Seating Arrangements: Who Sits Where During an Air Medical Escort Trip
When it comes to flying, sometimes it seems that choosing your seat when buying your ticket is the only aspect of the process you have any control over (and even then, there are no guarantees you'll actually get to sit where you want). A good seat is often a key factor in a person's ability to enjoy a flight. Some people like the view from a window seat, others want the extra leg room that often comes with the emergency exit row or bulkhead seats, and others like the aisle seat since it easier to get up and move around the cabin. When you're flying with a medical condition or with an air medical escort, choosing where to sit is an even bigger decision.
When someone hires an air medical escort from MedFlight911, we handle all the travel arrangements, so our patients and their families aren't directly involved in the seat selection process. As we book the flight or flights, there are few things we try to do. One is that, whenever possible, we fly first class. No, it's not for the complimentary drinks or free meal (though the food is a nice perk). Not only are the seats more spacious (often times the seats are 4 inches wider than seats in coach) and comfortable for patients, there's also greater privacy, and our medical escort is closer to both the flight crew and the plane's emergency medical equipment. Even things like using the restroom may be a little easier in first class, since there are typically fewer people having to share the same facilities. Sometimes, there are other perks in the premium cabins as well, such as lie-flat seats on international flights and even some domestic cross-country routes.
If MedFlight911 does book a first class trip for one of our air medical escort patients, we like the rest of the family to fly first class. That's because airlines don't allow passengers from coach class to enter the first-class cabin. If financially there is an issue purchasing multiple first class tickets, a key family member can fly first class and we can get the remaining coach passengers seated close to the front of coach and the patient, passenger and nurse near the back of first class. That way there is much closer proximity and possible communication between parties.
Obviously, flying first-class comes at a premium. But in MedFlight911's experience, it truly makes for a more pleasant, less stressful flight for everyone involved. The space and amenities afforded by first class increase the flexibility for our trained medical escorts to care for their patients. At the same time, patients, who often have painful medical conditions that can make flying and sitting on a plane difficult, are more comfortable. It's a win-win for everyone involved.