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Airline Travel Remans the Safest Form of Travel in the World

by Lux Joseph 17. August 2014

The Ebola virus outbreak, the political unrest in Israel, and the storms surfacing around Hawaii in the past several weeks may have travelers questioning the safety of air travel during this time. While there may have been different passenger plane crashes and other critical situations surround air travel, airline travel still is the safest form of travel in the world.

At Commercial Medical Escorts we primarily transport patients around the world on a commercial airline however, we also have completed a variety of medical evacuations by train, ground transportation (limo and ambulance), and even by boat. When travelers read the newspaper or watch the news and listen to air-related travel situations their views of air travel sometimes change. There were three (3) passenger planes that have crashed in July, but when you look at each of these crashes they are were the result of different circumstances. One was due to typhoon on Taiwan, one was shot done over Ukraine, and another one was due to stormy weather. When we look at travel by car on a daily basis, the crash investigations throughout the country vary and the rate is significantly higher than traveling by air.

Some individuals will hold onto their belief that flying is dangerous, but there are safety facts and statistics that will prove that belief is not 100% accurate.  Dr. Arnold Barnett, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a researcher that has studied the field of commercial flight safety. He found that over the fifteen years between 1975 and 1994, the death risk per flight was one in seven million. This statistic is the probability that someone who randomly selected one of the airline's flights over the 19-year study period would be killed in route. That means that any time you board a flight on a major carrier in this country, your chance of being in a fatal accident is one in seven million. It doesn't matter whether you fly once every three years or every day of the year.

When an individual gets into a car to go to work every day there are safety guidelines that the operator is supposed to do including checking the air pressure in the tires, check the fuel and fluid levels, check your lights and signals to ensure they are functional, and make sure emergency equipment is functional. Do you do this? How many drivers to you think actually do this every day? Individuals fear the possibility of a plane crashing, but the flying public may not understand how precisely-engineered each piece of critical avionics must be in order to satisfy FAA regulations for a "safety of life" application and the rigorous process each plane goes through prior to leaving the gate. Aviation and national security expert Carl Rochelle states, “The most dangerous part of your airline flight is the trip to the airport.”

Safety is our top priority at Commercial Medical Escorts and to ensure you are safe while traveling alone we recommend the following safety tips:

Fly on Nonstop Routings

Most airliner accidents happen during the takeoff, climb, descent, and landing phase of flight, so the easiest way to reduce your chance of getting in an accident is to take fewer flights. If you have a choice, and there isn't much difference in price, flying nonstop would not only reduce exposure to the most accident prone phases of flight, but it will probably take quite a bit of time off your trip too.

Choose Larger Aircraft

Currently, aircraft with more than 30 passenger seats were all designed and certified under the strictest regulations. Also, in the unlikely event of a serious accident, larger aircraft provide a better opportunity for passenger survival. If you review AirSafe.com's list of fatal airline passenger events by aircraft model, you'll see that larger aircraft models tend to have better survival statistics.

Pay Attention to the Preflight Briefing

Although the information seems repetitious, the locations of the closest emergency exits may be different depending on the aircraft that you fly on and seat you are in. Some passenger safety briefings include a few words about the position to take in an emergency landing, and AiSafe.com has put together a video below that goes into much greater detail, showing six common crash positions.

Keep the Overhead Storage Bin Free of Heavy Articles

Overhead storage bins may not be able to hold very heavy objects during turbulence, so if you or another passenger have trouble lifting an article into the bin, have it stored elsewhere. A heavy bag falling out of an overhead bin can cause a serious injury, so if one is above your head, try to move the bag or change your seat.

Keep Your Seat Belt Fastened While You are Seated

Keeping the belt on when you are seated provides that extra protection you might need to help you avoid injuries from flight turbulence.

Listen to the Flight Attendants

The primary reason flight attendants are on an aircraft is for safety, so if one of them asks you to do something like fasten your seat belts, do it first and ask questions later. You can also take other steps to improve your safety and comfort in the cabin like wearing comfortable clothes. You should also get up a walk around on longer flights to help avoid problems like deep vein thrombosis.

Don't Bring Any Hazardous Material

There are rather long lists of hazardous materials that are not allowed, but common sense should tell you that you shouldn't bring gasoline, corrosives, poisonous gases, and other such items on the aircraft unless they were allowed by the airline and shipped in a proper container. While the list of banned materials is too long to remember, you should take the time to find out about the most common prohibited and hazardous items you should not bring on board.

Let the Flight Attendant Pour Your Hot Drinks

Flight attendants are trained to handle hot drinks like coffee or tea in a crowded aisle on a moving aircraft, so allow them to pour the drink and hand it too you.

Don't Drink Too Much

The atmosphere in an airliner cabin is pressurized to about the same altitude as Denver, so any alcohol you consume will affect you more strongly than at sea level. Moderation is a good policy at any altitude, and in the air limiting your drinking is a good way to reduce the chance of an air rage incident involving you or someone else. Also, you may want to find out more about the long-term effects of alcohol abuse.

Remain Calm

In the unlikely event that you are involved in an emergency situation such as a precautionary emergency evacuation, follow the directions of the flight attendants and flight crew and exit the aircraft as quickly as possible. 

Tips courtesy of AirSafe.com

Traveling with Kids Made Simple

by Lux Joseph 30. July 2014

Trying to get that last minute family vacation in before kids return to school? Family vacations can create long-lasting memories and fun learning experiences for parents and children alike. But traveling with children can sometimes be a test of preparedness- and of patience. We have created a list of suggestions to help make the sometimes daunting task of preparing for a trip with the kids manageable and fun for the entire family.

We suggest the following tips when traveling with children:

BEFORE LEAVING:  

Build excitement. Start a countdown calendar with perhaps a photo or illustration of the destination. Let kids pack their own bags. Decide what type of clothing (preferably loose and comfortable), but allow them to choose their favorites and to pack a special toy. In a carry-on bag, pack some hard candies and gum, hand wipes, tissues, books, paper, markers in a small, tightly sealed plastic bag and perhaps a surprise toy for each child.

Protect yourself. Update immunizations for the entire family. If traveling abroad, check with public health authorities for advisable additional vaccines.

TRAVELING BY AIR 

At the airport:

Allow for extra time. Give yourself plenty of time to check-in and in between connecting flights. Be sure to have a safety plan in case anyone gets separated at the airport. Discuss where to meet and what to do.

Make a flight plan. Review screening procedures with children before entering security checkpoints so they will not be frightened by the process. Also, all child-related equipment must go through the X-ray machine. To speed the process along, remove children from their strollers/infant carriers and collapse/fold the equipment so it may be examined or put through the machine.

On the flight:

Take a seat. Bring a child/infant seat on board that meets current safety standards and is not more than 16 inches wide. The Federal Aviation Administration recommends that children weighing less than 40 pounds be placed in child/infant seats.

Get assigned. Getting your seat assignment in advance can help ensure families are seated together. If a flight is full and you cannot obtain seat assignments in advance, advise the airline personnel at the airport. The airline may need to ask other passengers to change seats so children are not seated apart from parents.

Bring Entertainment. With new rules and regulations, an iPad or tablet no longer needs to be turned off for take off and landing as long as it is in airplane mode. Bringing one of these that is pre-loaded with movies, educational applications, and engaging activities will keep your children from getting board.

TRAVELING BY CAR 

Get comfy. Bring pillows and blankets. Stop frequently at rest stops to stretch and make use of restrooms. Play games and make sure the car is stocked with plenty of engaging toys and their favorite tapes or CDs. Most importantly, keep children involved in the vacation process. Save everything collected on vacation - brochures, napkins, ticket stubs - and have children paste them into a scrapbook.

Do your homework. Plan ahead with the rental company to make sure they offer car seats and installation. If not, you'll have to bring your own in addition to a collapsible stroller.

ONCE THERE 

Plan for down time. Have a daily schedule planned with some flexible, free time for the family.

Safety first. Bring outlet protectors and make a sweep of balconies and bathrooms for any potential dangers. Hide small objects, accessible medications and cleaners children could get their hands on. Familiarize yourself with the hotel's fire and emergency evacuation routes and procedures.

Fees, Fees, and More Fees

by Lux Joseph 11. July 2014

Fees for bags, fees for the lounge, and fees for in-flight beverages…the list goes on. Years ago a traveler would purchase a ticket and the sale would be complete. In today’s travel world, the sale is far from complete once you have your airline ticket. Furthermore, some recent announcements show that fees are not going anywhere. For most businesses, once fees are implemented that rarely if never go away. As a traveler, it is important to know the fees that you pay and what they are going to.

The bi-partisan budget agreement in 2013 is what is going to be affecting the restructuring of the passenger fee from TSA. Currently the fees that are in place are $2.50 per leg on a connecting flight with a one way cap of $5.00 and a roundtrip cap of $10.00. These fees will now be a flat fee of $5.60 per one way travel and $11.20 for round trip. These fees go to support t a variety of aviation security expenses.

While the aviation security fees increase may seem practical and necessary to ensure the safety of travel, those fees are not the only ones being introduced around the world. Venezuela’s largest international airport recently imposed a “breathing tax”. Maiquetia International Airport in Caracas recently installed a new air purification system and for those passengers departing out of CCS, they will have to pay a 127 bolivar per-person tax to cover this new piece of equipment. Essentially they have to pay to breathe clean air as this new system will serve to protect the health of travelers and eliminate bacterial growth. While this is beneficial to the travelers, should this expense be passed on to the travelers? Or should this be an overhead cost that the airport absorbs the expense?

Depending on the industry or arena of work, fees are applicable for different situations. Travel agents, including our in-house travel, have a fee for their services. We pay the travel agent for their expertise, knowledge, experience, and guidance. For Commercial Medical Escorts, the cost savings from using our travel agent far exceeds the fees paid. For a long time, American Express Platinum card holders were able to access the Delta Sky Lounge including one guest complimentary. However, as of recently American Express Platinum card holders have to pay a fee of $29.00 for their guest. Complimentary Sky Lounge access for members and their guests was once a benefit of being an American Express Platinum Card Holder, but now it is now another revenue opportunity for the credit card company.

When fees are implemented in any industry, it is important that the consumers see where their money is going and that it has a positive effect. Unfortunately most programs around the world that have new fees imposed are unable to effectively explain or show the benefit to the consumer whom is paying the fees. As you continue to travel, it is important to check with your airline of travel to ensure you are up to date with the most recent fees you can be expected to pay. A great resource for this information is:   http://i.slimg.com/sc/sl/graphic/u/ul/ultimate-guide-to-airline-fees_050114.pdf


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