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Answers (3)

Falling ill on a plane

Falling ill on a plane

  1. Anonymous

    Hi Ben,

    Was wondering if you could talk about what happens if you or someone falls ill while mid-flight, and what the options are? I’ve been flying my whole life and am rarely prone to motion sickness, yet this morning while on approach to Paris I just about nearly threw up. If someone does get sick on a plane, and possibly can’t make it to the bathroom in time, what happens? Would a passenger be stuck in the bathroom on a flight as long as 14-15 hours? What if someone gets sick in their seat? Would a plane divert? Was wondering if you could discuss what happens in situations like these as I got pretty freaked out. Thanks!

  2. Donna

    There are barf bags in every seat back pocket for those who get sick. I’ve sat next to passengers who were sick enough to spend hours in the lavatories during flight. If the illness is serious enough, like a heart attack or stroke, the crew knows basic EMT procedures, all flights carry an automatic external defibrillator (AED) on board and I believe they use a service like Med Link to speak with doctors on the ground. In some cases, the plane will divert and land to offload the ill passenger, however, this is rare. I’ve only been on two flights in the past 30 years and 2 million miles that have diverted for medical emergencies. In one case, the passenger actually died of a heart condition during flight.

  3. David W

    Check out “City in the Sky” – it’s on PBS and Netflix. One of the episodes covers medical emergencies in the air.

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