Incapacitated passenger

Passenger shall be considered as incapacitated when his physical, medical or mental condition requires special individual attention and assistance (on embarkation and disembarkation, during flight, in an emergency evacuation, during ground handling), which is normally not extended to other passengers. 

This expression includes: 

  • Patients (medical cases)
  • Injured persons
  • Disabled persons

The term “disabled person” designates any person whose mobility is reduced because of: 

  • an incapacity (sensory or motor)
  • a mental impairment
  • an illness
  • Or any other factor impeding air transport and whose situation requires special care or a specific service adapted to the passenger’s requirements.

Documents and escort may be required. 

Mentally handicapped passengers are accepted on board under certain conditions, related to their health and destination. 

Medical and escort may be required 

Incapacitated passengers shall be provided with Medical Information Sheet – MEDIF, issued by an authorized physician certifying that travel by air will not endanger their health condition when: 

  • Passenger is a patient (medical case) or Medical attention and/or special equipment are required during the flight.

Airlines will refuse to carry a passenger if: 

  • The disease suffered is believed to be contagious.
  • Nasal behavior could affect the comfort and welfare of other passengers and crew.
  • Unusual behaviors could be a potential hazard to the safety and punctuality of the flight.
  • A medical condition could be aggravated during the flight or because of the flight Oxygen.

This service is provided pending the agreement of the technical department of the Airlines. 

Escort 

The following categories of incapacitated passengers can be accepted for carriage if only accompanied by an escort taking care of them and rendering the required assistance: 

  • WCHC/R/S passengers
  • MEDA passengers who, according to the physician’s opinion, require assistance during their flight

Escort shall comply with the following conditions: 

  • He shall be at least 18 years old.
  • He shall be acquainted with the escorted passenger’s health condition.
  • He shall be able to administer first aid (doctor or nurse, if so proposed by the attending physician).
  • He shall be physically able to assist the passenger in the case of a forced landing or an emergency evacuation.
  • He shall be able to accompany the escorted person to and from the toilet and shall help the person in using it.
  • He shall be able to assist all alone the escorted person in all situations.
  • He shall be acquainted with emergency procedures.

If medical assistance is required during the flight, the escort shall be of the medical profession. 

Cabin crew is not authorized to give special assistance to passengers, to the detriment of their service to other passengers. They are trained only in first aid and are not permitted to administer any injection, or to give medication. 

 

 AIR IMP (Interline Message Procedures) codes 

AIR IMP codes used in airline messages to identify incapacitated passengers are: 

MEDA       

medical case, escort required if so decided by the attending physician

SCTR   

stretcher passenger, escort required

WCHR

passenger with partially limited mobility requires a wheelchair for distance to/from aircraft

WCHS 

passenger with very limited mobility requires a wheelchair for distance to/from  aircraft and must be carried up/down steps but can make own way to/from cabin seat

WCHC   

completely immobile passenger

BLND

blind passenger 

DEAF

deaf passenger 

LEGL

passenger with the left leg in a cast 

LEGR

passenger with the right leg in a cast 

LEGB

passenger with both legs in cast 

OXYG

passengers need oxygen during the flight

WCMP

wheelchair (manual power) transported by a passenger

WCBD

             

wheelchair (dry cell battery) transported by a passenger, advanced notification and preparation required

WCBW

             

wheelchair (wet cell battery) transported by a passenger, advanced notification and preparation required

WCOB          

Wheelchair (onboard) provided by airline*.   *not available on some Airlines’ flight.

 

 

SP (Special Assistance) assistance required due to incapacitated to be optionally altered after the passenger’s name on the ticket 

Limitation in number

The total number of immobile passengers (WCHC/R/S) must not exceed the number of all floor level emergency exits through which they can be evacuated in arms.

WCHC- Wheelchair – C for cabin seat 

Reservation 48 hours before departure is mandatory. 

WCHC passengers may travel alone if they can perform the 4 following safety actions:

  • Fasten and unfasten his/her belt alone,
  • Use the oxygen mask alone and,
  • On long-haul flights, eat meals and
  • Use the toilets without assistance.

An attendant may be required when medical clearance is necessary.

When a service animal is accompanying passengers, it will be accepted in the cabin at no charge, included in the PETC quota and booked accordingly.  

Notify the airlines of a personal wheelchair when making the reservation by specifying the type of wheelchair (WCBD, WCBW, and WCMP) dimensions and weight. 

WCHR- Wheelchair – R for the ramp 

Passenger can ascend/descend steps and can make his/her way to/from cabin seat but requires a wheelchair for distance to/from the aircraft. 

When a service animal is accompanying passengers, it will be accepted in the cabin at no charge, included in the PETC quota and booked accordingly.  

Transportation of personal wheelchair in the hold, up to a maximum of 2, is free-of-charge. Notify the airlines of a personal wheelchair when making the reservation.

WCHS- Wheelchair – S for step 

Passenger cannot ascend/descend steps but can make own way to/from cabin seat and must be carried up/down steps.  

When a service animal is accompanying passengers, it will be accepted in the cabin at no charge, included in the PETC quota and booked accordingly.  

Transportation of personal wheelchair in the hold, up to a maximum of 2, is free-of-charge. Notify the airlines of a personal wheelchair when making the reservation 

The total number of incapacitated passengers shall not exceed the number of emergency exits. When a flight over the sea is involved, the aircraft shall be equipped with a sufficient number of boats (for all the passengers and crew). Each incapacitated passenger is calculated to double.

Before starting travel, the incapacitated passenger shall sign the MEDIF – Passengers declaration to release the carrier from any liability for the consequences which carriage by air may have for their state of heal.

Seating and Boarding 

Whenever applicable safety regulations and/or medical conditions require the incapacitated passenger to be seated in a particular cabin section, such regulations and /or conditions take priority over the personal wishes of the passenger. 

As a general rule, an incapacitated passenger is seated in a manner not to impede: 

  • The expeditious evacuation of the cabin in an emergency
  • Access to the emergency exits
  • Boarding and disembarkation and comfort of other passengers

Preferably passengers should be seated near the toilets and floor-level exits provided with slides. 

Escort shall be given seat immediately adjacent to the passenger they are escorting.  Incapacitated passengers and their escort shall normally be boarded before the other passengers and disembarked after them. 

If a certain number of passengers for any reason have to be offloaded, the highest possible priority for transportation should be given to incapacitated passengers and their escort. 

Blind /Deaf and visually impaired passengers 

Visually impaired passengers are accepted onboard without prior agreements unless they are accompanied by a guide dog. The blind shall normally be accepted on flights (in such a case, neither escort nor medical clearance is required).   

Hard-of-hearing passengers are accepted onboard without prior agreement unless they are accompanied by a support dog. 

The transport conditions for the dog are identical to those for the guide dogs of visually impaired passengers Seat allocation: Not allowed by the exit.

Seeing Eye/Hearing ear dog 

  • The carriage of the dog shall normally take place in the hold of an aircraft. If the dog distributes no other passengers, the carriage will also be accepted in the passenger cabin, on the floor, near the passenger. When the flight is not full, a window seat is booked for the guide dog. If the flight is full, a window seat is assigned to the blind person and the dog sits at his feet. 
  • A guide dog certificate is requested. 
  • In the case of carriage in the passenger cabin, there is no need for a container. The dog must be muzzled. 
  • No charge for dog guiding blind or deaf passenger applies. 
  • Passenger and aircraft handling departments have to be informed.