7 tips for managing in-flight medical emergencies

What to do at 36,000 feet when you hear, ‘Is there a doctor on board?'

"Is there a doctor on board?"


Hearing this call at 36,000 feet can be anxiety provoking and may trigger a dilemma of whether to respond or wait to see if anyone else will offer their expertise.

Research has shown doctors to be the primary responders in 40-50% of in-flight emergencies, nurses and paramedics in 5-25% of events and flight attendants alone in 45% of incidents.

A recent study of 11,920 in-flight emergencies has revealed the most common problems:

  • Syncope or presyncope (37%)
  • Respiratory symptoms (12%)
  • Nausea or vomiting