The inconvenience of flying is enough to keep some people with pre-existing medical conditions permanently grounded. Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is introducing two new services in an effort to reach those potential passengers. As Condé Nast Traveler reports, the airline now offers evaluations prior to trips and in-flight nurses that will pick up guests at their homes and accompany them to their destinations.
The new medical services are the first of their kind from an airline, according to Etihad. Many people with pre-existing illnesses, injuries, and chronic conditions need to check with a health professional before making travel plans to see if they're fit to fly. And even when they do get their doctor's blessing, an airline still has the right to kick them off the plane if the crew suspects their health issues will complicate the flight.
Etihad Airways promises a much less anxiety-inducing experience. Passengers are cleared for flight by a visit from an Etihad staff doctor in their homes long before their departure date. And when it's time to drive to the airport and get through security (which is stressful enough without a pre-existing condition), they'll have assistance. Perhaps most importantly, they'll continue to have that medical resource in the air, when it could take hours to land and reach a hospital in the event of an emergency.
The services are only available to passengers flying from United Arab Emirates, and they cost upwards of $408. Passengers can apply for the special treatment by downloading Etihad's Medical Information for Fitness to Travel or Special Assistance forms and submitting them through email.
[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]