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Airline to Offer Health Care in the Air

February 04, 2001

In what it bills as an industry first, American Airlines later this month plans to introduce a program to provide registered nurses to accompany passengers who need medical help. Passengers would have to buy two adjacent seats (one for the nurse), plus pay $90 an hour for the nursing service.

The airline will offer a 30% discount off the full coach or first-class fare for both seats; the discount is not available on advance-purchase fares, which are often hundreds less. In explaining the exclusion of such fares, American spokesman Mark Slitt cited the "fair amount of time" the airline will spend making arrangements with the customer.

The program, dubbed SKYCAARE, has restrictions. For instance, intensive-care patients or those who pose a health risk to others will be excluded.

The program will be available starting Feb. 19 on some domestic flights through Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth; expansion will depend on demand, Slitt added.

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