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Aging Boomers May Prompt More In-Flight Health Crises

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ST. PETE BEACH, FL, June 10th, 2008-Travel insurance comparison site offers new tips for healthy flying this summer. Most of us will fly our whole lives and never experience a medical emergency. In fact, airlines typically don’t even collect data on the numbers of passengers who become ill while taking to the skies because life-threatening situations on planes are so rare.

Last year, British Airways, one of the few carriers that publicly releases data, reported a little over 31,000 health crises among 36 million customers; the majority, fainting spells and other minor events.

But North Americans, particularly baby boomers, are flying in greater numbers than at any time in history. We’re traveling longer into our old age, and venturing further afield on increasingly exotic trips. The net effect, experts affirm, will be to boost the numbers of in-flight health emergencies in years to come.

“Even if you’re only flying for a few hours you may definitely feel it, as an older person,” said Chris Harvey, chief executive of, the fastest growing American travel insurance comparison site.

An oxygen-reduced, subtly depressurized plane simulates conditions atop an 8,000-foot mountain. So after a long flight, a healthy person may be a little lightheaded. Someone with a serious heart or lung condition, however, could be utterly winded and exhausted – or worse. Older passengers and those with pre-existing medical conditions are especially vulnerable to the impact of altitude.

“The key to having a healthy, safe flight is to prepare in advance”, said Harvey.

Put medication (in original containers), asthma puffers, and items like blood sugar meters in carry on luggage. Check wheelchairs at the gate to prevent damage. Fly at off-peak hours and avoid holidays to minimize stress. Get exercise and stay hydrated on long-haul flights.

If you’re at all concerned about your health as the date of your trip nears, book a doctor’s appointment to check if you’re fit to fly.

And be sure to line up adequate travel insurance within the proper deadline – making sure it covers pre-existing conditions, plus the potential financial ramifications of any in-flight emergency.

Tips and advice for having a healthy flight

Get medical clearance. If you’re at all concerned about a pre-existing condition, get a doctor’s note that says you’re fit to fly.

If you’re pregnant… and it’s a troubled pregnancy; or you’re the third trimester; or you’ve experienced complications like pre-term labor, abnormal bleeding or miscarriage in the past, airlines may request a doctor’s note before boarding. Double-check as well whether your policy covers in-flight health emergencies and hospitalization for complications of pregnancy, as it isn’t always so.

Know what qualifies as a ‘pre-existing condition.’ A pre-existing condition can be ‘any reason to cancel, interrupt or delay your trip that existed before you bought insurance.’ If your heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma or epilepsy is controlled though medication, and remains so within what’s called a “look back” period, this won’t be deemed ‘pre-existing’ for insurance purposes. Some plans require you to insure the full pre-paid, non-refundable trip cost to be eligible for pre-existing condition cover.

Meet deadlines. The best time to buy cover for a pre-existing illness is usually within 14 to 21 days of paying your trip deposit, although a few carriers provide pre-existing medical up to the day before your last payment. (If you don’t need coverage for a pre-existing medical condition, there is really no time limit – you can buy medical insurance up until the day you fly. helps by laying out full details of every insurance policy we carry in an easy-to-search format, and by providing the plan’s full certificate. Plus, in an industry first, we clearly show any deadlines you need to meet in order to qualify for coverage. Our site is set up so that if you have missed a deadline for a benefit, we explain why.

About Squaremouth
Founded in 2001, Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare and buy travel insurance from every major carrier. To ensure customer satisfaction, all carriers are rated based on an internal system and also ratings from insurance industry watchdog AM Best. Companies have to maintain a zero complaint level to meet Squaremouth’s strict requirements to stay on the system. Along with its unique research capabilities and zero complaint guarantee, the site provides instant quotes, immediate purchase and instant confirmation. Squaremouth is headquartered in St Pete Beach, FL and has offices in Fort Wayne, IN. Squaremouth has websites dedicated to both US travel insurance and UK travel insurance as well as international medical insurance for any nationality traveling outside their home country. Squaremouth is also available through thousands of travel sites around the world. Visit for more information.

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