What does the cabin crew medical assessment involve?
Is your dream job to become a member of cabin crew for an airline? Then you’ll need to undergo a medical assessment at some stage.
When you apply for an airline, you’ll know the drill when it comes to jumping through hoops with your application and assessment day – but did you know that the final hurdle before getting the job is to undergo a medical examination? Below, we take you through what to expect:
What is a medical examination and why do I need it?
A medical examination is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a medical check that proves whether you are fit enough to do your job in question. Being fit and healthy is crucial for a career as cabin crew – being in the sky all the time, your body will be subjected to mental and physical exhaustion, and you’ll be on your feet for long periods of time too. Any physical or mental illness which might lead to incapacitation or an inability to perform assigned safety duties and responsibilities will affect your career.
Most airlines in the UK have a basic medical procedure for all cabin crew in order to brand them ‘fit for flight’.
Your health should be taken very seriously if this is the career path you want to take. If you are not fit to fly, you will be asked to leave.
Unfortunately, there are medical conditions we are born with or develop which are entirely out of our control, and stop us from getting the job we want – for example, bad eyesight. There are certain lifestyle choices you can make however, which will improve certain aspects of your health e.g. no smoking, drinking, or taking drugs. So please bear the above in mind if you’re considering a career in the sky.
What does the medical assessment consist of?
All new members of cabin crew will undergo an initial medical examination. Periodic medical assessments are then required from then on, at intervals of no more than 60 months.
You will be asked to complete a form prior to the medical, outlining any existing medical conditions e.g. wearing glasses for eyesight, high blood pressure etc. which will then be assessed by the doctor at the appointment. They may require information like, if you have broken a bone within the last two years, or suffered any recurring issues. They will likely also ask general questions regarding your health, like how many units of alcohol you consume per week/month, or how frequently you exercise.
The following checks/procedures may be carried out at your medical assessment:
- A urine sample
- Hearing check
- Height and weight
- Blood pressure
- Reach test (To assess your ability to reach emergency equipment in the overhead lockers)
- Immunisations e.g. tetanus, tuberculosis, yellow fever etc.
- You may be asked to lift a heavy item
- ECG to test your heart rate and its general condition (common in the EU, as licensing authorities are stricter)
You can find out more about the UK requirements for the medical certification of cabin crew here.
What medical issues can decrease my fitness/ability to do work as cabin crew?
The MED.A.020 Decrease in medical fitness requirements from the UK Civil Aviation Authority state:
(a) Licence holders shall not exercise the privileges of their licence and related ratings or certificates at any time when they:
- are aware of any decrease in their medical fitness which might render them unable to safely exercise those privileges;
- take or use any prescribed or non-prescribed medication which is likely to interfere with the safe exercise of the privileges of the applicable licence;
- receive any medical, surgical or other treatment that is likely to interfere with flight safety.
(b) In addition, licence holders shall, without undue delay, seek aero-medical advice when they:
- have undergone a surgical operation or invasive procedure;
- have commenced the regular use of any medication;
- have suffered any significant personal injury involving incapacity to function as a member of the flight crew;
- have been suffering from any significant illness involving incapacity to function as a member of the flight crew;
- are pregnant;
- have been admitted to hospital or medical clinic;
- first require correcting lenses.
The above can all impact your career as cabin crew.
Following a medical examination or assessment, you will then be issued with a medical report All cabin crew are required to hold a valid cabin crew Medical Report from 9 April 2019. This must be signed by the AME or OHMP, and then you will need to provide a copy to your employer. Unless stated otherwise, you won’t need another medical assessment until the expiry date of this assessment. Additional medical examinations or assessments may be necessary if:
- A cabin crew member returns to work following a prolonged period of illness
- There is any doubt about the continued fitness of a cabin crew member