Fitness to fly

 

We want you to be as comfortable as possible on your flight, and medical clearance ensures your doctor is satisfied you’re able to take your journey as planned. It’s covered by clause 14 of our Conditions of Carriage.

To confirm your fitness to fly, our Special Assistance team may request a copy of our Medical Information Form (MEDIF) or a detailed fit to fly letter.

Part one of the Medical Information Form is for you to fill out and your doctor should complete part two. You'll then need to send the form to our Special Assistance team.

We'll assess your fitness to fly based on the international criteria set out by the World Health Organisation, to ensure you travel safely and travel well.

Our medical team may request additional information to confirm your fitness to fly. If they determine that additional in-flight services are required (such as travelling with a medical escort or supplementary oxygen), we can put you in touch with partners that offer these services*.

*A fee is required for in-flight services provided by our partners, such as a medical escort or supplementary oxygen.

More information about travelling with a medical condition

Certain medical conditions can be affected by flying, and may require medical clearance, which is written confirmation from your doctor that you are well enough to fly. These conditions include:

Heart or blood vessel problems such as a heart attack, heart failure, angina or stroke. 

Deep Vein Thrombosis 

Breathing difficulties such as chronic bronchitis or emphysema, pneumothorax (a collapsed lung), pulmonary embolism (a blood clot on the lung), or asthma, especially if you may need additional oxygen or use of a nebuliser during your flight 

- Epilepsy 
- A recent head injury 
- Stomach or bowel problems 
- Cancer 
- A current infectious disease 
- Ear or sinus pain 
- Limb injuries, including fractures 
- Psychiatric problems 
- Any recent surgery

For passengers suffering from conditions like heart or lung disease, or blood disorders such as anaemia (including sickle cell anaemia), the lower oxygen levels in the cabin could lead to oxygen deprivation (hypoxia), making additional oxygen supplies necessary.

Additionally, the lower air pressure means that air within the cabin is expanded by about 30%. This could cause problems for passengers who have recently undergone surgery, have abdominal health problems, or blocked ears or sinuses.

If you are affected by any of these conditions, you should check your doctor is happy for you to fly. You should also check with our Special Assistance team in case you require official medical clearance from your doctor before you can fly.

We’re naturally keen to prevent our passengers from falling ill, so have guidelines for travelling with certain conditions.

If you’ve been unwell in the weeks before your flight, please contact our Special Assistance team to check if you’ll be OK to fly.

As the following illnesses can be contagious, we’ve put together some guidance on when you can travel with them. If you are unsure, please contact our Special Assistance department so your individual case can be assisted and supported.

Illness When can you trvel?
Chickenpox 7 days after the last crop of spots providing the spots have crusted/scabbed over and the passenger feels well and has no fever
Cholera When your symptoms have settled, you feel well enough to travel and the public heath authority in your destination country agrees you are fit to travel
Hepatitis A When you feel well enough to travel
Measles 5 days after the rash first appeared
Mumps 8 days after the swelling began. You must feel well and have no fever
Rubella 5 days after the rash first appeared
Shingles If lesions are covered with a dressing. You must be well with no fever and any pain must be well controlled
Tuberculosis If medical evidence proves you are not infectious
Whooping cough Please contact Special Assistance for further advice
Yellow fever Please contact Special Assistance for further advice
Flu Once your symptoms have resolved

As long as you feel well enough to fly, it’s fine for you to travel with these conditions:

- Hepatitis B or C 
- Dengue fever 
- Viral meningitis 
- Malaria

As long as you haven’t experienced any complications during your pregnancy, you can fly until your 28th week without needing to tell us. Beyond the 28th week, you’ll need to take note of the guidelines below.

Single pregnancy

If you're expecting one baby and want to travel between your 28th and 36th weeks, we’ll need you to travel with a certificate from your doctor. The certificate should state that you have had no complications and your estimated delivery date. We don’t need to see this in advance, but it might be asked for at the airport or onboard. Travel may be delayed or denied if you do not have this if asked.

It's important to remember to include your return travel within these dates.

After your 36th week, you mustn't fly unless there are mitigating circumstances - which you can find listed below.

Multiple pregnancy

If you're expecting more than one baby and want to travel between your 28th and 32nd weeks, again you'll need to travel with a doctor's certificate stating you've had no complications and your estimated delivery date. Travel may be delayed or denied if you don't have your certificate available if asked.

You mustn't fly after the end of your 32nd week. Please do remember to include your return travel date in this time frame.

Travelling after the cut-off date

For travel after the 36th week for single pregnancies, or after the 32nd week for multiple pregnancies, we can only carry you for urgent medical or compassionate reasons, and only on approval from our medical advisors.

We may also ask that a suitable medical attendant accompany you. Please contact our Special Assistance team for more details.

Contact our Special Assistance team

You can contact our Special Assistance team here if you need to discuss this information in more detail, or if you need to let us know about:

- A complicated pregnancy 
- A recent Caesarean Section delivery 
- A recent miscarriage.

We’re alert to the dangers of serious allergies.

If you have any kind of allergy, simply follow these guidelines for a safe and comfortable flight:

- If you have an allergy that could result in an anaphylactic reaction you should carry your medication, such as antihistamines or an Epi-Pen, in your hand luggage. Check our information on bringing medication onboard. 

- If you’ve had an allergic reaction in the last 30 days, please contact our Special Assistance team. If you need a specific meal, take a look at our dietary requirements information and make sure you let us know at least 24 hours before your flight. 

- Just in case we can’t meet your dietary requirements, we recommend you bring your own snacks onboard.

Our nut and allergen policy

We adhere to allergen guidance under European and UK food legislation, which may be different in other jurisdictions. The allergens declared refer to the ingredients only, the food items may contain traces of allergens since they are processed on or with equipment that processes products that may contain allergens.

We cannot guarantee the absence of food allergen or peanut traces in our meals, both on board and at the airport.  A list of food allergens contained in meals served on flights departing from the UK and USA is available on board from your Cabin Crew.

Our suppliers are based all around the world and not every country has the same legal requirements for providing allergen information. On flights to the UK, allergen labelling on pre-packaged items may not reflect all of the allergens required to be declared in the UK. For passengers flying from the USA, we also adhere to the three additional Nuts listed under US Allergen advisory information.

Peanuts are never knowingly included in any of our meals on board. However, our meals are not produced in a nut-free environment so may contain traces.

All other nuts may also be served on our flights to other passengers as part of the menu ingredients and/or the snack service, in any cabin. We also can’t stop other passengers from bringing (or eating) their own food onboard, which may include nuts.

In view of the above, we strongly encourage passengers to take all necessary precautions to prepare for the possibility of inadvertent exposure.

Please take note of the following situations. You cannot fly if:

- You have been SCUBA diving within 48 hours prior to your flight 

- You’ve had a general anaesthetic or dental treatment within 48 hours prior to your flight

Prescription medication

 

If you need to fly with any controlled medication that has been prescribed for you by a doctor or other medical practitioner, there are a number of restrictions and guidelines you need to be aware of.

 

Tips for travelling with prescription medication

  • The medication should be in its original packaging, pharmaceutically labelled to clearly identify it as being prescribed for, and belonging to you.
  • Your medication should be carefully packed in your check in baggage and placed in the hold where the temperature is between 4-5°C
  • Pack three or four days of medication in your hand baggage in case you need it during the flight, or your check in baggage is delayed or lost. 
  • Carry a repeat prescription so your medication can be replaced if if lost or damaged, or you need to top up your supply while away.
  • Make sure you have a letter from your medical practitioner confirming the type of medication (including the generic drug name), with prescribed doses, what the medication is for and any other medical items required, such as syringes or EpiPens.
  • Some medication may contain ingredients that are illegal in some countries, even if it has been prescribed by your doctor. It’s a good idea to check with the UK embassy at your destination.
  • Over-the-counter medicines (such as headache tablets) are fine to bring as long as they are legal in your destination country and you keep them in their original packaging.

 

Keeping your medication cold

The onboard fridge cannot be used to keep medication cold. However, if you bring a cool bag the crew will be happy to top it up with ice.

 

Liquid medication

Increased security at UK airports affects the amount of liquid medication that you can take in hand baggage.

For the latest airport security advice on carrying liquid medication, please check your airport’s website or The Department of Transport.

There’s also more information on liquids on our own liquid restrictions page.

Travelling with an assistant or medical escort

 

Depending on your level of mobility or independence, you may choose to travel with an assistant or medical escort to help you during your journey.

Occasionally we ask passengers with severe medical conditions to travel with a medically qualified escort.

Your assistant must travel in the same class of cabin as you and they will be seated where’s best for you, either directly in front, next to or behind you.

You can discuss your requirements with our Special Assistance team.

More information about travelling with an assistant or medical escort

Assistants or medical escorts that need to administer medication must be suitably qualified and will need to:

 

  • Carry all necessary medication and equipment required during the flight. 
  • Carry appropriate identification and documentation and a medical kit to justify the purpose of their travel and to satisfy any security measures. 
  • Adequately secure and lock medical kit bags. 
  • Ensure medical equipment required during the flight is battery operated and cleared for use onboard prior to travel. Please see our information on carrying medical equipment onboard. 
  • Assist in the evacuation of their patient during an emergency situation.

If you would need assistance with eating, medication or in the toilet during your flight, you should travel with a companion who can help you. Our cabin crew are not permitted to provide this kind of assistance.

If you are travelling alone, our cabin crew can help you from your seat to the toilet with the use of our onboard aisle wheelchair. The cabin crew are unable to assist with medication and eating, however they are able to open packaging (such as a bag of our onboard pretzels) for you. 

If an adult passenger is unable to understand or respond to safety instructions (for reasons other than language barriers), our Special Assistance team might ask for more information to make sure the passenger is OK to travel alone.

Please contact our Special Assistance team in plenty of time so they can give clearance to travel if necessary.

If you would have severe difficulties in emergency situations, we may ask you to travel with a safety assistant.

This person would need to be willing and able to physically help you in an emergency, but they do not need any official qualification or training.​

We do not permit stretchers to be used or carried onboard our aircrafts.

Flying with medical equipment

 

By 'medical equipment', we mean items like respiratory assistive devices including CPAP machines, needles and syringes. For specific guidance on bringing wheelchairs and other mobility equipment onboard, see help with mobility.

Some medical equipment can be brought onboard, but you’ll need to make sure it complies with restrictions.

 

Needles and syringes

You’re allowed to bring needles and syringes onboard for the treatment of medical conditions. However, please make sure you also carry a letter from your medical practitioner confirming the kind of medication you have, and what it is for.

If you don't have a medical practitioner's letter, the medication must have a printed pharmaceutical label, clearly identifying it as being prescribed for and belonging to you.

 

Powered equipment

We can’t provide electricity to power medical equipment on our aircraft, so your equipment will need to be battery powered.

Guidelines for the use of batteries

  • Ensure you carry sufficient batteries for the duration of your flight.
  • Batteries must be fitted in the device if you check it into the aircraft hold.
  • Spare batteries must be individually wrapped and carried in hand luggage only.
  • Just like personal stereos and phones, any powered medical equipment must be switched off and stowed for taxi, take off, approach and landing, and during abnormal or emergency conditions.

More information about powered medical equipment

The following guidelines apply to any respiratory assistive devices you wish to bring onboard:

  • It must be labelled by the manufacturer, confirming it has been tested to meet the requirements for medical portable devices set by the UK Government or US Federal Aviation Authority.
  • The device must not be too big or too heavy to be used in the cabin.
  • Any extra batteries must be packaged in accordance with UK safety regulations.
  • You must carry sufficient fully-charged batteries to power the device for 150% of the expected maximum flight duration, to take any delays into account.
  • You may also need to carry a medical certificate for the condition that requires you to use the device.
  • We no longer carry therapeutic oxygen onboard, so if you anticipate needing  a POC (Personal Oxygen Concentrator) device with you, check out our information in the below section.

We no longer provide therapeutic medical oxygen on board, and Personal Oxygen Cylinders aren't approved for use on our flights. 

However, if you own or rent a Portable Oxygen Concentrator (POC), these can be used on board, provided they have been approved. Please complete our POC Approval and Battery Approval Request form, and fax or email it to our oxygen provider OxygenToGo® at least 48 hours before your flight.

If you booked your flight with us, but it's operated by one of our partner airlines, please contact them directly for their policy regarding medical oxygen.

What you need to know when bringing a POC on our flights:

  • You won't be able to sit in an exit row or bulkhead seat
  • Your POC does not count toward your carry-on baggage limit
  • If you're planning to use it on the flight, your POC must have 150% of battery life for the duration of your flight(s) eg. For a 6 hour flight, you'll need 9 hours of battery power
  • To comply with airline safety policy, please don’t bring more than the battery requirement
  • The battery should be removed and packaged separately if not in use
  • It should have a recessed battery terminal, and the packaged battery terminals should not contact any metal objects

We may also need more info about your medical condition to make sure you're ok to fly. 

You can ask us a question or let us know about the medical equipment you need to bring on your flight by completing this online contact form.

The Special Assistance team might need to ask you a few questions about your medical condition.