International travel and health

Medical assistance on board

Airlines are required to provide minimum levels of medical equipment on aircraft and to train all cabin crew in first aid. The equipment carried varies, with many airlines carrying more than the minimum level of equipment required by regulations. Equipment carried on a typical international flight would include:

  • one or more first-aid kits, to be used by the crew;
  • a medical kit, normally to be used by a doctor or other qualified person, to treat in-flight medical emergencies.

An automated external defibrillator (AED), to be used by the crew in case of cardiac arrest, is also carried by several airlines.

Cabin crew are trained in the use of first-aid equipment and in carrying out first-aid and resuscitation procedures. They are usually also trained to recognize a range of medical conditions that may cause emergencies on board and to act appropriately to manage these.

In addition, many airlines have facilities to enable crew to contact a medical expert at a ground-based response centre for advice on how to manage in-flight medical emergencies.