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|Updated June 5, 2004|
Industry Reputation at Risk
We trust the airlines to do their best to deliver us unharmed to our destinations. Instead, US carriers are doing their best to conceal the biggest danger in air travel.
Most of the suffering and deaths could be stopped at a cost of less than a cent per passenger for a leaflet telling them what they need to know. Millions are spent to recover and reconstruct crashed airliners. Millions are spent to foil possible terrorist attacks. If the DVT and PE injuries were caused by bioterrorists, there would be no expense spared to stop them.
Austrian Airlines supported Wolfgang Schobersberger's study. Dr. Schobersberger said: "Austrian Airlines supported the study by helping us in the logistics management (customs, equipment etc.). Moreover the last 3 rows of an airbus 330 were kept free for our study passengers and medical devices. Also Bichemie GmbH (producer of low molecular weight heparin Certoparin) supported our project." An abstract of this important study is on our Reseach page.
To be rated Acceptable, an airline would have to give information on how to avoid DVT, how to recognize symptoms, and how to avoid misdiagnosis. We know of no airline currently doing this. Two airlines that have made a good start are:
Qantas has useful web site information at http://www.qantas.com.au/flights/essentials/healthinflight.html They also have inflight videos. But, as far as we know, they still don't tell people how to recognize symptoms and avoid misdiagnosis.
British Airways provides a leaflet, an inflight video and web site information. But they do not give information on how to recognize symptoms and avoid misdiagnosis. They have treated stroke victims miserably. For example, one stroke victim was forced to wait aboard the plane until everyone else was off, then left helpless in the baggage claim area.
Other airlines provide no information or, worse, provide deceitfully misleading information. American Airlines has a DVT statement on their website which says "There is no epidemiological evidence that air travel causes blood clots." It would be more accurate to say, "Every credible scientific study of the subject has found that air travel causes blood clots, including all of the most recent large sophisticated studies."
If you or a loved one were a victim of a US airline, please send a letter to their CEO saying you hold them responsible because they knew of the danger and didn't advise you, and you expect them to cover your expenses and damages. Keep a mailing receipt which you can get at the post office for fifty-five cents. (You probably don't need a signed proof of delivery.) They probably won't respond. Whether they do or not, please let us know. We would like to add their response (or lack of response) to the files we are building for action by state attorneys general.
Alaska Airlines, John F Kelly, CEO, 19300 International Blvd., Seattle WA 95188 206-433-3200
Allegheny Airlines: Keith Houk, CEO, 1000 Rosedale Av. Ste. A, Middletown, PA 17057 717-948-5400
American Airlines: Gerard Arpey, CEO 4333 Amon Carter Blvd., Forth Worth, TX 817-963-1234
AA medical director, David McKenas, told me that aa.com had posted a DVT statement and suggested that I have a look. The statement says there is no epidemiological evidence that DVT is caused by air travel. We think this shows callous disregard for the truth and reprehensible indifference to human life.
After saying that air travel is no more dangerous than going to a movie, they give risk factor and exercise information but no explanation of symptoms to watch for or how to avoid misdiagnosis that aggravates the injury and increases the risk of death.
America West Airlines: John R Gavel, CEO , 4000 E Sky Harbor Blvd., Pheonix AZ 85034 480-693-0800
Continental Airlines: Larry Kellner, CEO, 1600 Smith St. , Houston TX 77002 713-324-5000
Delta Airlines: Leo F Mullin, CEO, 1050 Delta Blvd, Atlanta, GA 30320-6001 404-715-2600 5/31 Health Service Director Miles S Snowden writes: "I have reviewed the information you forwarded. . . . We are not presently interested in the services your company offers."
Frontier Airlines: Samuel Addams, CEO, 12015 E 46th, 2nd Fl, Denver, CO 80239 303-371-7400
Hawaiian Airlines: Paul J Casey, CEO, 3375 Kaopaia ST. Ste. 350 Honolulu, HI 96819 808-835-3370
Horizon Air Ind. George D Bagley, CEO, 19521 International Blvd., Seattle, WA 95188 206-241-6757
Jetblue Airways: David Barger, CEO, 8002 Kew Gardens Rd, Kew Gardens, NY 11415 718-286-7900
Northwest Airlines: Doug Steenland CEO , 2700 Lone Oak Parkway, Eagan, MN 55121. Northwest has a video titled Aerobics shown on trans-oceanic flights. Reportedly, it is shown near the end of the flight, too late to help avoid ECS. Mary Ellen Praml of the Executive Communications office says she gave our March '01 letter to their VP of inflight services and they want to ensure the best possible service for Northwest passengers at all times. In April she said she gave the April letter to Cindy Heone, Director of Inflight Safety and they continue to make every effort to serve customers well.
Piedmont Airlines: John F Leonard, CEO, 5443 Airport Terminal Rd, Salisbury, MD 21804 410-742-8461
Southwest Airlines: firstname.lastname@example.org
United Airlines: Gerald Greenwald, CEO, PO Box 66100, Chicago, IL 60666. We have heard that US airlines has advice on avoiding DVTG in seatback pockets, but we have not yet seen it. If it is as deceitful as the statements from the Air Transport Association, it may do more harm that good.
US Airways: David Siegel, CEO, 2345 Crystal Dr., Arlington, VA 22227
If you have any information to update this list, we would appreciate hearing from you. Email us at mjr*airhealth.org (*=@)