I have Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain disorder, and I had a problem boarding a recent flight. While I was boarding I stumbled and fell while trying to maneuver the boarding ramp. Subsequently the airline contacted MedLink, discussed the incident with them, and then informed me I would not be able to fly until I had doctor’s statement stating that I was fit to fly. Who is MedLink and what credentials do they have to decide that I am unable to fly?
MedLink is a medical advisory service that is operated by MedAire. The service is staffed by by board certified physicians who are extensively trained in airline protocols, procedures and medical equipment on board the aircraft. Their job is to give airline personnel a professional assessment of their passenger’s “fitness to fly”.
They are typically called when a passenger needs to fly with oxygen — for an assessment and for making the oxygen arrangements. They are also called when there is an in-flight emergency. And if the gate agent or flight crew suspects an individual is too ill or infirmed to make the trip, they contact MedLink for an assessment.
Typically MedLink works in an advisory capacity; and although they make a medical recommendation based on information supplied by the airline, the airline has the final authority to determine “fitness to fly”. And although airlines can’t deny passage solely because of a disability (say, just because you are in a wheelchair) they can if there is a medically-supported concern that the flight will not be able to reach its destination without diverting to an alternate airport for a medical emergency.
And the latter determination was made in your case, after your fall triggered the whole evaluation process. They were probably concerned that you were injured in the fall. I’m sorry for your troubles, but the airline was just looking out for your best interest. Hopefully you’ll have a better experience on your next flight.