Which airlines carry heart AED defibrillators on flights from the UK… we reveal which aircraft include the lifesaving devices

Flying is one of the safest ways to travel and now it’s become even safer with the widespread introduction of airlines flying with a heart AED defibrillator across the global fleet.

Defibrillators in the cabin are helping to make flying even safer

Defibrillators in the cabin are helping to make flying even safer

It’s incredibly rare for passengers to suffer serious problems on flights, but the presence of the lifesaving devices – known as automated external defibrillators (AEDs) – on planes means a cardiac arrest can be treated and in many cases reversed.

Here we look at Automated External Defibrillators (AED) on planes and how they are being used to ensure air travel is safer than ever before.

Have you got a list of airlines that carry heart AED defibrillators?

The following table shows the airlines that responded to our request for information on AEDs and whether or not their aircraft carry the devices.

The US Federal Aviation Authority has mandated that all commercial airlines operating within the US must have a defibrillator on board for passenger flights.

Air France Yes More info here
Air Lingus Yes More here here
Air New Zealand Yes More info here
Aegean No More info here
Aeroflot No response More info here
Alitalia Long-haul only More info here
All Nippon Airlines Yes More info here
British Airways Yes More info here
Cathay Pacific Yes More info here
easyJet Yes More info here
Emirates Yes More info here
Etihad Yes More info here
Finnair Yes More info here
Japan Airlines Yes More info here
Jet2 Yes More info here
KLM Yes More info here
Korean Air No More info here
Lufthansa Yes More info here
Norwegian Yes More info here
Qantas No response More info here
Qatar Yes More info here
Ryanair Yes More info here
SAS Yes More info here
Singapore Airlines Yes More info here
Swiss Air Yes More info here
Thomas Cook Airlines Yes More info here
TUI Yes More info here
Virgin Atlantic Yes More info here
Wizzair No response More info here

What is cardiac arrest and why do some airlines carry AED defibrillators on planes?

Cardiac arrest is caused by an abnormal heart rhythm which stops the heart pumping blood round the body. This can happen during a heart attack, but can also occur as a result of various other heart conditions. If a normal heart rhythm cannot be reinstated within in a few minutes, the person will not survive. It is sometimes be possible to keep victims alive with CPR – cardiopulmonary resuscitation – but typically a normal heart rhythm can only be restored by using a heart defibrillator. This is why many aircraft carry defibrillators.

Does air travel increase the risk of cardiac arrest?

There is no evidence to suggest air passengers are more likely to suffer from sudden cardiac arrest.

Are all UK aircraft required to carry an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)?

All airlines must train staff in first aid and all aircraft must carry first aid kits, but there is no legal requirement to carry an AED in the UK.
Elsewhere, it has been mandatory for all US commercial flights to be equipped with an AED since 2004. This applies to planes that have at least one flight attendant.

Do UK airlines carry AED defibrillators?

Despite not having a legal requirement to do so, it can be seen from our table, above, that many airlines flying from the UK include AEDs on their in-flight safety roster.

How many people suffer medical emergencies on flights?

There’s no way of knowing the exact number because there’s no mandatory reporting of such incidents.
However, studies suggest medical emergencies occur with a frequency of 1 per 10-40,000 passengers.

Can the AED really help save lives on planes?

Yes! Without an AED, a cardiac arrest is likely to result in a unsuccessful outcome if the plane needs to divert for treatment.
Success rates of up to 55% have been reported in people who received prompt CPR and AED use for cardiac arrest due to a ‘shockable rhythm’.

Could the AED be used incorrectly?

The type of device used on aircraft and other public places have automated operation, so will only shock the patient if it detects a suitable condition through sensors.

Can I fly with a heart condition?

Obviously, you should speak to a medical professional before flying, but in most cases, it’s likely that you will not be prevented from flying. Read our information guide to flying with heart conditions here.

Where are defibrillators located on the aircraft?

Defibrillators are typically located in the front of the aircraft and in the galley. They are easily accessible to the flight attendants

Are there any special considerations for using a defibrillator on an aircraft?

One major difference is that the cabin pressure can affect the performance of the defibrillator, so flight attendants are trained to adjust the settings accordingly.

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