The height when flying may worsen certain illnesses, although very few prevent a person from flying.
It refers to those cases of passengers who, at the time of the flight, suffer or have suffered from some acute illness, have been recently hospitalized, have undergone recent surgeries or invasive procedures, or suffer from decompensation or exacerbation of chronic conditions. It refers to those cases of passengers who require medical care at airports and/or on board, use or request supplemental oxygen, have been immobilized or whose condition raises reasonable doubts as to the possibility of flying safely.
People with certain illnesses or health conditions included in the Quick guide for people with illnesses and their physicians (ANNEX I of Chap. SPECIAL ASSISTANCE AND SERVICES), when the minimum terms recommended there have not yet passed, must instruct their physicians to complete, as a Certificate, an internationally approved form of commercial aviation (Res. IATA 700) called MEDIF (Standard Medical Form).
This form (or, possibly and exceptionally, an equivalent document containing the same requirements) must be completed in handwriting, signed and stamped by the treating physician, and subsequently submitted by the passenger or its representative to the airline, together with another document called INCAD (Incapacitated Passengers Handling Advice).
The purpose of completing these forms is to share confidential information between the Physician of the passenger and the Medical Department of Aerolíneas Argentinas/Austral, and between the different airlines involved in the booking of the ticket and air travel regarding support and assistance required, in order to analyze availability or otherwise consider adaptation alternatives and reasonable adjustments, coordinating in due time and manner the provision of the service requested.
It is ideal that the treating physicians of people with illnesses give their professional opinion, establishing the suitability of patients for air travel considering the pathophysiology in height, the characteristics and microclimate in the cabin of commercial airliners, and the health effects and risks during flight.
Other very important considerations to take into account about MEDICAL CASES and the Physicians of people with illnesses are:
1) The duration of the flights, which may be grouped in short, medium, long and ultra-long flights, depending on whether they are flights of up to two hours, more than two hours and up to five, more than five hours and up to twelve, and more than 12 hours, respectively.
2) Destination: If the flights are Domestic -within the Argentina-, Regional -to bordering countries- or International -to the other destinations abroad-. In addition, knowing if the flight routes to be taken are transoceanic or transpolar due to the difficulty in emergency alternatives may be of interest to the physicians involved so as to have more evidence to assess and establish criteria and decide on the suitability for air travel of their patients with illnesses.
The answer is yes. When people suffer from any of the illnesses or circumstances mentioned in the Quick guide for people with illnesses and their physicians and the minimum terms recommended there before flying have not yet passed, or when people have a health condition raising doubts as to the feasibility of flying without any worsening of such condition on board, they must submit a medical certificate.
For the purpose of enabling the Medical Department of Aerolíneas Argentinas/Austral to analyze and consider the feasibility of the travel in order to coordinate it in due time and manner and/or facilitate or allow the correct categorization of doubtful cases for the health of the passenger and third parties, Aviation Safety and Public Health, the people with certain illnesses or health conditions will be required to instruct their physicians to complete, as a Certificate, an internationally approved form of commercial aviation (Res. IATA 700) called MEDIF (Standard Medical Form), to be completed in handwriting, signed and stamped by the treating physicians, and subsequently submitted by the passenger or its representative to the airline.
The requirement of Aerolíneas Argentinas/Austral for people described among the MEDICAL CASES to complete the MEDIF is limited and arises at certain stages of the booking, namely:
• when, for prevention purposes, a person with an illness consults on a common sense basis;
• when the physician of the person with an illness deems it prudent for its health;
• when the ill person or its physician request medical services and care;
• when the ill person or its physician wish to avoid inconveniences when boarding;
• when the ill person or its physician wish to avoid inconveniences during the flight;
• when the ill person or its physician identify the case in the specific Guide and the minimum terms recommended there before flying have not yet passed;
• when the staff of the company, due to a comment or special request during the booking process, estimate that there may be a MEDICAL CASE involved and so prequalifies it until the intervention of the Medical Department of Aerolíneas Argentinas-Austral, which will definitively establish whether the person with an illness or specific health condition should be required to complete the MEDIF or not.
• when, having none of the previous issues occurred, the employees of Aerolíneas Argentinas/Austral, the Sales or Traffic employees at the Airports during the Check-In or Pre-Boarding, or the crew during the Boarding or on board detect and observe or it becomes evident to them when making personal contact that the health condition of a passenger is such as to make them assume that the person will not be able to fly safely neither for itself nor for others and should have been considered as a person with an illness and completed the MEDIF.
• when, having none of the previous issues occurred, the staff of the company when making direct contact with a person with an illness at the airport, during the check-in process, during the pre-boarding or on the aircraft when boarding or already on board receive information, comments or requirements from the person concerned or from any accompanying person allowing to infer that there is a MEDICAL CASE involved and it should have completed the MEDIF.
The situations which may seriously compromise the operation, the health of people with illnesses who wish to fly with a condition listed in the orientation and recommendation Guides and Tables of Aerolíneas Argentinas/Austral, Public Health, the health of other passengers and the crew, and the Aviation Safety require a high degree of social responsibility and common sense before deciding to air travel in a commercial airliner.
The lack of knowledge by people with illnesses and/or their physicians regarding the conditions and situations contemplated in the reference tables and the recommendations and procedures published, which are available in multiple sources of information, as well as any omission, concealment, misrepresentation or falseness of data and failure to meet the requirements established by Aerolíneas Argentinas/Austral for MEDICAL CASES releases the company from any liability for the health worsening of people with illnesses and for the inconveniences that may arise during the booking, at the airports and during the flight.
People who suffer from any of the illnesses listed in the Orientation and Recommendation Guides of Aerolíneas Argentinas/Austral, and their physicians, when planning and organizing their flights, must know about the unforeseen events and implications of commercial aviation that may occur, which are summarized, as an example, in three situations, namely:
• Flights may be delayed, canceled or rescheduled due to weather issues in origin, route or destination, air traffic, airport facilities, control towers, support services of the flight such as radars and communications, and activity limit times of Crews, among many others. This differs substantially from land, rail and inland maritime transport means.
• The delays in the paperwork prior to the travel, such as those that may arise in the check-in, pre-boarding and boarding processes and on board, may interfere with the closing of the flight and the aircraft doors and with the start of the taxiing, and may lead to the loss of the takeoff turn, which may cause from further delays to flight cancellation.
• The decompensation or worsening of the health condition of passengers with no reported or poorly categorized illnesses, sometimes even of healthy passengers, may force Pilots to take detours from the original planned route for the flight and to decide to use alternative airports which, on many occasions, do not have the necessary infrastructure or are experiencing weather or refueling issues.
Another last minute inconvenience at airports, which often hampers the flight, may require postponing it or changing its date, or may even prevent it, arises when the health condition of the person with an illness has deteriorated since the issuance of the medical certificate (MEDIF Form) and the acceptance for transport until flying, so that there is reasonable suspicion or manifest and evident disparity between reality and what was duly informed by the treating physician regarding traveling without any anticipated worsening or death on board.
INCAD (Incapacitated Passengers Handling Advice) Part 1
MEDIF (Standard Medical Form)-Part 2
(Res. IATA 700)
The MEDIF must be completed by the ill person's treating Physician managing its air transport, who must have previously been authorized and released from Professional Secrecy in the affidavit of the form called INCAD (Incapacitated Passangers Handling Advice) by the signature of the ill person or that of a third party representing it; such form may also be viewed and printed from here, to be completed in handwriting and subsequently submitted by the interested party to the Special Services Sector of the airline, together with the MEDIF form completed by the physician.
The MEDIF must be completed no later than 10 days before the flight date for Regional and International Flights and no lather 72 hours before the flight date for Domestic or internal flights.
In the Affidavit at the foot of the INCAD (Incapacitated Passangers Handling Advice) the person with an illness is required to provide information on any professional who assists or knows the person or who knows about its situation, releasing Aerolíneas Argentinas/Austral and authorizing consultation with such professional by the Medical Department, if necessary.
The person requesting air transport who must complete the INCAD and authorize its physician to provide Aerolíneas Argentinas/Austral with information must assume any cost or fee arising from such process.
The certificate must be issued at the place of origin of the flight by a local professional who has recently examined or assisted the person with the illness and who clearly knows about its patient's health condition and flying implications.
No item in the INCAD and MEDIF forms must be left unanswered. They must be legible, and the use of black ink and firm line is recommended; they must not contain any amendment, crossing out or change in ink or letters (which should be understandable). This will avoid mutual delays during the passage booking or at the airports, and will even avoid postponing the travel date.
In the MEDIF, the treating physicians of people with illnesses must state in writing the diagnosis, its professional and contact data, the date on which the first symptoms appeared, the date on which the diagnosis was made, the current condition of the patient, the prognosis for flying considered as the degree of suitability for the flight without any worsening or death possibility during such flight, if the condition is contagious, if supportive measures and medical care on land, at airports or on board are required, as well as any transfer arrangement and if the characteristics of the illness and the condition of the patient may be upsetting, uncomfortable or annoying to the other passengers.
While there is a specific discipline on the matter which is in itself a Medical Specialty, Aerospace Medicine, professionals who deem it necessary may access a summary of the basic aspects of the matter by clicking here: Information reserved for professional use only.
Onboard Supplementary Oxygen services will be provided by the company for its flights until December 31, 2018, subject to availability and as detailed below:
- for tickets issued up to and including November 30, requests for this service will be received, regardless of the date of the flight.
- for tickets issued between December 1 and 31, the service will be delivered only during this period.
When requesting in-flight supplementary oxygen, you should bear in mind that:
• You must travel accompanied by a 18 years-old or older person with legal capacity.
• This service is available only for flights operated by Aerolíneas Argentinas/Austral. If you plan to connect with other companies’ flights, you must check their policies.
• Onboard oxygen may only be provided at a continuous flow rate, on an adjustable range of 2 or 4 liters per minute. Pulse dose oxygen machines are not available.
• The service is provided with the company’s equipment. If you travel with portable oxygen bags, bear in mind that they must be empty to be carried onboard. You should plan to replace the oxygen tanks of your bag in your place of destination, since the airline does not provide oxygen on ground, at the airports or in any of the stages previous to, during or after the flight.
• We do not carry oxygen dependent persons.
• Liquid oxygen is considered a hazardous good; therefore it cannot be carried or used onboard.
• Concentrators may be carried as carry on baggage, but they may not be used onboard.
How to request onboard supplementary oxygen
Contact our Contact Center (0810.222.86527), at least 10 days and up to 72 business hours before the departure of your flight in order to consult the requirements that must be met.
Submit the Medif form, completed in a neat and legible handwriting, to any of the Sales Points of Aerolíneas Argentinas, send it via fax to 4909-2502, Special Services Sector (Sector Servicios Especiales) or send it via e-mail to email@example.com
Call 4909-2511/12 and reach the Special Services Sector (Sector Servicios Especiales), from Monday to Friday from 9 AM through 9 PM, in order to confirm the receipt of the Form and be informed of the relevant instructions.
Wait for the assessment of Aerolíneas Argentinas/Austral’s Medical Service as to the capacity of the passenger to travel by air, which is of the essence to board the plane.
The Special Services Sector may request additional information if Aerolíneas Argentinas/Austral’s Medical Service deems it necessary.
Show up at the airport well in advance of your flight, according to your destination:
Domestic flights 120 minutes before the departure of your flight.
Regional and international flights 180 minutes before the departure of your flight.
Submit the original copy and two copies of the MEDIF at the Check-In counter.
Note: for flights operated with Embraer 190 equipment, oxygen may only be provided in economy class.
The following portable oxygen concentrators, which are approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Argentine Drug, Food and Medical Technology Administration (ANMAT) and the Argentine Civil Aviation Administration (ANAC), are accepted by Aerolíneas Argentinas and Austral for their use onboard any flight of the group:
AirSep Freestyle 5
(Caire) SeQual eQuinox / Oxywell (model 4000)
Delphi RS-00400 / Oxus RS-00400
DeVilbiss Healthcare iGo
Inogen One G2
lnogen One G3
lnova Labs LifeChoice Activox
International Biophysics LifeChoice / lnova Labs LifeChoice
Invacare XPO2 / XPO100
Invacare Solo 2
Oxylife Independence Oxygen Concentrator
Precision Medical EasyPulse
Check the updated list
The maximum allowable size is 50 cm. long, 30 cm. wide and 17 cm. tall.
If you do not have an authorized POC or if it exceeds the maximum allowable size, you shall have to travel with Club Cóndor or Club Economy, or you may also request supplementary oxygen, which is provided by the company only for its use onboard.
Other medical equipment
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or Bi Level Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP/BPAP) and nebulizers may be used onboard, provided they are operated with lithium or lithium-ion batteries, and not with 12V or less or 100Wh or less spillable batteries.
Procedure for the use of POC or Positive Airway Pressure Devices onboard
• RESERVATION: contact our Contact Center (0810.222.86527) at least 10 days and up to 72 business hours before the departure of your flight.
• DOCUMENTATION: submit the Medif form (annexes 1, 2 and 3), completed by your doctor in a neat and legible handwriting, to any of the Sales Points of Aerolíneas Argentinas, send it via fax to 4909-2502, Special Services Sector (Sector Servicios Especiales) or send it via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
This document is subject to the analysis of Aerolíneas Argentinas group’s Medical Department and we may request additional information, if necessary. The MEDIF form may be submitted only in Spanish or English.
Then call 4909-2511/12 to reach the Special Services Sector (Sector Servicios Especiales), from Monday to Friday from 9 AM through 9 PM, in order to confirm the receipt of the form and be informed of the relevant instructions. We will then email you a sworn statement that you must sign and submit on the day of the flight at the departure airport.
• AIRPORT: submit the original copy and two copies of the MEDIF form, completed by your doctor. It is important that you respect show up times: for Domestic flights, 120 minutes before the departure of your flight and for Regional/International flights, 180 minutes before the departure of your flight.
• CHECK IN: you may check in at the priority assistance counter for passengers with special services. (Online check in and kiosks are not available).
• Carry-on baggage: POC and Positive Airway Pressure Devices are considered carry-on baggage. The location of the equipment will vary depending on its size. If its size is similar to the size of a small handbag, then it may remain next to the passenger during the whole flight. If it is bigger, it must be placed under the seat in front of the passenger.
If you use any of these equipments, you should bear in mind that:
If you need oxygen on ground, at the airports or in any of the stages previous to, during or after the flight, contact local providers, medical or travel assistance, health insurance or services in order to arrange and complete all stages necessary and get the provision of oxygen.
While Aerolíneas Argentinas/Austral neither requires nor monitors compliance with the following items, they are considered very useful for the comfort and tranquility of those passengers who fly while suffering from certain illnesses. Namely:
Consult your Physician well in advance, some weeks before the scheduled flight; to do so before you plan and organize a trip by air will be very important and reassuring and will avoid delays or inconveniences since the booking of the ticket.
Passengers with illnesses should carry their medications in their handbags instead of carrying them in the luggage to be dispatched at the airport, especially since they may get lost or arrive later.
Medications must be in their original containers for safety reasons and as a means of facilitating identification and traceability for authorities. The same criterion is valid for portable medical equipment that may be carried as hand luggage, thus it is recommended to travel with the original manufacturers' manuals, the warranty and the purchase or rental receipt.
Those who must carry psychotropic drugs, amounts of any other medication in quantities greater than those that could possibly be used during the time spent in the airports of departure and arrival and during the flight, as well as any syringes and needles, should have a brief summary and medical history signed and sealed by the treating professionals to avoid being delayed or prevented from carrying their medication and equipment by Security Agents or by the Customs Authorities.
It would be advisable in such cases for passengers to take a summary of their medical history with them, including study results that could also be useful if they suffer any inconvenience while they are away from their place of residence.
Any arrangement for passengers with illnesses to preserve some medications during the time spent in airports and during the flight under certain conditions (e.g., cooled or at low temperature) will be the sole responsibility of the passenger, since the aircrafts of Aerolíneas Argentinas-Austral are neither prepared nor have any refrigerator to keep medicines, and those available are reserved for the supply of food and drinks. Alternatives should be consulted with the treating physician. Dry ice is considered a Dangerous Good and thus cannot be transported neither in the cabin nor in closed containers. The cooling elements that are frozen in the freezer are usually sufficient to even complete a long flight if they are kept well packed or in a polystyrene container.
In case of people with illnesses that may trigger sudden decompensation and may eventually compromise the level of consciousness or produce unconsciousness, it is highly recommended that they carry some identification to warn about their health condition, such as a card among their documentation, a medal in the neck or a bracelet on the wrist (e.g., those with diabetes, allergies, epilepsy, heart diseases, etc.).
Aerolíneas Argentinas/Austral have no power to arrange, neither in Argentina nor abroad, exceptions to security controls and customs procedures at airports.
In general, there are no restrictions or contraindications for passengers with medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, etc. to pass through metal detectors and X-ray equipment used by Security authorities at the Airport Terminals.
Modern pacemakers and implanted portable cardiac defibrillators usually resist the potential interference from detectors, and the prostheses and the osteosynthesis material used to repair fractures are not usually detected. It is convenient to carry the manuals and to comply with the manufacturers' recommendations for pacemakers and implantable defibrillators.
However, in order to avoid problems with security agents, those using such devices or having them placed on their bodies should carry a brief summary of their medical history made by the treating physician, as well as the supplementary studies proving their situation (e.g., radiographies in case of prosthesis, plates, metal nails or screws).
The relative humidity of the cabin of commercial aircraft is of around 15%, which is much lower than that at sea level. Therefore, for those passengers wearing contact lenses, the application of some moisturizing eye drops prescribed by their ophthalmologists will be very useful.
For dehydration derived from the cabin dry air, drinking lots of fluids and avoiding alcohol is very useful.
Swallowing or yawning frequently during descent, as well as taking decongestants before or during the flight when a person has a cold, may avoid or alleviate disorders.
Children are particularly susceptible to media barotitis; they should chew gum, suck a solid candy or drink during the aircraft ascent and descent. Babies may be breastfed, bottle fed or given a pacifier.
There are specialized Travel Medicine Clinics where the health risks when visiting certain countries may be consulted.
In some countries, many health care insurance plans are void, and hospitals often require a significant outlay of cash, regardless of the health insurance the person has in its country. It is possible to hire several travel insurance plans, including some which cover emergency evacuations, both through travel agencies or credit cards. The consulate of the country of origin may provide guidance for, collaborate with, contribute to and ensure the provision of emergency health care.
While Aerolíneas Argentinas/Austral makes its best efforts and reasonable adjustments for the transport of people with illnesses, some people with acute, recent, critical or decompensation cases may find it necessary to postpone the flight date or resort to a medical transport service in air ambulance.
The transport of critically ill patients must always be done by appropriate means. Patients with severe hypoxia, hemodynamic instability or intracranial hypertension must be carefully assessed and treated for stabilization in advance.
The Medical Transport is usually categorized into:
Primary air transport
It is that made from the site of the emergency to a medical facility. The air transport uses the strategic principles of pre-hospital medicine.
Secondary air transport
It is the transport made from a hospital to another. The receiving hospital is generally of a higher level, and the diagnosis and/or definitive treatment may be performed there.
The transport equipment require a degree of readiness related to the difficulties of the air means, proportional to the instability situation of the patient, its possible complications during the flight and the expected time for transfer to the destination hospital.