Special needs passengers
Assistance and services for children travelling alone, sick people, pregnant women, and so on.
Special needs passengers: Recommendations
Airlines give special treatment to certain types of passengers such as children travelling alone, pregnant women, the sick, people who at certain times may have mobility problems, etc.
So that the company can offer you the appropriate help it is necessary to inform the airline of the passenger's special circumstances when making the booking and buying the ticket.
Air travel and health
Modern jet propelled aircraft travel at altitudes reaching almost 11,000 metres, with outside temperatures reaching sixty degrees centigrade below zero and little oxygen content in the outside atmosphere. This makes it necessary to adopt artificial conditions inside the aircraft which consist of a barometric pressure lower than that at sea level, low air humidity and air recirculation. And to these conditions you have to add that passengers' mobility is greatly reduced during the flight.
Most passengers, who are healthy and a very significant percentage of ill patients, may experience no problems in making a trip under these conditions, and even with less risk than in daily life. However, there are certain situations where it is highly recommendable for you to consult your GP or specialist. Some of these are included below:
- If the passenger has had a recent operation, particularly 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 insufficiency.
- If the passenger has chronic sinusitis, middle ear infection or otitis.
- If the passenger has nasal congestion due to an infection or respiratory allergy.
The above circumstances are, among others, those when it is recommendable to previously check with a doctor to discover if the passenger should fly and the precautions that should be taken.
In flights over three hours, airlines usually recommend certain eating and drinking guidelines, such as physical exercises during the flight, that help increase the passenger's well-being and reduce the drawbacks of prolonged immobility. Carefully follow the airline's advice.
Should a passenger be ill, the airline's medical service will study the possibility of whether they fly or not and the conditions of flight.
The passenger can be transported on a stretcher or given one or more seats. The airline must be consulted regarding the conditions and fares applicable in each case. When transported on a stretcher, the passenger must be accompanied by another person.
Airlines 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 pregnant passenger in question may have to sign the airline's Waiver of Responsibility with regard to problems arising as a result of her condition.
Children under the age of twelve
As a general rule, children should travel with an adult. Check with your company to see if they have a chaperone service (a member of the cabin crew who, after paying the company for their services, can take care of the minor).
If the child is five or over they can travel alone, provided that the person responsible for the minor signs a Waiver of Responsibility and guarantees that an identified adult will take charge of the child in the arrival airport.
If you are travelling with babies or young children, most companies have an activities service –books, games, etc.- and, if you request them in advance, children's meals.