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Medical Clearance

When you are transferring a patient via commercial airline it is important to understand the process that you need to go through to ensure the passenger has airline approval to fly. Airlines have the right to refuse to carry passengers with conditions that may worsen, or have serious consequences during flight. It is important to note that although cabin crew is trained to provide advanced first aid, they are not trained and cannot administer medication. In addition, most airlines will assist passengers to reach the toilet accommodation on the aircraft but cannot render more personal hygiene or nursing care.

Depending on the airline, medical clearance may be required from their medical department if there is an indication that a passenger could be suffering from any disease or physical or mental condition that:

  • May be considered a potential hazard to the safety of the aircraft
  • Adversely affects the welfare and comfort of the other passengers and/or crew members
  • Requires medical attention and/or special equipment during flight
  • May be aggravated by the flight

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In Flight Emergencies

When a cabin crew suspects that a passenger may be ill, the Commander of the aircraft will be informed and a decision will be taken on whether the passenger is fit to travel. Sky Cap Corp recommends that all patients should have a fitness to fly (FTF) statement from their attending physician that states they are fit to travel.

The majority of in-flight emergencies occur in situations when an individual's medical condition is unknown to the airline and it is therefore essential that the passenger’s physician send adequate details well in advance of the flight to the carrier. The key information that they require is:

  • The nature of the individual’s condition and its severity/stability
  • Medication being taken
  • Any pertinent information about mobility

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Our strong relationships with the airline medical desks enable us to assist our clients efficiently and thoroughly.”

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Types of Clearance

Each and every airline has specific requirements, procedures and processes that Sky Cap Corp is familiar with and will assist you in acquiring the necessary approvals for your passenger. Some clearances can be done by telephone or by formal communication using the MEDIF form, available through Sky Cap Corp, which allows the medical information to be structured in a manner that can be processed by the majority of airlines.

The final decision whether or not to carry a passenger is that of the airline, but the more information that is provided in advance, the more likely it is that a reasonable, evidence based decision can be made. Our strong relationships with the airline medical desks enable us to assist our clients efficiently and thoroughly.

Below is an approximately timeline for medical clearance. Please use this only as a guideline and inquire with your travel professional for a more definite timeline.

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Types of Clearance
Traveling with Oxygen (US Carriers) 24 hours prior to flight
Traveling with Oxygen (Other Carriers) 24-96 hours prior to flight
Commercial Stretcher 3-7 days prior to flight
Orthopedic Operation 24-72 hours prior to flight
Serious Illness / Medical Conditions 24-72 hours prior to flight

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Being Denied Clearance by the Airline

Some reasons a passenger can be denied medical clearance are:

  • If it is reasonable to expect medical complications to arise for a diseased person during the flight due to their poor general state of health.
  • If the passenger would require medical attention, and this is not possible.
  • If the doctor treating the condition refuses to provide information about the disease.
  • If there is a possibility of infectious diseases being transmitted to other passengers.

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“Your travel professional will advise you on the type of clearance needed, any pertinent forms that need to be completed.”

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Passengers Not Requiring Clearance

It is also important to know that not all cases may require medical clearance.
Some of these conditions are:

  • Guests with a disability that has been unchanged since birth or an extended period of time.
  • Guests assigned a wheelchair due to damage to the skeletal and musculoskeletal system (inflammatory or degenerative) suffered as a result of disease (e.g. MS, brittle-bone disease).
  • Guests with mild forms of chronic obstructive bronchitis and asthma, which do not cause seizures, and are being successfully treated with the patient’s own medication, and when the doctor responsible for treatment of the condition does not feel it is necessary for you to receive oxygen during the flight.
  • High blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Blood disorders such as anemia (providing no oxygen is required).
  • Epilepsy (if you haven’t had a seizure in the within 24 hours of your flight departure time).
  • Arthritis
  • Insect bites
  • Minor injuries such as: toe and finger injuries; twisted ankles; pulled muscles; small cuts
  • Sunburn

Sky Cap Corp wants you to know that this list is not inclusive and is on a case-by-case basis depending on the airline’s specific requirements. Your travel professional will advise you on the type of clearance needed, any pertinent forms that need to be completed, and will submit them on your behalf.