House Of Lords Report On Air Travel And Health

British Airways takes the health and well-being of its passengers and staff extremely seriously.


We welcome the House of Lords’ investigation into the health effects of travelling in commercial aircraft and have co-operated fully by providing evidence on a number of occasions to members of the Science and Technology Committee.


We are already very active in the provision of health information to our passengers, however we are keen to learn more about Deep Vein Thrombosis(DVT) and we are supporting an independent study looking at all aspects of transportation, including flying.


We also fully support the need to provide accurate health information and advice to passengers. For many years British Airways has provided expert medical advice to customers and health professionals and will continue to do so.


We are pro-active in providing passengers with information and practical health advice through our dedicated health website, our 24-hour medical helpline, and the well-being sections of our in-flight magazine.

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As part of their professional training, cabin crew are educated in health matters and now draw the attention of passengers to the well-being programme in the in-flight magazine.


We also have a well-being channel on the audio in-flight entertainment which talks passengers through in-flight exercises as well as referring them to the fit flyer section of the in-flight magazine.


In terms of the medical equipment carried on board our aircraft, British Airways leads the industry. The medical kits contain drugs and medical equipment far in excess of the minimum specification, and are recognised world-wide as the benchmark. All our aircraft are equipped with defibrillators and all crew are trained in their use. We also use the Medlink, telemedicine service.


British Airways is continually looking for ways to improve the information we provide to our customers. We are currently working on a leaflet which will provide our customers with information on health for insertion in the ticket wallet. We are also looking at providing GPs with information for display in surgeries and we are working on a video which will provide in-flight health advice.


We are keen to learn more about DVT, which is why we have supported an independent study at Newcastle University which is looking at all aspects of transportation, including flying. This has so far has confirmed that long periods of immobility can contribute to DVT.


The study carried out by Dr Patrick Kesteven looked into the association between Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and all aspects of transportation, including flying. Our Health Services Department is currently in discussion with several research organisations about how we can assist in advancing this research.


There is currently little evidence to show that Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is caused by the flight environment, it can occur following any long periods of immobility - for example, following a long journey by car or train.


In general DVT sufferers are found to have other risk factors - for example, previous blood clots, recent surgery or are taking hormone treatment. The data from Newcastle found that out of a total of 634 cases of venous thromboembolic disease, 26 cases were related to travel. Of these 26 cases, 16 were related to flying.


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