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Special assistance

Special assistance

A - Health & Medical Information

Most people with existing medical conditions are able to fly on a commercial aircraft without difficulty. However, in-flight the cabin air is pressurized and precautions are sometimes necessary if a traveler has a respiratory or heart problem.

OpenSkies only request medical clearance when fitness to travel is in doubt. We always try to accommodate and assist all customers with additional needs. Safety regulations stipulate that passengers with additional needs should not be seated at emergency exits or in cross aisles that form part of emergency exit routes. We will do our best to allocate a seat that is most suitable to your needs.

B - Passengers with disabilities

If you have a stable disability, you do not require formal clearance. Wheelchair assistance can be provided on request at no extra charge.

Please feel free to make your requirements known to OpenSkies when you make your reservation.

You must be able to manage your own needs during the flight; this includes eating and use of the toilet facilities. Don't hesitate to contact one of our representatives at

France Tel 0 825 87 47 47
(0,15€/minute)
open Mon-Fri 9am to 6pm, Sat 9am to 2pm CET (closed on Sundays and holidays)

USA Tel 1 866 581-3596 open daily 9am to 8pm EST

Cabin crew will do what they can to assist you in-flight; for example they will help you to the toilet door with the in-flight wheelchair, but they cannot lift you or assist you inside the toilet cubicle.

If you are severely impaired with respect to mobility and would be unable to assist in your own evacuation or if your are deaf and severely impaired with respect to vision such that you cannot establish some means of communication with airline personnel, adequate to permit transmission of the safety briefing, then you will need to travel with an able-bodied escort who is willing and able to help you.

For Visually impaired passengers:

  • a meet and assist service can be provided if you need to be guided to and from the aircraft.

  • transport to and from the aircraft can be provided from the airport terminal building when necessary.

For Hearing impaired passengers:

  • we offer separate briefings about safety procedures for deaf and hard of hearing customers.

Companions providing assistance:

  • if you are not capable of taking care of all your physical needs independently in-flight, we ask you to consider traveling with a companion who can assist you.

  • we cannot assume obligation for providing onboard assistance that might compromise health, safety or hygiene requirements.

C - Medical clearance and fitness to fly

Most people with existing medical conditions are able to fly on a commercial aircraft without difficulty. However, in-flight the cabin air is pressurized and precautions are sometimes necessary if you have a respiratory or heart problem.

Medical clearance is required when:

Fitness to travel is in doubt as a result of recent illness, hospitalization, injury or surgery
You have an existing unstable medical condition
Special services such as oxygen or the use of medical equipment on-board is needed
You are traveling for medical reasons or treatment

We strongly recommend that you check any vaccination requirements at least six weeks before you fly and ensure that you have adequate travel insurance to cover any medical costs should you become ill while you are away from home.

Most medical conditions are straightforward, but others require individual assessment. In some cases, we may ask that you travel with a medical escort or with supplementary oxygen (for which a charge is incurred).

As with most airlines, we assess your fitness to fly based on internationally accepted criteria, to ensure that you have a safe, comfortable and uneventful journey. Download more information on fitness to fly from the World Health Organization (PDF – 84 KB)

D - Cabin environment

The aircraft cabin environment differs from that on the ground and this can have an effect on any health issues you may have.

Modern commercial aircraft fly at a pressurized altitude of between 6,000 and 13,000 meters which means that the cabin air pressure is lower and the amount of oxygen in the blood can drop. This is not a problem for most people, but if you have respiratory problems (such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)). OpenSkies is not able to provide supplemental Oxygen. Passengers have to communicate with the Company Passenger Medical Clearance Unit (PMCU) at British Airways which will give the necessary approvals. OpenSkies accepts passengers travelling with portable oxygen concentrators which are usually approved for air travel (see below).
Please download this form

Any trapped gas in the body will expand which can lead to pain and perforation of the eardrum. If your sinuses are blocked, quite severe pain can result. This is often worse on landing than take off but can happen at both times.

Cabin air is relatively dry which can lead to a sensation of dryness in the mouth, nose and eyes, though studies have shown that it does not lead to whole body dehydration.

E - Flying after an illness or an operation

You must be extra careful about flying if you’ve had an operation or a serious illness, as travel can be stressful. It is wise not to travel if you don’t feel up to it.

The following guide outlines the minimum time before it is advisable to travel if you have had some treatment or if you need to notify us of your condition before traveling.

F - Diabetes

As long as your Diabetes is stable there are no restrictions. However:

  • if you are crossing time zones you may want to discuss how to manage your insulin regime with your healthcare professional

  • insulin does not generally require refrigeration, but the cabin crew will be unable to look after any medications for you onboard

  • medications should be carried as carry-on baggage and not in the aircraft hold where it is possible that it may be frozen

  • insulin and all other medicines should be identifiable, preferably in original packaging and you should also carry a prescription or a supporting written statement from your doctor to avoid problems with security and customs. Also please dispose of needles safely and not in seat pockets or toilets – sharps boxes are available on all flights on request from our cabin crew

G - Travelers' Thrombosis

Clotting of blood, usually occurring in the lower legs, is known as deep venous thrombosis (DVT). DVT can occur in anyone at any time, although some individuals are more at risk than others. Recent research has confirmed that anyone seated in an aircraft, car, bus or train for more than four hours may also be at increased risk.

  • factors increasing the risk of DVT include:

  • age over 40, (risk continues to increase with age)

  • previous DVT or pulmonary embolism

  • history of DVT or pulmonary embolism in a close family member

  • use of estrogen therapy-oral contraceptives ("The Pill") or hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

  • pregnancy

  • recent surgery or trauma, particularly to the abdomen, pelvic region or legs

  • cancer

  • some inherited blood-clotting abnormalities and other blood disorders

Ways to reduce the risk of DVT:

  • drink adequate fluids
  • avoid smoking
  • avoid beverages which contain alcohol and/or caffeine both before and during the flight
  • avoid crossing legs when seated
  • walk around the cabin whenever you can
  • stand up in your seat area and stretch your arms and legs
  • wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes when traveling
  • If you have any of the additional risk factors listed, you should seek medical advice before traveling. In particular, you should discuss whether compression stockings would be appropriate and whether anti-coagulant medication is necessary.

H - Notice for peanut allergy sufferers

OpenSkies does not include peanut products in aircraft meals or snacks in any cabin. Please be aware that other passengers may bring their own peanut products on board. Other types of nuts may be included on the aircraft menu, for example, as snacks.

I - Travelling with medicines or medical equipment

  • We advise you to carry the medication you may need during the flight in your hand baggage.
  • We cannot refrigerate medication for you. If your medicines need to be kept cool, a cool bag or vacuum flask may be appropriate or you should discuss options with your pharmacist.
  • If you are travelling with medical equipment you may need to let us know in advance, it will depend on the type of equipment in question (see below).
  • Medical clearance is required for the use of most medical equipment including nebulizers (used in some cases of asthma) and ventilators, as we need to ensure that you are fit to fly.
  • It is not possible to guarantee power supply on-board our aircraft, so equipment must be capable of being battery operated.
  • In normal circumstances, medical equipment which has been authorized can be used on board except during taxi, take off, approach and landing. Please contact the Passenger Medical Clearance Unit (PMCU).

Nebulizers

Battery operated nebulizers can be used in-flight with the exception of takeoff and landing. It is not possible to supply mains power and you need to notify the PMCU before you travel.

CPAP machine

Medical clearance is not required for the carriage or use of CPAP machines, (which are used in the treatment of sleep apnea, a condition associated with severe snoring) as fitness to travel will not be in doubt.

CPAP machines can be plugged into a laptop power point, where available, with a suitable adaptor.

Maximum power output from the laptop points is 75 Watts, and if your equipment draws more than this, the outlet will be automatically deactivated. We cannot guarantee that any of the laptop points will be serviceable. If you intend to use one in-flight, we prefer that you use a dry-cell battery operated device.

Traveling with a wheelchair

Wheelchairs and buggies provided by the airport

Please let us know a day in advance, or preferably at time of booking if you need a wheelchair or buggy to help you through the airport. We will try our best to ensure that the airport provides this service for you.

Don't hesitate to contact one of our representatives at

France Tel 0 825 87 47 47
(0,15€/minute)
open Mon-Fri 9am to 6pm, Sat 9am to 2pm CET (closed on Sundays and holidays)
USA Tel 1 866 581-3596 open daily 9am to 8pm EST

Traveling with your own wheelchair

We can usually arrange to carry your wheelchair or mobility aid on your flight.

Please tell us your wheelchair's measurements and weight at the time of booking.

If space is available, we will store collapsible wheelchairs and mobility aids in the aircraft cabin. If we cannot do this they will be carried in the hold.

One mobility aid e.g. a wheelchair will be carried free of charge in addition to the applicable checked baggage allowance.

If you have a battery-powered wheelchair, you need to take certain safeguards before you travel. Please ask for details when you contact us.

We will try our best to ensure that, if you wish, you can stay in your own wheelchair until you arrive at the boarding gate. However, all airports are different and sometimes it is not practical.

At some airports we may have to check wheelchairs or mobility aids into the aircraft hold and give them back to you in the arrivals baggage hall of your destination airport. If we do this we will transport you from check in to the aircraft in another wheelchair and, on arrival, from the aircraft to the baggage hall.

Traveling with a portable dialysis machine

In most circumstances you can take equipment with you. If it is likely that you will exceed normal baggage allowances, you should discuss it with Reservations or the PMCU before travel and well before you arrive at the airport, otherwise you may be liable for excess baggage charges.

Medical equipment for use at your destination

Special arrangements exist for the carriage of essential medical equipment for use at your destination, such as portable dialysis machines. This can be arranged through your booking agent.

J - On board Medical Information & equipments

Facilities on board

We provide the following facilities to help you when on board our aircraft:

  • on board wheelchairs on all aircraft
  • adapted toilets with handrails on some twin-aisled aircraft, however cabin crew cannot assist in the toilet
  • a number of seats with lifting armrests for ease of access

Medical care in the air

With millions of flights operating globally every year, medical incidents are fortunately rare. The most common in-flight medical incidents are fainting and stomach upsets.

  • Cabin crew medical training
  • On board medical kits
  • Defibrillators
  • MedLink
  • Good Samaritans
  • Travelers' thrombosis

Cabin crew medical training

We train our cabin crew in advanced first aid and intermediate life support and they undergo annual refresher training. The standards required exceed those laid down by the regulatory bodies. In addition they have access to MedLink services, allowing them to receive immediate advice from an experienced physician.

On board medical kits

Our medical kits contain additional drugs and medical equipment far in excess of the minimum regulatory requirements, and are recognized worldwide as a benchmark. The kits include drugs which can be administered by cabin crew as well as drugs and equipment for use by an assisting doctor or nurse. The content of the kits is regularly reviewed.

Defibrillators

All our aircraft are equipped with Automated External Defibrillators, which are used in the event of cardiac arrest. Cabin crew members are trained in their use, using the protocols of the European Resuscitation Council.

MedLink

For in-flight medical emergencies OpenSkies works with MedAire Inc, of Phoenix, Arizona. MedLink provides us with the following:

  • direct and immediate contact between the aircraft crew and a physician
  • knowledge about the flight environment and experience in providing remote medical advice via satellite telephone or radio 24 hours a day
  • advice on the management of the medical incident
  • assist the Captain in deciding whether to divert and, if so, which of the available diversion airfields has the most appropriate medical facilities
  • able to make the arrangements for the aircraft to be met by medical services on the ground when it lands

K - Good samaritans

A Good Samaritan is a doctor or other health professional who offers assistance with a medical emergency. Occasionally cabin crew may ask if there are any health professionals on board who are willing to volunteer to assist if the situation appears serious and beyond the experience or training of the crew, or if specifically requested by the MedLink physician. We will indemnify a ‘Good Samaritan' health professional against any legal liability that might arise from their assistance with a medical emergency on the aircraft. In addition, some countries, such as the USA, have enacted legislation which protects health professionals from litigation in ‘Good Samaritan' situations.

L - Travelling when pregnant

Pregnancy is not normally regarded as additional needs and pregnant women will be accepted without a medical certificate up to the end of their 28th week of pregnancy. From the end of the 28th week of pregnancy the passenger will need to carry a medical certificate of fitness to fly, confirming the expected date of delivery and no complications. Passengers cannot be accepted after the 36th week of a single pregnancy and 32nd week for a multiple pregnancy. Travel after this date for urgent medical or compassion reasons is rarely given and may only be approved by the Passenger Medical Clearance Unit.

M - Special Assistance Requirements

Please let us know, before you travel, if you need any special assistance including traveling with a wheelchair, children travelling alone who need to be escorted, or special dietary needs

N - Additional needs

To ensure that we provide a level of service appropriate for your needs, please let us know before you travel, so we can provide you with necessary assistance throughout your journey.

Please contact us if you:

  • Have a disability and need special services or assistance

  • Have a need to book a wheelchair

  • Are concerned if you are fit to fly

  • Have a dietary or special meal requirement

You may book special meal requests online at the " Manage My Booking " area of the website.

Please contact one of our representatives to ensure your needs have been met.

France Tel 0 825 87 47 47
(0,15€/minute)
open Mon-Fri 9am to 6pm, Sat 9am to 2pm CET (closed on Sundays and holidays)
USA Tel 1 866 581-3596 open daily 9am to 8pm EST

O - Stretcher

The Carrier reserves the right to refuse to accept passengers having to travel on a stretcher.(Not acceptable on OpenSkies Flights).