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Lufthansa Premium Economy Introduced in 2014

by Lux Joseph 27. September 2013

When selecting the appropriate airline to transport a patient back home there are several factors to consider. We always want to look for the most direct route available and the class of service that will be suitable for transferring the patient. Typically all patients are transferred in first class or business class due to the nature of their injury or disability, but there may be situations in which the treating physician does not feel that upgraded seating is necessary for transport. In these situations premium economy may be a better fit as the seats offer additional room for the nurse or physician to assist the patient compared to the standard economy. Premium economy cabins are fairly new to the travel industry and not all airlines have introduced this product on their flights. Therefore, when a medical escort is requested for this class of service we are often limited to what airlines we can choose. However, the recent breaking news from Lufthansa shows a positive result in the near future.

Lufthansa is one of the airlines that Commercial Medical Escorts (CME) uses very frequently when moving patients to/from Europe. Their dedicated medical desk is open daily to assist us with travelers that require medical clearance. This is very convenient and provides tremendous support to our operations and medical team. Lufthansa currently only offers three classes of service on its A380 aircraft; economy, business, and first class. Lufthansa recently ordered 3,000 seats from ZIM Flugsitz GmbH and has intentions to upgrade approximately 10% of their economy class seats to premium economy in 2014. The premium economy product will offer additional seat pitch, additional benefits for the passengers in flight and on the ground, and the seats will be wider. Other airlines that offer a premium economy product offer similar services with extra leg room, priority boarding, complimentary alcohol beverages, and other perks for the traveler.

Lufthansa is making efforts to attract more travelers. As you may have read from previous blog postings, many of the airlines are attempting different marketing strategies to acquire more business. Lufthansa may be the second largest airline in Europe, but they are still behind in terms of offering particular products. British Airways introduced premium economy in 2000, over ten years ago. Lufthansa claims to offer the largest number of business and first class seats in the industry, but even when you look at their business class product it is still behind their competitors. Many of the airlines offer full lie-flat bed in their business class as well, but it wasn’t until now that Lufthansa is looking into that product.

Implementing and designing a new product or service can take a long time. You don’t want to create a product/service that is the same. You want to ensure that your product stands out amongst your competitors and drive business away from them. Lufthansa’s premium economy will offer extra luxury and comfort for those travelers who wish to pay for it. This will be a new product that CME will definitely look into in addition to the lie flat bed. Currently if we have a patient that requires to be lying flat throughout the duration of the flight we have to look into airlines other than Lufthansa. The debut of this new product will add additional flexibility as we determine the best flight to bring our patients safely to their destination.

Delta adds a Premium Service to Los Angeles Airport

by Lux Joseph 20. September 2013

Each and every day individuals are travelling to different destinations around the world. Some of these people are flying for the first time while others are seasoned travelers. As the economy has shifted airlines are trying different means to attract the traveler. When you visit your travel agent or go online to find a flight, there are several choices to choose from. Differences among the airlines include cost, connecting time, nonstop flights, total travel time, complimentary checked baggage, and even extra amenities. But what makes you choose Delta over United, American, US Airways or AirTran? Could it possibly be because Delta is offering a Porsche service to bring you to your connecting flight?

You are not imagining this at all. The next time you land or take off from Los Angeles International Airport take the opportunity to check out what is going on down on the tarmac. One of Delta’s special programs is available to some of Delta’s highest paying customers. Each day Delta chooses a select number of passengers to pick up on the tarmac upon arrival in a Cayenne or Panamera and escort them to their connecting flight. This service is extremely useful for those passengers making tight connections in LAX. It may appear as an added value for some of the elite travelers, but it is also a business venture between Delta and Porsche. This program allows Porsche to attract potential buyers by allowing them to experience the ride. For Delta, it presents a pleasant surprise to the travelers and adds that special touch of feeling like they belong.

In every industry it is important to set yourself apart from your competitors. United has a similar program available to their elite travelers in Houston. It is important to distinguish yourself as a company. With today’s economy, price drives a lot of business, but we also believe that a high quality service or product with top notch customer service is critical to the success of an operation. Los Angeles International Airport is not the first airport to offer this service for Delta. This service is also available at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. Delta wants to be a major player in Los Angeles and the way for that to happen is to show that their product is not necessarily different, but the “one” to choose over another carrier. CME has had the opportunity to experience Delta’s new business elite service when transporting a patient from JFK to LAX. The lie flat seats offer a substantial cost savings to those patients that may have needed transportation via air ambulance due to the need to lie flat. Although none of the domestic based airlines over stretcher service, the routings that they are now beginning to add lie-flat seats are providing great alternatives when bringing patients home.

Traveling can be exhausting for even for the frequent traveler, but as airlines continue to add premium services, traveling becomes easier.  Many airlines around the world offer a complimentary door-to-door transfer for those passengers traveling in premium class. When Delta offers the Porsche service for their elite travelers, they are enhancing the ground experience. Any way a company is able to enhance their product or service will make them distinguishable amongst their competitors. As CME continues to grow and we receive feedback from our clients and patients, we are always looking at ways to provide only the highest quality of premium care and service.

A Honeymoon Vacation Case Study

by Lux Joseph 13. September 2013

Each case that CME is presented with is unique and original. There are no two cases that are similar or alike. With that in mind, CME treats each case individually and responds appropriately depending on the needs of the patient. Below is an example of a situation in which CME was presented and had to act accordingly to safely bring the patient(s) back home.

When you pictured your perfect honeymoon did it involve images of being struck by a boat while snorkeling in Belize and needing medical repatriation back to the USA? Somehow this isn't the kind of scenario that most couples foresee when they are planning their honeymoon, but it is something that can and did happen to a couple this past September.
A husband and wife, while on the very last day of their honeymoon in San Pedro, Belize, were snorkeling when a 38-ft. Water Taxi struck both of them. The husband’s leg was severed by one of the boat’s propellers and his wife sustained several injuries. Both individuals were air evacuated to a local hospital, Heusner Memorial. After being seen by the physician the wife’s injuries were determined to be a fracture of left ring finger, a palmar laceration of the right hand, and a fracture of the right ulna. The palmar laceration, which was nearly circumferential, was thoroughly cleaned and sutured by the attending physician.  The right ulna was placed in a cast. The husband’s leg injury was very severe and would not be able to support his weight, therefore, the decision was made to amputate the leg.  Surgical debridement and primary closure above the patient’s right knee occurred in the operating facility.
Treating doctor informed the assistance company that both patients were ready to return to the U.S. for further care and can travel by commercial air with a medical escort. The medical escort provider received the request, and
determined that two escorts, both a medical and non-medical would be needed to bring the husband and wife back home.
  • Treating medical physician gave both patients a Fit-to-Fly letter and explained the difference between evacuation and repatriation.
  • Patient will need hi-lift to plane in Belize, aisle wheel chairs for on and off plane, and wheel chair throughout the airport.
  • After the medical escorts arrival and pre-flight assessment it was determined a ground ambulance would be needed to get the patient to and from the airport
  • The treating physician would need to provide the nurse escort with pain medication for both patients for approximately 12 hours of traveling.
General supportive care including pain management was administered throughout the transport back to the U.S.  Upon arrival in Richmond, Virginia, a ground ambulance met the patients and medical escorts and all were transported for the 2-hour trip to the receiving hospital.  Patient and wife were both admitted to the E.R. where members of both families awaited to provide support for the newly married couple.  The patients experienced no issues throughout the transport in business class seats and were safely delivered to the admitting facility.
CME will take care of your needs and you can feel rest assured you will receive individualized and specialized attention to your case. When looking for a medical escort provider, it is important to find one that provides only the highest level of patient care.

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