ATLANTA, GA – In an effort to minimize the risk of aspiration during tomorrow’s three-hour East coast flight from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to Boston’s Logan International Airport, JetBlue Pilot Mickey Albright has made all 189 of his passengers on Flight 486 NPO after midnight.
A familiar medical term, NPO stands for nil per os in Latin, and refers to the longstanding policy by which health care professionals ask patients to not eat or drink anything 8-12 hours before a procedure in order to minimize the possibility of any stomach contents refluxing up and entering into the lungs.
“I have spoken with each and every passenger individually and explained that there will be no in-flight beverage or food service,” explained Albright. “The plane has to go up and the plane has to go down, the seats will be reclined, sometimes they go into Trendelenburg, the seats then have to go back to their full and upright position, I mean, I’m surprised that any passenger can make it through a flight without vomiting. Frankly, this is about passenger safety.”
Albright said he can’t assume that every patient will be able to vomit into their seat’s “barf bags.” He doesn’t want to take that chance.
United Airlines pilots also make their passengers NPO after midnight and enforces the policy rather strictly. “Anyone who eats breakfast and boards our plane forfeits their seat and gets pummeled by our crew,” said one United pilot very matter-of-factly in an interview with Gomerblog. “It’s the United way.”
Albright is a skilled pilot and anticipates no complications, even if there is occasional turbulence. “When we land in Boston, I will happily put everyone back on a general diet,” he said. “Just cross your fingers that we don’t have any delays.”
In preparation for tomorrow’s flight, Albright has asked the primary team to “clear” every single passenger; check a CBC, chemistries, and PT/INR overnight; and type & cross 2 units of packed red blood cells just in case.