Medical information

Medical assistance

Doctors on Board

The Austrian Airlines Group is to join the ‘Arzt an Bord’ (Doctor on Board) programme of the Lufthansa Group. Under the programme, doctors can have themselves registered immediately. After the first flight registered doctors receive 5,000 award miles along with a pocket book of in˗flight medicine. Extension of the programme means a fundamental benefit for Austrian Airlines: the pool of flying doctors is being expanded throughout the Lufthansa Group. The doctor benefits from award miles.

The names of registered doctors are stored in a Miles & More database, together with their specialisation. This allows flight attendants to approach the doctor in the event of an emergency and request their help. Doctors also have liability insurance against claims for compensation.

Austrian Airlines is working on a transition to the new programme of the Lufthansa Group. Doctors can already register here for the programme.

What medical equipment is carried on board?

Standard European recommendations exist for the medical equipment which should be carried on board aircraft:

Emergency medical kit: a type of large doctor’s case
First aid kit: contains first aid equipment
On-board chemist (additional with some airlines): contains a number of different types of medication useful for everyday use.

Medical clearance

Medical Clarification und Airworthiness

General information

We ask that passengers recovering from

  • operations
  • serious illnesses/medical conditions
  • hospital stays

 

seek medical advice before boarding a flight. In case of doubt, please write to the Special Cases Desk on:

Fax no.: +43 (0)5-1766-51043 or
E-mail: specialcases@austrian.com  


Airworthiness with flight clearance


When do I require flight clearance from the medical service of Austrian Airlines?

  • After serious operations
  • In the first few weeks after a serious disease has appeared
  • For passengers being transported on board in a lying position
  • For passengers who require additional oxygen or other medical devices on board
  • If passengers are travelling in order to undergo medical treatment

 

If you fall into one of these categories, please be sure to write to our Special Cases Desk at specialcases@austrian.com or send us a fax on +43 (0) 5-1766-51043.

The medical information form - MEDIF - is the basis for your flight clearance, it is to be completed by the doctor responsible for your treatment.  

Let us know which assistance you require - the Special Assistance Form may be useful for this purpose.

When do we have to refuse to transport a sick person by air?

  • If it is reasonable to expect medical complications to arise for a diseased person during the flight due to their poor general state of health.
  • If the passenger would require medical attention, and this is not possible.
  • If the doctor treating the condition refuses to provide information of any kind about the disease.
  • If there is a possibility of infectious diseases being transmitted to other passengers.

 

The following do not require medical clearance:

  • Guests with a disability that has been unchanged since birth or for an extended period of time.
  • Guests assigned a wheelchair due to damage to the skeletal and musculoskeletal system (inflammatory or degenerative) suffered as a result of disease (e.g. MS, brittle-bone disease). For further details, see Disabled Access to flights.
  • Guests with mild forms of chronic obstructive bronchitis and asthma, which
    - do not cause seizures, and
    - are being successfully treated with the patient’s own medication,
    and when the doctor responsible for treatment of the condition does not feel it is necessary for you to receive oxygen during the flight,
  • Guests who have had a heart attack several weeks previously without any additional complications, provided that the cardiologist responsible for treatment of the condition has no concerns.

 

FREMEC - for Frequent Flyers with disabilities

You do a lot of travelling by air? Then the issuance of a FREMEC (Frequent Traveller's Medical Card) might simplify your journey.

How?

  • All your assistance requirements are recorded on the card, which replaces the need for the completion of the mecial information forms (MEDIF and Special Assistance Form) which are otherwise necessary for every flight.
  • Your individual care package will be aligned with the assistance requirements on the FREMEC. Therefore it is important that you contact our Special Cases Desk whenever you book a flight. 

  

The card will be valid for at least 1 year - depending on your physical and medical condition.

If you wish to make use of the advantages of  this FREMEC, please contact specialcases@austrian.com.   

Flying when pregnant

Up to how many weeks before giving birth is it allowed to fly?

Austrian Airlines accept pregnant women who are more than four weeks from their expected due date, as birth in Central Europe occurs too early in 6 or 7 % of the cases, around the 38th pregnancy week.

Each risk pregnancy means an absolute no for flying!

A pregnant woman should consult her gynecologist or treating doctor prior to every flight during the pregnancy as there could be a higher risk of the development of a deep vein thrombosis.

At what age is it safe for a newborn baby to fly?

With healthy newborn babies it is possible to fly only 7 days after birth. However, the mother is advised to consult with treating doctor regarding increased thromboses risk after birth.

What is a baby basket?

A baby basket is a baby bed provided by the airlines on long-range flights to accomodate babies up to 6-8 months old. It is free of charge and should be reserved at booking as there are only a few special such seats available per flight


Thrombosis

Traveller´s Thrombosis

Medsafe, a business unit of New Zealand's Ministry of Health, also provides useful information and recommendations.

Definition of the Traveler's Thrombosis and Causing Factors

The Traveler's Thrombosis is a thrombosis that occurs in the deep venous system of the lower extremities (with or without pulmonary embolism complications) of a person, who did not show any signs of acute venous embolism at the time of departure, resulting from a prolonged seating during flights. The Traveler's Thrombosis is also known as "deep vein thrombosis" or DVT.

Causing Factors

The low mobility fostered by long-haul flights favors the developments of deep vein thrombosis in patients with existing risk factors. Causing factors in the development of thrombosis are:

pressure on the upper thighs, caused by prolonged sitting and low mobility in narrow seats and rows;

low air humidity on board can favor the formation of blood clots in cases where passenger may be lacking fluids.


Risk Categories

Category 1 - low risk

Every prolonged seating period during long-haul flights may present a low risk for passengers.

Category 2 - moderate risk

In addition to a prolonged flight duration,

Pregnancy or post-natal period

or at least two of the following factors:

  • be aged 60 years and over
  • clinically relevant heart diseases
  • presence of vascular diseases in the family / susceptibility to vein affections
  • large varicose veins, chronical venous insufficienc
  • ovulation suppressors (birth control pill)/ post-menopausal, hormone replacement therapy.
  • obesity (BMI>30)
  • exsiccosis

Category 3 - high risk

In addition to a prolonged flight duration,

  • venous thromboembolism antecedent
  • malignant tumors or other serious diseases of the sort
  • leg injuries requiring the immobilization of the limb
  • recovery from an operation involving a high risk of thrombosis

Counter-Measures for Each Category

Category 1 - low risk

General measures:

  • exercises - stretch legs and change position frequently (e.g. scissors and other isometric exercises/if possible, walk a few steps)
  • abundant intake of fluids (avoid excessive alcohol intake)
    moderate use of sedatives and hypnotic pills

Category 2 - moderate risk

In addition to the general measures (see category 1),

  • compression stockings (compression class I).
  • For passengers with venous insufficiency, it is advisable to wear the appropriate calf-length compression stockings.
  • in special cases, such as pregnancy, consider use of low molecular weight heparin
    (see category 3).

Categrory 3 - high risk

In addition to the general measures (see category 1) and compression stockings (see category 2), consider use of low molecular weight heparin as follows:

  • subcutaneous application right before departing
  • once daily for round trips
  • before each trip presenting a high risk of thrombosis (see risk categories)

Preventive Measures

Abundant intake of mineral water, still water, soft drinks, herbal tea are recommended. An additional 1 to 2 litres is advisable, depending on the flight duration! Avoid excessive intake of coffee, black tea, and alcohol as these drinks have a dehydrating effect.

Exercise on board - Exercises generally activate the muscle pump, which accelerates the flow of blood in the veins. Wear clothing that is loose and comfortable to avoid the restriction of the blood flow. Do isometric exercises. While sitting, carry out circling and jiggling leg exercises. From time to time, take exercises for the leg muscles, like tensing and relaxing the lower and upper thigh muscles. Massage legs.

Compression stocking of the category 1-2 are recommended, even in the case of a low risk for thrombosis. Most of the time, knee-socks are sufficient. Please consider that expert advise is absolutely necessary. Material of poor quality or bad fitting in the back of the knee together with folds are unsuitable! Depending on the medical condition, calf socks of different categories are recommendable.

Medication improving blood flow - Usually, low molecular heparin can be subcutaneously injected to the fat tissue of the abdominal wall or upper thigh. The passenger has to learn from the doctor how to self-inject and should also eb aware of the side effects and contra-indications.

Additionnal information is provided on all Austrian Airlines long-haul flight via a video tape featuring fitness tips and an accompanying announcement.


Vaccinations

Besides general recommendations, an individual travel medical consultation is advisable!

On its website, the World Health Organization (WHO) also provides comprehensive information about infectious diseases, vaccination certificate requirements, and on the malaria situation in the world.

The Traveler's Health section of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services, is also a reliable source containing very detailed, up-to-date facts and useful tips.

Click here to download our vaccinations table in .pdf format (143 KB).

Portable medical electronic devices

Portable medical electronic devices are dangerous articles which may be carried only under special transport conditions.

 

Acceptance of  Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POC) and CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) devices


Following portable oxygen concentrators have been tested and approved by the Austrian Airlines technical department. They may be used on board our  flights for medical reasons.
Non approved devices may be taken into the passenger cabin, but must not be used during the flight.  

 

 POC-Type  Manufacturer
 LifeStyle; FreeStyle; FreeStyle5;
 Focus (AS078)
 AirSEP Corporation
 Delphi RS-00400  Delphi Medical Systems
 iGo  De Vilbiss Healthcare
 Inogen One; Inogen One G2; Inogen One G3   Inogen, Inc.
 LifeChoice, LifeChoice Activox  Inova Labs, Inc.
 International Biophysics LifeChoice  Intern. Biophysics, Inc.
 Invacare XPO2; SOLO2  Invacare Corporation
 Oxlife Independence Oxygen Concentrator  Oxlife LLC
 Oxus RS-00400  Oxus
 Easy Pulse  Precision Medical
 Evergo; Simply Go  Respironics Inc.
 Eclipse; SAROS  Sequel Technologies

If you want to use  one of the portable oxygen contentrators listed above or your  CPAP device on board our flights, following conditions must be met:

  • a minimim 48 hours advance notification before departure to specialcases@austrian.com
    Please provide
    - name, flight and date or your reservation reference number
    - brand and exact type of the device
    -  which kind of batteries/rechargeable batteries are used
    -  your request: permanent or partial/standby use
  • passengers require medical clearance by the Austrian Airlines medical center
  • for flight safety reasons, your device must be switched off and stowed during flight phases in which the flight crew considers it essential (e.g. take off, landing)  
  • the outer package of the device must bear a manufacturer's label indicating the name of the device
  • In case of permanent use sufficient non-spillable battery power for 150 % of the maximum flight duration must be available (if the flight duration is 4 hours, you have to take battery power for 6 hours). 
    Mind that the device's connection to the aircraft electrical power is not possible as a constant electric supply  cannot be ensured!
  • batteries carried on board the aircraft in carry-on baggage must be protected from short circuit and from physcial damage
  • the transportation of the device must be in accordance with our hand baggage dimensions

 
Please contact specialcases@austrian.com for any further information.

Allergen labelling on food products

On 13 December 2014, the EU regulation 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers came into effect. The purpose of the new regulation is to ensure that consumers with food allergies or intolerance are informed about the use of allergenic ingredients in food products.

The new legislation also has an influence on the airline industry. The regulation requires that all airlines departing from EU countries including Norway and Switzerland must be able to provide clear information to passengers about the presence of possible allergens in the meals provided on board.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has prepared a list of 14 potentially allergenic substances

Austrian Airlines provides all required information on possible allergenic ingredients in food and beverages, served on board of our EU flights (including Switzerland and Norway). In case you have any food allergy or similar concerns, please talk to your doctor before travelling with us. Austrian Airlines will not take any responsibility for any allergic reaction you might have on one of our flights.