Getting sick on the road?

Quick question for something that I imagine isn’t far from common at the airlines especially when it seems everyone is coming down with the cold or flu.

Let’s say you have a cold and in the middle of the trip, it intensifies and you feel that you are not able to fly the next day. Is there something the airlines have that can help you out in this situation or are you stuck at that overnight until you get better? Or is it just a matter of knowing if you feel well enough to fly or not before the trip even starts?

Thanks as always.



While not common the situation you describe does happen. If you’re simply not fit to fly they will arrange for you to stay put until you’re well or possibly deadhead you home depending on the severity of your illness. My airline actually has a fantastic service they provide for our crews. Wherever you are in the world they can direct you to a contracted medical provider. You simply call an 800# and they take it from there. They cover all expenses and fees including meds.

That said one of my MAJOR peeves is pilots flying sick. If you’re sick you should be considerate of your fellow crewmembers and stay home. Unfortunately many people only use their sick days for play which is how half the pilots at the company end up sick. Bad form.



Usually pilots call in sick before a trip begins, but occasionally things happen. Twice in my career I have called in sick while on a trip. Both times I got the airplane back to a hub, then got off the trip.