Special Needs Air Passengers
June 18, 2009 Leave a comment
Assistance and services for people with reduced mobility, children travelling alone, sick people, pregnant women, and so on.
Special needs air passengers
Airlines give special treatment to certain types of passengers, such as unaccompanied minors, handicapped persons or those persons that may have problems at certain times with mobility.
It is necessary to inform the travel agent or airline of the special needs of any passenger when making the reservation or purchasing the ticket.
Air travel and health
Modern aircraft fly at altitudes of up to 11,000 metres, with outside temperatures reaching sixty degrees below zero and with very little oxygen in the outside atmosphere. This means that certain artificial conditions have to be adopted in the aircraft interior, which result in a barometric pressure lower than that at sea level, low aircraft cabin air humidity and air recirculation. Adding to these conditions is the fact that the passenger’s mobility is much reduced during flight.
The majority of passengers in good health and a very high percentage of unwell persons do not have any reaction to the above mentioned conditions and are even at less risk than in every day life. However, there are certain situations in which it is recommendable to visit a doctor or specialist before undertaking a flight. Some of these are as follows:
•If the passenger has had a recent operation, especially eye, abdominal or lung surgery.
•If the passenger is to travel with his legs in plaster.
•If the passenger has suffered a heart-attack, angina pectoris or suffers from bad circulation.
•If the passenger has lung disease or respiratory problems.
•If the passenger has chronic sinus infection, ear infection or otitis.
•If the passenger has nasal congestion due to an infection or respiratory allergy.
In flights exceeding three hours, the airlines usually recommend certain eating and drinking habits on board, as well as the physical exercise that can be taken during the flight with the aim of improving the well-being of the passenger and reducing the effects of prolonged immobility. It is important to follow the advice given by the airlines.
Should a passenger be unwell, the airline medical service will study the possibility of whether he may fly or not and the conditions.
The passenger can be transported on a stretcher or given one or more seats. The airline must be consulted with regards the conditions and fares to be applied in each case. When the passenger is transported on a stretcher, he must be accompanied by another passenger.
Airline companies recommend women not to fly when they are over 36 weeks pregnant. In any case, before organising the journey, the passenger must consult the airline and take into account that the passenger in question may have to sign a document releasing the airline of all liability with regards problems arising as a result of her condition.
Children under twelve years old
As a general rule, children under twelve should be accompanied by an adult. Some airlines have a companion service which must be paid in advance. This is usually a member of the cabin crew who will care for the child.
If the child is over five years old, he can travel alone as long as the person responsible for the child signs a Release of Liability document and states details of the adult responsible for collecting the child at the destination airport.
When travelling with babies or very young children, the majority of airlines provide special attention services such as games, books, etc. and, if requested in advance, children’s menus.