The safest flight on which I have ever flown was between Minneapolis and Honolulu on a Northwest 757. On my way to a wedding in Maui, I happened to be on the exact same flight as 40 surgeons bound for a conference on the island. Imagine my comfort in knowing that if I choked on a mai thai there would be someone to resuscitate me.
Airlines often give an unofficial token of thanks to medical professionals who help on board a flight during an emergency. Stories range from upgrades to first class to vouchers for the in flight duty-free store to a bottle of Champagne, all small thanks for helping a fellow passenger in need.
German based Lufthansa is now making the process more official in their Doctors on Board program. MDs in the Miles and More program can register prior to departure to be “of use” during a medical emergency, and in return, Lufthansa will deposit 5,000 miles into the doctor’s account.
Note, while it does not say “medical” doctor on the proper site, the registration form does require credentials to be faxed in, so doctors of Mechanical Engineering or Judeo-Christian history need not apply, unless, perhaps, a passenger is having trouble falling asleep.