Turkish Airlines has become the latest carrier to reward doctors with free air miles if they identify themselves when booking a flight.
The scheme, already offered by Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines, aims to make it easier to find medically-qualified passenger in the event of an emergency.
Although airline cabin crew do receive medical training, many prefer a GP or nurse to be present to administer drugs or conduct tests.
"We know where the medical doctors are sitting in advance, and the cabin attendants can call them to help us," Dr Temel Kotil, chief executive of Turkish Airlines, told the Independent.
Neither Virgin Australia or Qantas have a formal scheme to reward doctors but both airlines have confirmed they provide rewards on a case-by-case basis.
"We are always grateful of any assistance doctors and medical professionals provide to our guests on board," a Virgin spokesman said.
"We offer any additional tokens of appreciation on a case-by-case basis."
A Qantas spokesman said: "In the event of a doctor providing medical assistance to other passengers on board, Qantas acknowledges and rewards their support."
The airline said it can identify doctors as passengers through their frequent-flyer profile or booking information.
The most common in-flight emergencies are minor conditions such as dizziness and gastric problems, which are often aggravated by altitude, fatigue, or consumption of alcohol and sedatives.
But serious problems such as heart attacks will often require the plane to be diverted, which may cost an airline thousands of pounds. Airlines trying to keep costs down appear increasingly keen to avoid any inaccurate diagnosis.
The size of the incentive provided by Turkish Airlines, however – 5,000 frequent-flier points, which would not even cover an upgrade on a domestic flight – was described as "stingy" by a leading travel medicine specialist.
In-flight medical emergencies have become more common in recent years, due to the rising number of air travellers, the aging population of many developed countries, and the increasing mobility of people with chronic illnesses.
The introduction of planes with larger capacities, such as the Airbus A380 – which can carry in excess of 500 travellers – have also made problems more likely.
According to the British Medical Journal, in-flight emergencies occur at a rate of around one per 11,000 passengers. Around 70 per cent of incidents are handled by cabin crew.
The most frequent complaints include chest pain, fainting/collapse, asthma – the most common life threatening condition, head injuries caused by falling luggage, mental health problems such as anxiety, and gastric problems.
The Telegraph, London