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Medical diversions

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Medical diversions

Old 17th Dec 2018, 04:40
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Medical diversions

Seems to be a large increase in BA en route medical diversions recently. Especially in LH, two A380 in the last week or so. Must cost the Company a fortune. Is this just the Health and Safety culture, or more medically unsuitable pax getting through check in?
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Old 17th Dec 2018, 05:58
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I wasn't aware that there is a requirement to pass a medical prior boarding for SLF?
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Old 17th Dec 2018, 06:24
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Originally Posted by cessnapete View Post
Seems to be a large increase in BA en route medical diversions recently.
Do you have any statistics to back up your impression ?
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Old 17th Dec 2018, 07:02
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Gate saff and cabin crew do take note of the condition of passengers.

On one of my last flights a passengsr pointed out that another pax had been throwing up in the terminal.(not alcohol related)

The cabin crew had a chat to him, found him confused probably due to the toxins from his illness in his blood stream and after consulting with myself and my fellow flight deck college we refused travel apparently to the relife of the pax who deep down new he was not well enough to spend 4 hours in an aircraft

​​​Possible diversion avoided and most importantly 250 people not exposed to his illness.

Detecting some one who is going to have a stroke or heart attack?

If you can do that just by looking at them you are in the wrong profession if you work.for an airline

Last edited by Council Van; 17th Dec 2018 at 07:12.
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Old 17th Dec 2018, 07:28
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As has been said we’d need to see the raw stats for BA but I’ve not heard anything via the various “rumour controls” that would indicate there has been an unusual increase in the amount of medical diversions. I think they are as random an event as always..which by it’s nature means sometimes there will be “clumping” of incidents.

Of course as a general point with the ever increasing use of social media and the press monitoring the same, and the various flight tracking sites there’s more chance of events coming to public attention.

Last edited by wiggy; 17th Dec 2018 at 09:05. Reason: format
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Old 17th Dec 2018, 08:14
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I think Wiggy is right, there are no more now than there used to be, they are just more accessible.

i also think the time of year has lots to do with it, you tend to get an older generation travelling more in the “off season”, particularly VFR around Christmas, and older passengers often suffer more illnesses, not helped by the atmosphere in an aeroplane at altitude.
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Old 17th Dec 2018, 08:59
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And it's virus time of year, at least in the Northern hemisphere, the run up to Christmas always seems to be particularly bad in that respect as Winter really sets in.
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Old 17th Dec 2018, 09:17
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Originally Posted by Council Van View Post
Detecting some one who is going to have a stroke or heart attack?

If you can do that just by looking at them you are in the wrong profession if you work.for an airline
Something everone should learn...F.A.S.T...


Act FAST | Stroke.org
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Old 17th Dec 2018, 10:15
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Originally Posted by Johnny [email protected] Pants View Post
I think Wiggy is right, there are no more now than there used to be, they are just more accessible.

i also think the time of year has lots to do with it, you tend to get an older generation travelling more in the “off season”, particularly VFR around Christmas, and older passengers often suffer more illnesses, not helped by the atmosphere in an aeroplane at altitude.
Indeed, globally we have a population that is living longer, and becoming more affluent, and more likely to fly. Older people may be more vulnerable to sudden deterioration, in health (heart attacks, stroke hemorrhages and the like), and people may often disregard more apparently minor issues and decide to go ahead with "trips of a lifetime", only to find these minor irritations suddenly escalate.

Of course, social media perhaps elevates the number of these instances being reported in various media.
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Old 17th Dec 2018, 10:20
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Originally Posted by Johnny [email protected] Pants View Post
I think Wiggy is right, there are no more now than there used to be, they are just more accessible.

I also think the time of year has lots to do with it, you tend to get an older generation travelling more in the “off season”, particularly VFR around Christmas, and older passengers often suffer more illnesses, not helped by the atmosphere in an aeroplane at altitude.
I agree, also because of the immovable nature of Christmas and the various other religeous festivals at this time of year, there isn't the usual option of delaying travel until the unwell person feels more able to travel. They take a chance that they'll arrive OK and sometimes they lose, as do the airline and everybody else involved.
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Old 17th Dec 2018, 10:56
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My personal take on the subject is that, although illness is not exclusive to them, there are a lot more older people travelling by air now than ever before. Proportionally that may result in an increase in health related emergencies/diversions.
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Old 17th Dec 2018, 14:26
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Originally Posted by cessnapete View Post
Seems to be a large increase in BA en route medical diversions recently. Especially in LH, two A380 in the last week or so. Must cost the Company a fortune. Is this just the Health and Safety culture, or more medically unsuitable pax getting through check in?
Bigger planes, bigger distances non stop, bigger passenger list, bigger risk of somebody becoming ill.
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Old 17th Dec 2018, 14:45
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TBH I doubt it is quite that simple, because the OP is asking specifically about what he perceives as a recent increase in diversions.

There may well be a minor 380 factor but don’t forget though that when 744’s were first delivered to BA, starting in ‘89, they served the same routes as currently served by BA’s 380’s, and actually weren’t that much lighter on capacity ...AFAIR it the original BA fit was >400 seats (? 409 from memory). Now whilst I’m well aware 744 capacity has reduced over the years the point is the 380’s certainly aren’t carrying an order of magnitude of pax more than older BA types and are only going to the same destinations and on the same routes as BA has operated on for years...

If there’s been a recent short “spike” in medical diversions at BA then from what I am aware of (or not) it is a v small one..some of it might be blamed on the 380 but in all honesty it’s more likely down to randomness, plus as others have said time of year (bugs, demographics of those travelling).

This open source but generally reliable website might be of interest:

http://thebasource.com/tag/medical-diversions/

Last edited by wiggy; 17th Dec 2018 at 15:17.
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Old 17th Dec 2018, 15:17
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Originally Posted by sitigeltfel View Post
Something everone should learn...F.A.S.T...


Act FAST Stroke.org
Good link, I meant in 3 or 4 hours time when the lack of Oxygen is going to effect them half way across the Atlantic.

Infact a minor stroke can be very hard to spot.
My mother was having them and they were affecting her hand. The doctor felt it was a problem with her nerves initinitially. Fortunately the real problem was diagnosed before she had a seriouse stroke and she had a major operation on her carotid artery in time to probably save her life.
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Old 17th Dec 2018, 20:30
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Yes my source is The BA Source. Just seemed a lot more then I remembered. A380, B744,A321 just this week. And a 777 yesterday.
I must have been lucky, in 31 yrs LH ops no medical diversions.

Last edited by cessnapete; 17th Dec 2018 at 21:01.
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Old 17th Dec 2018, 21:26
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Traveling as pax on EK Dubai to Manchester recently, the oysters I ate in Kenya suddenly kicked in. I began throwing up and feeling really terrible. As in really, delerious, non functional, will I survive this flight? I seriously considered asking the cabin crew if they could arrange medical support to meet me in Manchester. In the end i didn't do that, worrying that some system would be triggered and an entire A380 might return to DXB for me! What do you guys reckon would have happened if I had made that request?
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Old 17th Dec 2018, 22:39
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the oysters I ate in Kenya suddenly kicked in
Don't get me wrong, I love oysters too. But one thing I learned many years ago is to be very careful with what I eat and drink the last 24-36 hrs before a medium or long haul flight. I'm sure you have now learned this too
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Old 17th Dec 2018, 23:05
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Originally Posted by double_barrel View Post
Traveling as pax on EK Dubai to Manchester recently, the oysters I ate in Kenya suddenly kicked in. I began throwing up and feeling really terrible. As in really, delerious, non functional, will I survive this flight? I seriously considered asking the cabin crew if they could arrange medical support to meet me in Manchester. In the end i didn't do that, worrying that some system would be triggered and an entire A380 might return to DXB for me! What do you guys reckon would have happened if I had made that request?
My reaction is that sometimes it's possible to overthink things.

Delirious is not insignificant.

I would suggest that anyone genuinely doubting their own medical condition, which it sounds like you were, should seek assistance from the crew.

They have access to medical resources that can help assess, possibly even directly in the cabin.
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Old 17th Dec 2018, 23:13
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Not sure about diversion rates but it is notable in this part of the world that flights to some destinations are weighted with passengers who are traveling for medical reasons.

Recently caught a flight Hong Kong - Vancouver (CX 777).
In Vancouver, I counted 23 wheel chair passengers alighting.

That sort of thing might skew the diversion statistics but unlikely mid-Pacific or over the Aleutians.

Oh yeah, and oysters in BKK before a flight to Perth was a really bad decision on my part.
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Old 18th Dec 2018, 00:44
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23 wheelchairs sounds pretty normal for a narrow body flight from the US Northeast to a number of destinations like PHX,PSP,SRQ,RSW<PBI or PIE.
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