Passenger fitness to fly

Every year, over one billion people travel by air and that figure is predicted to double in the next decades. Air travel is a comfortable and safe means of transport and is accessible to all sectors of the population. The global increase in travel, as well as an increasingly aged population, means that there may be a significant increase in older passengers and those with an illness who wish to travel for tourism or even to see and meet their beloved ones. Flight delays or diversions due to boarded ill passenger have serious impact on the airline scheduling capacity. crew legibility and other passengers needs and commitment. Therefore, it's very important to educate the ill passenger about their fitness to fly by air, and their medical needs during travel especially long haul fights. A lethal cocktail of ill passenger that might aggravate a pre-existing stable chronic medical condition is the need to reach the airport, check in through the counter long queues, immigration and security lines. Many of the guest passengers are not aware of the environmental changes in the cabin during high altitude and long hour flights. A decrease in the atmospheric pressure, would lead to a drop of oxygen inside the cabin, low humidity and decrease in the temperature. All these cabin changes may lead to exacerbation of a pre-existing medical condition or to a provocation of new one especially among elder passengers. In spite that all flights of SAUDIA airlines are equipped with doctor emergency kits (DEKs), automated external defibrillators (AEDs), and other 3 emergency tools for the use of non-doctor passengers, delays and diversion still an inevitable possibility, but mitigation is an option. Similar to the other big airlines in the region and world wise, The Medical Services SBU, has made a time table scheme which will virtually guide ill passengers travelling on board SAUDIA Airlines about their estimated recovery time, their needs prior to travel and during the fight. The scheme will be accessible to passengers through different SAUDIA media including:

  • Website (click here to download the scheme with MEDIF Pdf. Format)
  • Magazines; Ahlan Wasahlan & Saudia World
  • On board entertainment system
  • Reservation Audio guidelines
  • Reservation SMS
  • Screen displays in sale points, airport counters and reservation offices
  • Small leaflets for Saudia staff at the sales points and reservation offices
  • Pamphlet to ill passengers explaining the needs of filling the MEDIF.


The following scheme, contains table of, some of the common medical conditions which may cause potential delay or diversion. Each medical condition, has the estimated period of recovery and Saudia requirement if any.


Communicable Diseases

Remarks for treating doctor's information Required Saudia travel Clearance form Absolutely not suitable for travel Medical condition
None contagious None There's still pus discharging from the eye and not responding on antibiotics Bacterial conjunctivitis
All lesions are dried and crusted None With active lesions, present Chicken pox/ shingles
None contagious Mandatory Visited epidemic arears within the last 6 months Ebola virus
None contagious None Within 7 days after the onset of the rash German mistakes rubella
  Required   HIV Virus
Travel not recommended unless an appropriate treatment and covered in watertight dressings If unsure If not on treatment or if blisters uncovered Impetigo
Travel not suitable for those displaying obvious signs of influenza /unwell required If symptomatic (eg.fever , cough, aches and pains ) Influenza
Negative swab Mandatory If symptomatic MERS/ Corona virus
  If swelling is still preset after 10 days or unwell Less then 10 days after onset of swelling mumps
Travel not suitable until day after treatment has begun If swelling is still present after 10 days or unwell If not treated or just in the first day of treatment  Scabies
  All cases of tuberculosis must have a travel clearance from completed. Passengers with tuberculosis will not be cleared until their treating physician can confirm that they are not infection or can present a medical report. If infectious Tuberculosis
May travel after 7 days of effective antibiotic therapy If on ongoing effective antibiotic therapy longer than 7 days WiWithin 3 weeks from the onset of the whoop (if not on treatment) or within 7 days of effective antibiotic therapy Whooping cough/ pertussis


Cardiovascular conditions

Remarks for treating doctor's information Required Saudia travel Clearance form Absolutely not suitable for travel Medical condition
Must be stable and no angina at rest Control achieved only (within recently 14 days) Unstable angina Angina/ chest pain due to heart problems
Must be stable Within 14-21 days or with complications Within last 10 days Myocardial infarction / heart attack
If borderline, medical oxygen maybe necessary If cardiac failure is controlled and stable Uncontrolled heart failure Health failure
Does not include benign arrhythmias Within 21-14 days Within 10 days Serious cardiac arrhythmia / irregular heart beat
  Within 10 days 48 hours after placement With pacemakers
  21 days Less than 48 hours Angiography
  21 days 7 days or less Angioplasty with or without stent
  14-21 days (CABG and value surgery) 14 days or less Cardiac surgery
Stable an oral anticoagulants On anti-coagulants If active Thrombophlebitis of legs
Stable anticoagulation and PAD2 normal on room air 14-21 days Onset of 7 days or less DVT/pulmonary embolism or risk of DVT
Stable Chronic disease Hgp less than 8.5 mg/dl Anemia
Always need oxygen supplement 14 days and over Sickling crisis in previous 14 days Sickle cell disease


Respiratory conditions

Remarks for treating doctor's information Required Saudia travel Clearance form Absolutely not suitable for travel Medical condition
Must have no air on chest cavity on chest x-ray 14-21 days after full inflation 10 days or less after full inflation Pneumothorax hem pneumothorax
stable 14-21 days 14 days or less Chest surgery e.g., lobectomy
Full recovered or if -ray signs persist, must have be symptom -free Within 7 days of resolution- complications or on-going symptoms   Acute, symptomatic Pneumonia
Supplementary oxygen maybe required in flight If unstable or poor exercise tolerance of less than 50 meters' recent exacerbation (10 days)       Cyanosis on the ground despite supplementary oxygen unresolved recent exacerbation   COPD, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, pleural effusion and hemothroax   
Must be stable and have medication with them Severe episode or hospitalization within 72 hours Recent sever attack within 72 hours asthma


Neurological conditions

Remarks for treating doctor's information Required Saudia travel Clearance form Absolutely not suitable for travel Medical condition
Must be stabilized 7-10 days less than 3 days Transient Ischemic Attack
Must be self-sufficient otherwise escort /carers required  7-14 days Less than 7 days Stroke
stable Within 7 days of last fit  Less than 24 hours or unstable   Grand mal fir/ epilepsy
Cranium must be free of air 10-21 days       10 days or less Cranial surgery


Psychiatric conditions

Remarks for treating doctor's information Required Saudia travel Clearance form Absolutely not suitable for travel Medical condition
Proving stable for days. Travel may be approved with suitable medical escort / carers Within 14 days of unstable episode or hospitalization If unstable Acute psychosis (e.g. mania, schizophrenia during induced)


Eye conditions

Remarks for treating doctor's information Required Saudia travel Clearance form Absolutely not suitable for travel Medical condition
Any gas in globe must be reabsorbed 14-21 days 14 days or less Penetrating eye injury
  3-7 days less than 72 hours Cataract surgery
  3-7 days Less than 72 hours Corneal laser surgery


Pregnancy and Newborn

Remarks for treating doctor's information Required Saudia travel Clearance form Absolutely not suitable for travel Medical condition
Risk of labor must be minimal note: after 28th weeks of pregnancy every passenger must carry at all times, a letter from a doctor or midwife outlining estimated date of delivery. Single or multiple pregnancy. Absence of complications and fitness to fly  Any pregnancy with complications will require a medical clearance   Single pregnancy -after the 36th week Multiple pregnancy-after the 32nd week Pregnancy – flight greater than 4 hours

          Risk of labor must be minimal note: after 28th weeks of pregnancy every passenger must carry at all times, a letter from a doctor or midwife outlining estimated date of delivery. Single or multiple pregnancy

Absence of complications and fitness to fly                 

Any pregnancy with complications will require a medical clearance  Single pregnancy -after the 40th week Multiple pregnancy-after the 36nd week Pregnancy- flight less than 4 hours
Must be stable. No bleeding and no pain for at least 24 hours Within 7 days of bleeding  With active bleeding Miscarriage (threatened or complete)
Risl of hypoxia if respiratory system not fully developed  3-7 days or with history of complications or premature birth Less than 48 hours New born


Trauma

Remarks for treating doctor's information Required Saudia travel Clearance form Absolutely not suitable for travel Medical condition
    Must be split if less than 4 hours prior to departure Full plaster cast
Must be medically stable and well in other aspects Within 10 days of burn or surgical treatment If still shocked or with widespread infection or greater than %20 total body surface area burns


Miscellaneous

Remarks for treating doctor's information Required Saudia travel Clearance form Absolutely not suitable for travel Medical condition
Medical condition may require stretcher, escort/carers or oxygen. Will not accept passengers at risk of dying during flight All cases If at risk of death during flight Terminal illness
Preferably after 48 hours No required unless recent decompression sickness  No within 24 hours of diving Scuba diving
MEDIF and Escort All cases Cannot travel without escort Jaw wires
No abscess Presence of dental abscess Less than 24 hours or presence of an abscess Tooth extraction