways’ inflight services including Flying Nanny for kids on board.
Diversion of flights, delayed take off and emergency landing in case of medical emergencies on planes incur losses worth millions of dollars to commercial airlines. Etihad Airways’ dedicated inflight medical services will not only help the airline avert unnecessary losses but also ensure a smooth flight for the passengers who require consistent medical assistance. It will surely benefit unaccompanied senior citizens on Etihad Airways flights from USA to India and other destinations.
“Etihad Airways’ inflight medical services seem to put other airlines behind in the race for a larger pie of the market. A fair percentage of our customers seeks to book even last-minute flights on Etihad Airways because of Etihad’s cheap air tickets to India and good services on board,” says the public relations officer of Indian Eagle, a leading air-ticketing firm in the US.
The national airline of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad Airways is the first commercial carrier in the Middle East to have launched the one-stop-shop medical services which will be provided by the Etihad medical team. The members of the Etihad medical team are qualified and trained in handling inflight medical emergencies and administering air transport medicines.