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National Blood Donor Month

by Lux Joseph 28. December 2014

Next month don’t be surprised if you see a blood donor van at your neighborhood supermarket. Since 1970, January has been recognized as National Blood Donor month. President Richard Nixon introduced the proclamation and stated, “With the advent of the New Year, it is appropriate and timely to pay high tribute to our Nation's voluntary blood donors for their generosity and to encourage more people-both women and men, and both the younger and the older-to join their worthy ranks by providing a steady and increasing supply of blood during each month of the year ahead.” The winter season can be one of the most challenging seasons for acquiring the amount of blood needed for hospitals and medical centers around the world. During the winter there is an increase number of illnesses, people traveling, and holiday schedules. It can also be a challenging time for donors to keep appointments because of the cold and snowy weather in the northeast and also the post-holiday schedules. We can expect to see an increase number of donor buses around towns to increase the number of blood donations.

Every day in our country, approximately 39,000 units of blood are required in hospitals and emergency treatment facilities for patients with cancer and other diseases, for organ transplant recipients, and to help save the lives of accident victims. Approximately 37% of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood, but current statistics show that less than 10% do. Those individuals requiring blood rely on that small percentage of donors to hopefully be enough to meet the needs. Unfortunately that is not always the case. While not every individual is eligible to donate, the preliminary requirements are:

  • Donors must be in good health.
  • Donors must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent).
  • Donors must weigh at least 110 pounds.
  • Eligible donors must have a current photo ID, preferably a valid driver’s license. If you are a high school donor and don't have one of these, another form of ID with your photo and proof of age is necessary.

A donor is eligible to donate whole blood every 56 days, or approximately eight weeks. However, it is important to know that some patients around the world need the other components just as much as they may need whole blood. There are four types of products that can come from whole blood donation: red blood cells, platelets, plasma, and cryoprecipitate. Out of one pint of blood, the whole blood can be separated into two or three parts, allowing a single donor to save up to three lives in a single donation. As a donor, you can also choose to only donate certain components. Plasma can be donated as often as once a month. Platelets can be given every seven days, up to 24 times each year. When you give through automation, also known as apheresis, you may be able to save more lives by helping people with specific blood product needs. Every 12 seconds someone needs a blood transfusion. Many people think that blood banks have a surplus of blood on supply for instances of scarcity, but that is a myth and not the case at all. From the moment an individual’s blood is drawn until the moment it is sent out to the hospital is three (3) days. Immediately after an individual’s blood is drawn it is sent to a lab. At that time it is tested and separated. Once the blood is confirmed to be clean and healthy, the blood is distributed to hospitals.

This upcoming January, Commercial Medical Escorts encourages you to participate in donating blood if you are able to do so. Consider some of these fast facts:

  • 4.5 million Americans receive blood transfusions each year.
  • 40,000 pints are transfused each day in the United States.
  • Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.
  • A blood donation can save the life of cancer patients, accident, burn, and trauma victims, newborn babies, mothers delivering babies, transplant patients, surgery patients and others in need.
  • Much of today’s sophisticated medical care (transplants, heart surgeries, etc.) relies on blood transfusions. • Car accident and trauma victims may need as many as 50 or more red cell transfusions.
  • Severe burn victims may need as many as 20 platelet transfusions.
  • Bone marrow transplant patients may require platelets and red cells from more than 100 donors.
  • Blood products are perishable: donated red cells last only 42 days, platelets last only 5 days, and plasma can be frozen for a year.
  • State-of-the art automated red blood cell donation, Alyx (60.2 KB), allows donors to double their impact by donating two units of red cells in one visit. This is a month to remember how we can save lives.

Individuals do this every day around the world. Commercial Medical Escorts encourages individuals to participate in blood donation so that we can collaboratively continue to work towards achieving the highest amount of blood donation to save millions of lives at risk daily. By working together to advocate for effective blood programs and recruitment of donors, we can give hope - and blood - for those who give life.


Blood Facts and Statistics. American Red Cross. Accessed on January 13, 2014.

Donation Process. American Red Cross. Accessed on January 14, 2014.



JetBlue Gives You Less

by Lux Joseph 16. December 2014

Jetblue Airlines and Southwest airlines appear to be the only two US Carriers that still allow passengers to travel with one checked bag free of charge. For travelers, this is a luxury considering every other airline charges a fee for a checked bag and those rates van vary among carriers. But is Jetblue shifting their philosophy and joining the reins of their competitors by adding baggage fees to their products?
JetBlue Airways recently made the decision to charge for checked bags in the upcoming quarter after pressure from analysts advising them to align their fees with their competitors. When we asked our travel agent how he thinks this will affect passengers he stated, A lot of individuals still look to JetBlue and Southwest because of the first bag checked for free however, that is primarily your travelers who dont travel frequently. Most individuals who travel frequently have status with one or more of the airlines, or have a credit card that pays for the first checked bag to ultimately it will not affect them. The decision to charge for bag fees was not a single decision made by JetBlue Airways. This shift comes with other changes including fare structures, legroom in economy class, and plane configuration.
As mentioned earlier, these decisions were driven by a Wall Street viewpoint to increase the maximum revenue potential for JetBlue Airways. In regards to checked bags, JetBlue plans to introduce a fare structure that will be three tiered based on the number of bags the guest has. Similar to other airline programs, the higher fares offer more flexibility and increased number of frequent flier points to be earned. Just a small increase for the airline will drive approximately 65 million in additional revenue for 2015.
Along with the fare structure change, JetBlue is reconfiguring their airplanes to add additional seats. This is another attempt to add additional revenue to their sales portfolio. However, this will affect the customer experience with a decrease in seat pitch. JetBlues current seat pitch is 34.7 inches. However after the planes new configuration the seat pitch will decrease to 33.1. The average traveler may be disgruntled by this change, but JetBlue will still lead the industry with the largest seat pitch. On the A320s the increased number of seats will go to 165 whereas they could have increased it to 180. JetBlue believes in the customer experience, but also realizes its place in the industry. In the USA alone we have seen the number of major domestic carriers decrease year over year due to bankruptcy and mergers. JetBlue is attempting to find a medium between making the numbers profitable, and also meeting the needs of their customers.
When JetBlue Airways first introduced these changes, the first thought from consumers was negative, but that is because the change hasnt been fully processed by the traveler. They have decreased the seat pitch, but they are still ahead of all their competitors. They are beginning to charge for bags, but they still will have fares that include a first bag checked for free. JetBlue is leaving the decision up to the customer as to whether they add a fee to their flight or choose a fare in which it is included. These fares are scheduled to begin in early 2015.
Southwest will soon reign as the only USA carrier to include the first checked bag free of charge. While Southwest may see this as an opportunity to acquire a share of JetBlues customer’s who oppose the fee; it will be interesting to see if these changes actually shift customers to look at Southwest as their new carrier of choice. When travelers look for an airline ticket there are a variety of factors that are considered including fare cost, baggage fees, destinations, seat comfort, in-flight entertainment, etc. A small change like this may not mean a loss of business for JetBlue, but instead, additional revenue that was sitting on table.


Amazon vs. Expedia

by Lux Joseph 7. December 2014

When it comes to booking a hotel for your upcoming trip there are many resources out there. Some people utilize their travel agent as they typically are the most knowledgeable and can find the best bargain. For those who choose to look for a hotel on their own they may consider, Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, or Hotwire to name a few of the many online travel agencies available to consumers. Out of all of these selections, Expedia is the United State’s online travel agency giant and within its portfolio are and Some individuals may say they have a small monopoly on the hotel industry, but will that still be the case in years to come?

Amazon, a company that is known to almost every consumer around the world has over 240 million customers. They started off in the business of selling books online and is now the heart of the economy and has grown to be a retail mega store, a grocery store, a bookseller, an entertainment studio, and even a music provider. Amazon could soon become a distribution channel for hotels. Amazon currently works with a small selection of boutique independent hotels, but their track record shows that it would be no surprise to see them battle up against Expedia.

Many hotel chains are becoming frustrated with Expedia’s power over the industry and a new competitor added to the mix would challenge Expedia’s process and potentially redefine the market. A company like Amazon has the experience and ability to change the direction of buying hotels online. Amazon has already approached several hoteliers about the possibility of Amazon launching a hotel booking service for their clients.

For some of the hotels that are already being sold via Amazon have positive reviews and in an article by Travel Weekly one of the hotels, William’s Grant Inn, stated that after an offer was run on Amazon, they would see an increase of 50-100 calls for accommodations.

Many consumers look for “one stop shop” places. With Amazon’s already diverse selection of business and now the idea of potentially adding a hotel booking engine Amazon is only continuing to “dream big”. Their CEO, Jeff Bezos, has always been a driven individual with an outlook to change the world.

The Amazon Empire could be Expedia’s next big competitor and could also create a shift in how hotels currently do business. A hotelier’s main focus is to fill the rooms. When a hotel’s clock turns midnight any room unfilled is revenue lost. Hotels sell their rooms through a multitude of channels and adding another player to the program will only maximize their place in the marketplace.

If and when Amazon launches a hotel will you book there over one of the other options available? I believe that Amazon’s strong focus on the customer experience may shift how consumer’s shop for their hotel. Furthermore, Amazon is continuously looking at ways to do things different and who knows what that means for the future of hotel shopping.


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