Flying with a Medical Condition
Fit to Fly:
Most passengers with existing medical conditions can fly with no problem, however occasionally you may need to get medical clearance before you are able to fly and fill out a Medical Information Form/Fit to Fly Form requesting medical clearance from your doctor.
You will have to fill out a form when:
- You have an existing unstable medical condition.
- Your fitness for travel is in doubt due to recent surgery, injury, hospitalisation or illness.
- You have an existing unstable medical condition.
- During your flight you need to use therapeutic oxygen or other medical equipment.
Your airline will assess your completed form based on the standards as set by the World Health Organisation to ensure you have a comfortable and safe flight. However if you are in any doubt at all about your fitness to fly we would always recommend you consult your doctor before travelling.
Medical Risks Associated When Flying:
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT )
Every passenger travelling by air is advised to take precautions when aboard their flight, however if you have an existing medical condition this is even more important. In order to avoid a DVT below are some suggestions:
- Make sure you remain hydrated and drink plenty of water.
- Avoid alcohol or limit any alcoholic beverages.
- Avoid tight fitting shoes, socks, stockings.
- Wear comfortable shoes.
- Walk around the plane as much as you are able.
- Do calf exercises in your seat.
- Use flight or compression stockings.
All passengers with a pre-existing respiratory disease will need to undergo a fitness to fly test.
Any traveller with an active respiratory infection including pneumonia and or a viral infection should no longer be infectious and clinically recovered.
If you have a severe or complex respiratory problem you will need to consult your doctor to be judged as fit to fly. This will be necessary if you require oxygen during your flight.
If you suffer with asthma there should be no issues with flying. However, it is recommended that you travel with your medication in your hand luggage. To be on the safe side visit your doctor before you travel for a course of oral steroids if your condition deteriorates whilst you are travelling or when you arrive at your destination.
Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
If you are suffering with a middle ear infection or have had recent ear surgery you will not be classed as fit to fly unless your doctor or specialist gives a written fit to fly statement.
If you have had recent nasal surgery or have acute sinusitis you will not be classed as fit to fly.
In all situations regarding ear, nose and throat problems it is important that you consult your GP or consultant before travelling.
Post Surgery Passengers
Your airline will have guidelines stating the minimum time before travel by air is recommended and you should check your airline’s specific guidance notes beforehand.
In general it is recommended that all travellers should not fly before the 10th day following abdominal surgery.
If you have had neurosurgery, you should not travel by air for 7 days following surgery.
Flying is not recommended for 24 hours following a laparoscopy.
Flying is not recommended for 24 hours following a colonoscopy.
If you have a colostomy bag it is recommend to use a larger bag as pressure during the flight may increase faecal output.
If you have had an ophthalmological procedure you should not travel before the 7th day after the procedure.
If your diabetes is controlled there are no restrictions when flying.
If you are an insulin dependent passenger you will need to carry your insulin in your hand luggage. You will require a letter of authorisation from your doctor to allow you to carry insulation and needles/sharps in your hand luggage
Check out the Diabetes UK website before flying for more tips on flying and travelling as a diabetic passenger.
Travelling When Wearing a Plaster Cast
In the unfortunate event you have to travel with a plaster cast, you will need to wait to fly until 24 hours after the cast has been applied. If your flight is longer than 2 hours you will need to allow 48 hours after application of the cast before you can fly.
Below are the major airlines polices for air travel wearing a plaster cast:
Ryanair Policy – Flying with a plaster cast
If you have a broken limb in a cast you should advise Ryanair of both your condition and assistance requirements (if applicable) either at the time of booking online or via their Special Assistance line preferably on the day of booking.
If you are traveling with upper limbs in cast, waist and above, you will only require one seat.
If you are travelling with a full leg in cast you must purchase *3 seats* in total, per journey, to travel. This will enable the leg to be elevated during the flight and reduce swelling.
If you are travelling with lower leg in plaster, below the knee only, you will only require one seat.
If a plaster cast has been fitted on any limb for less than 48 hours then the cast needs to be split (the split needs to run along the entire length of the cast)
If the plaster cast been fitted for more than 48 hours there is no requirement for the cast to be split. This is applicable for both plaster of paris and resin casts.
*3 seats* – To book 2 extra seats for a full leg cast – go online and select 3 seats:
Jet2 Policy – Flying with a plaster cast
Jet2 recommend that you contact your insurance company in the first instance.
If the plaster cast has been fitted for more than 48 hours at the time of travel and there are no complications, then there are no restrictions on travel.
If the plaster cast has been fitted within 48 hours of your flight they will require a Fit To Fly signed and dated by a medical professional. Casts should be loosely fitted to allow for expansion and swelling at high altitudes. You may travel with a split cast providing that you are able to exit the aircraft unaided, have a companion to assist or have been pre approved by the Jet2 Assistance Team on +44 (0) 800 408 5591 or +44 (0)203 059 8337 if calling from overseas for further information (Open Mon – Fri 08:00 – 21:00 and Sat – Sun 09:00 – 18:00) .
If the break has needed surgery or there have been additional complications, then you will need to obtain a Medical Information Form via the Jet2 Assistance Team on +44 (0) 800 408 5591 or +44 (0)203 059 8337 if calling from overseas for further information (Open Mon – Fri 08:00 – 21:00 and Sat – Sun 09:00 – 18:00) .
In all cases you need to be able to bend your knee to enable you to sit in the aircraft seat.
EasyJet – Flying with a plaster cast
You are not permitted to travel within 48 hours of having your cast fitted. Plaster casts that have been fitted for less than 48 hours need to be split. The split needs to run along the entire length of the cast which must have been done prior to check in.
In all cases, passengers travelling with broken or fractured limbs in plaster are required to travel with a medical certificate confirming fitness to fly and the date that the cast was fitted.
Passengers travelling with upper limbs in cast will usually only require one seat to travel.
Passengers who are unable to bend their leg at the knee joint for any reason, are required to purchase additional seating to enable the leg to be elevated. You will not be permitted to place your leg in a position that will obstruct the movement of the crew or other passengers. The number of seats required will be determined by the length of the cast or leg. Each additional seat allows for approximately 17” or 43cm.
Passengers travelling with a below the knee cast, may only require one seat.
Please contact Customer Services to arrange this or if you need any further advice on the number of seats required to meet your needs on 0871 244 2366. (Calls cost 10p per minute; calls from mobiles and other some networks may cost more. For other telephone numbers visit the contact us section.)
As a rough guide adult passengers normally require 3 seats in total and children normally require 2 seats in total.
Passengers travelling with upper limbs in a cast(s) (ie waist and above), will only require one seat to travel.
Adult passengers travelling with lower limbs in a cast(s) (ie waist and/or full leg plaster), must purchase two or more seats in total, per Flight, to travel as required to accommodate their height comfortably. This will enable the limbs to be elevated during the Flight and reduce swelling.
Passengers travelling with a lower leg in plaster, may only require one seat. The number of seats required should be determined so as to accommodate the Passenger’s height comfortably.
Where additional seating must be purchased to accommodate Your needs, this will be required regardless of whether the aircraft is full or not. If the Flight is full, You will be required to transfer to the next available Flight on which You can purchase an additional seat. In these circumstances, easyJet will not be responsible for any resulting costs of an overnight stay.
The same requirements in relation to additional seating being booked shall apply to child passengers travelling with lower limbs in a cast(s) but the length of the cast will determine whether the child will require one, two or three seats to enable their leg to be elevated during the Flight. Passengers travelling with a plaster cast that has been fitted for less than 48 hours must ensure that the cast is split along the entire length of the cast to protect against swelling that may occur in-flight. If the plaster cast has been fitted for more than 48 hours, there is no requirement for the cast to be split. This is applicable for both plaster of paris and resin casts.
Monarch – Flying with a plaster cast
A Plaster Cast:
- should be loosely fitted to allow for bodily expansion in flight
- must have been fitted for at least 48 hours before you fly
- if you have a full leg plaster, and are able to bend at the hip but not at the knee, you’ll need three seats. Please contact the airline direct for further details. Note: extra seats for medical or comfort reasons must be booked via the call centre
- a medical certificate is also required confirming the date the plaster was applied and also that you are fit to fly.
British Airways – Flying with a cast
If you have a broken bone and a plaster cast fitted you cannot fly within:
- 24 hours if your planned flight is less than two hours
- 48 hours if your flight is longer than two hours
If you have a full leg cast you can travel in the First and Club World (business long haul) cabins that offer more legroom. To be able to travel in the other cabins you will need to buy an extra seat with moveable armrests so you can elevate your leg.