Q I am looking for some advice with regard to employees flying internationally for work, and requesting Business Class upgrades for medical reasons.
A There are no hard and fast rules on medical recommendations for upgrades. We recommend requests be considered on a case-by-case basis – depending on the medical condition, the length of the flight and the expected activities at the end of the flight.
The main benefit of Business Class is a better rest cycle which may be relevant if staff have to be on top of their game immediately on arrival. The design specifications of human beings did not include 24 hours squashed in a little seat, to reach a destination where day and night are completely reversed. It is simply not possible to be at one’s best in that scenario.
Adequate sleep is very important to ensure optimal performance, both mentally and physically. Even the immune system is impaired by lack of sleep – particularly topical subject in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It takes a few days to recover from a long international flight – and some persons take longer than others.
It may be more cost effective for a business to arrange a rest day after an economy flight if the time zone change is more than 6 hours, and especially if it is 9 hours or more. Employees should not drive a car for at least 24 hours after a flight across more than 6 time zones. This is especially important for those needing to drive on the ‘other‘ side of the road.
In order to request a medical upgrade, the staff member should present documentation including
Date of flight
Length of flight
Time of arrival
Time of first business activity
Details of activities required in first 72 hours of journey
Details of medical condition including letter from GP
TMA organisation can provide your organisation with an independent medical review process to this question so company administrative staff do not have to to weigh in on medical issues. Contact your nearest clinic today.