UAL SFO-IAD Lifeguard flight


#1

Just returned to IAD from RNO on a UA connecting flight from SFO that was referred to by the pilot and ATC throughout the flight as “United 100 Lifeguard.” Wondering what would constitute the designation as “Lifeguard” and how common is this on commercial flights?

flightaware.com/live/flight/UAL1 … /KSFO/KIAD

I notice that Flightaware makes no note of the flight as a Lifeguard flight. The 757 actually left SFO a few minutes late, the pilot blaming it on aircraft in the vicinity “bombing” a brush fire near Hunter’s Point.

Enroute, ATC controllers at least once, offered a particular vectoring but told the pilot he could reject the routing given that he was a Lifeguard flight.

Landing at IAD seemed anything but direct and we made no special haste to the gate or offloading. To me in the Economy-Plus section of the cabin of the almost 100 percent full flight, I saw nothing to indicate any special-needs medical handling of any passengers.


#2

The plane may have been carrying human organs or tissue.


#3

The flight wasn’t marked as lifeguard in the data we get from the FAA. I think it would have been LUAL100, so it wouldn’t even have appeared on the UAL100 page.


#4

=“darwit88b”]Just returned to IAD from RNO on a UA connecting flight from SFO that was referred to by the pilot and ATC throughout the flight as “United 100 Lifeguard.” Wondering what would constitute the designation as “Lifeguard” and how common is this on commercial flights?

Back when I worked for several different regionals, we would carry human tissue that had someone ‘waiting on the bed’ for life or death organs’ and were given ‘Lifeguard’ status. Usually they would be human hearts. It happened quite a bit. We also carried a lot of ‘non critical’ tissues such as corneas from the local eye bank, and we would send a daily shipment of human fluids to the Mayo Clinic. These flights were not considered life flights.
When we did get a ‘Lifeguard’ shipment, we loved it, because we were flying into, at the time, and over congested St.Louis who was down to 1 runway with the presence of 2 cumulus clouds. We being 85nm away and flying 19 seat J31’s were delayed very frequently and the lifeguard flight got the heart, and the heartless mad pax out of our terminal!


#5

I think you all may have explained it.

Sitting in 9F, a window, where I could see the baggage being loaded in the front right, the last 2 items loaded where 2 large cardboard boxes labeled “Perishable” “Keep Refrigerated.” Nothing stamped about human parts, but…

The boxes looked a little bit flimsy for valuable human parts, the tape closing the tops, a little loose…but, of course, I had no idea what the inside packaging may have looked like.

Thanks all.


#6

Transplant organs don’t require anything all that fancy. For example, hearts are shipped in cold cardioplegia fluid (often in a plain old ice chest)… There are some fancy new devices that pump warm oxygenated fluid, but haven’t seen much use yet.


#7

I thought it was interesting that there was a Life Flight out of Edwards Air Force Base this week…hadn’t seen one from a Military Base before…TC


#8

A short hop - flightaware.com/live/flight/N20T … /KEDW/KSBD


#9

My company has a DOD contract for lifeguard flights. Not that unusual. Our LJ 35’s cost a whole lot less to operate than a C-17 for one patient. :slight_smile: