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Old Mar 23, 05, 11:06 am   #1
 
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AA835 MIA/DFW diverted due to medical emergency

Last night I was on AA835, which left about 30 minutes late by the way (no surprise, welcome to MIA) and not long after the meal service was completed the FA in first made an announcement that there was a medical emergency and asked if there were any doctors on board. Apparently, a woman in economy was having problems. Again, the announcement....then the somewhat frantic search for all the medical supplies on board, i.e. oxygen, first aid kits, etc.

This went on for about 30 minutes then the pilot announces that due to a medical emergency we would be landing in Shreveport to allow medical personnel onboard and to remove the pax with the issue. So, we land amongst a sea of flashing lights and emergency vehicles. Once they get the stairs up to the plane, no exaggeration, 14 firemen and paramedics boarded the plane. It was quite comical when we watched out the window and saw two firemen actually carrying a ladder. The FA wouldnt tell us anything in F and since the pax was so far back we couldnt really tell what was going on. However two of the firemen and one of the pilots had a conversation right next to the front lav in economy (I was in 6E so they were basically right beside me) and long story short, they were pi*sed that she was refusing to deboard the plane. The pilot said he did not put her (the plane) down in Shreveport for nothing and the lady was going to the hospital whether she wanted to or not.

After about 30 more minutes, the lady walks off the plane with all the med personnel. Okay, so the pilot then announces we have to top off the tanks and we will be on our way. By now it is about 11:30pm. They can't find the gas truck and by time we finally get fueled, take off and make it to DFW it is almost 1:00a.

Fine, but then......we wait about 20 minutes for our bags and they begin sending them on two separate carousels!!! People travelling alone were forced to run back and forth between belts to look for their luggage and to top off a wonderful evening, no taxi's at that time of night. Got home around 2:00a.

My question is, does this warrant a complaint letter in hopes of a CS mileage bonus or should I wait and see if AA takes it upon themselves to do this unsolicited? What is the general policy when it comes to medical diversions? It appears that since this lady was able to walk off the plane on her own, that staying in the air an additional 30 minutes to make it to DFW was not out of the question. Thoughts?
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Old Mar 23, 05, 11:15 am   #2
 
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Sounds like one of those situations where AA was forced to err on the side of caution due to liability concerns.

I assume AA subscribes to one of those services where the pilot can call a doctor on the radio and get advice as to treatment and whether to make an unscheduled landing?
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Old Mar 23, 05, 11:21 am   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kunphuzn


My question is, does this warrant a complaint letter in hopes of a CS mileage bonus or should I wait and see if AA takes it upon themselves to do this unsolicited?
No, and yes respectively, although I don't know why you think AA should in this case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kunphuzn
What is the general policy when it comes to medical diversions?
Looks like it is to err on the side of caution, which is what I'd want them to do were it me, my parents, or a total stranger.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kunphuzn
It appears that since this lady was able to walk off the plane on her own, that staying in the air an additional 30 minutes to make it to DFW was not out of the question. Thoughts?
Look, something instigated this series of events....for all you know the lady was writhing in pain, or who-knows-what....it was serious enough for the crew to determine that she needed medical help (and perhaps the pax indicated so herself), call for a doctor on the plane, etc.

In any event, the crewmembers are not medical personnel. What if they had determined she could wait it out another 30 mins and then she died, went into a coma, whatever?

They'd be getting it from the other side for being more concerned with their operations/schedule than an ill passenger (it happened on CO).

This is but a small bump in the flight of life, and miniscule compared to other delays that could have been much, much longer out of MIA for various other reasons.
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Old Mar 23, 05, 12:09 pm   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kunphuzn
Fine, but then......we wait about 20 minutes for our bags and they begin sending them on two separate carousels!!! People travelling alone were forced to run back and forth between belts to look for their luggage and to top off a wonderful evening, no taxi's at that time of night. Got home around 2:00a.
When will people learn to never check bags into MIA !!!!
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Old Mar 23, 05, 12:10 pm   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kunphuzn
My question is, does this warrant a complaint letter in hopes of a CS mileage bonus or should I wait and see if AA takes it upon themselves to do this unsolicited? What is the general policy when it comes to medical diversions? It appears that since this lady was able to walk off the plane on her own, that staying in the air an additional 30 minutes to make it to DFW was not out of the question. Thoughts?
Are you kidding? What has it come to when people start thinking they should get some compensation because an airline landed to get proper medical attention for an ill passenger. The Pilot you heard was absolutely right, airlines don't divert for medical reasons for nothing - it had to be something serious for that to happen. If it were you I would hope that they would do the same thing.
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Old Mar 23, 05, 1:06 pm   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kunphuzn
...It appears that since this lady was able to walk off the plane on her own, that staying in the air an additional 30 minutes to make it to DFW was not out of the question. Thoughts?
The cost (in pure $$) to the airline for doing such an unscheduled landing is tremendous (not to mention the obvious liability implications)-- you seem to imply they do it just for kicks. Write them and demand your nuisance miles-- but let the professionals make the medical decisions please.

Last edited by JonNYC; Mar 23, 05 at 1:09 pm.
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Old Mar 23, 05, 1:08 pm   #7
 
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If AA gives you something take it, but I would not ask.
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Old Mar 23, 05, 1:39 pm   #8
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I'd demand compensation from the offloaded passenger.

"How DARE you have a medical emergency on MY flight! Next time, you better just suck it up and have your emergency when we land, preferrably after I have deplaned!"
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Old Mar 23, 05, 1:44 pm   #9
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Originally Posted by Spiff
I'd demand compensation from the offloaded passenger.

"How DARE you have a medical emergency on MY flight! Next time, you better just suck it up and have your emergency when we land, preferrably after I have deplaned!"
Don't forget to dismissively add a "Good-day, Sir!!" to the end of that sentence. Always a nice touch.
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Old Mar 23, 05, 2:06 pm   #10
 
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Honestly, I can't believe that we are actually discussing this! If you had a bona fide medical emergency and your flight had to make a unscheduled landing, would you feel right if other passengers asked for compensation? This is ridiculous and, honestly, this thread should be closed. I can't imagine why the OP would want to exploit an emergency situation (which was at tremendous cost to AA -- fuel cost, crew cost, airport landing fees, etc.).
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Old Mar 23, 05, 2:12 pm   #11
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Exclamation Compensation for someone else's medical misery?

Medical emergencies happen. Cabin personnel are trained in first aid, can administer oxygen and use Automated External Defibrillators - and they are all kept in clearly-marked compartments, nobody scrambles around looking for them, as the crew are all cognizant of where they are. But they are not paramdics, and can not diagnose - decisions for medical emergency landings are made in consultation with appropriate ground personnel, for serious reasons. When they occur, the flight and its schedule (gate assignment, carousels, times, meals, etc.) become disrupted and it costs the airline considerable money (landing fees, extra fuel, crew time, aircraft diverted from its originally scheduled service, etc.)

To put it mildly, you were not the only one inconvenienced. And if you or yours had a heart attack or the like you would probably prefer an emergency landing and intervention from properly trained personnel, I suspect. (Often, people in that situation get embarrassed and try to refuse treatment once on the ground 0r the paramedics arrive - what would you do if you were the Captain? Risk a passenger death and a huge suit?) (I'm slightly aware of this due to my own training as an emergency first responder and rescue diver - people are prone to severe cases of embarrassment and "buyer's remorse" at these times.)

Request compensation? If you wish... it's certainly within your rights. But last time that happened on an aircraft I was on (SJU - DFW, emergency for a heart attack at MIA - I chose that flight precisely because I like to avoid MIA, ironically!) I missed my connection at DFW - I wrote the airline and commended them on the rapid action and professional skills demonstrated by the cabin personnel.
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Old Mar 23, 05, 3:12 pm   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kunphuzn
Once they get the stairs up to the plane, no exaggeration, 14 firemen and paramedics boarded the plane. It was quite comical when we watched out the window and saw two firemen actually carrying a ladder.
I'm guessing this was the most excitement the Shreveport FD has had in quite a while.


Quote:
Originally Posted by formeraa
This is ridiculous and, honestly, this thread should be closed.
If we closed a thread every time something ridiculous were proposed, CharlesMD would never be able to post.
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Old Mar 23, 05, 3:21 pm   #13
 
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I agree with the others.....why would you think AA should provide compensation for this? It's is certainly not an event within their control, much like the weather...would you ask for compensation if a flight is delayed due to snow, etc?

On a side note, my MIA->BOS flight last Sunday had a medical emergeny as well. Before we landed, Captain came on and asked everyone to remain seated until paramedics got on and took sick passenger off. We landed and seemed to me pilot really "flew" to the gate. I was in 1H, so I heard the purser tell the paramedics that the passenger was in the back lav. Would FAA regs allow a sick passenger to stay in the lav during landing?
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Old Mar 23, 05, 3:58 pm   #14
 
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Well I agree with the AActions of AA. They have to err on the side of caution. I do feel though that she ought to pay the cost that AA incurred as a result of her symptoms. Everytime you get in an ambulance or have to take an air ambulance so there is no reason why she shouldn't incur the airlines costs as well for the diversion.
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Old Mar 23, 05, 4:05 pm   #15
 
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Airlines often refuse to give volunteering doctors even a few FF miles or a voucher so it would be unfair if complaining passengers got something but the doctor nothing.

People who don't have medical training wouldn't be expected to know much about medicine so a diversion is reasonable. The fact that it was toward the end of the day probably meant fewer missed connections and missed meetings.

For goodwill, AA should give passengers a bone and give out a few FF miles.
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