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Fit To Fly Certificates For Chronic Illnesses

Planning a flight can be tricky if you have a chronic illness. A fit-to-fly certificate proves that your doctor says flying is safe for you. This article will guide you through getting one and how it helps ensure your journey is comfortable.

Keep reading to learn more!

What is a Fit to Fly Certificate?

A well-packed travel bag with a Fit to Fly Certificate in an airport terminal.

A Fit to Fly Certificate is a medical document certifying that a passenger is fit to travel by air. It’s required under certain circumstances, especially for passengers with specific medical conditions.

Definition and purpose

A fit-to-fly certificate shows a health expert believes you are safe to fly, even if you have chronic illnesses. Doctors or other health professionals check your health to decide this.

If they say yes, it means flying won’t harm you because of your medical condition. This certificate is vital not just for passengers’ safety but also for airlines. It helps avoid medical emergencies in the sky.

You might need this certificate if you have certain medical conditions that could get worse with flying due to cabin pressure and lower oxygen levels at cabin altitude. For example, people with severe heart conditions, recent eye surgery like cataract operations, or lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) often require clearance before boarding an airplane.

Pregnant women may also need a fit-to-fly letter during late pregnancies to confirm it’s safe for them to travel by air.

When do you need one?

After understanding what a Fit to Fly Certificate is, it’s crucial to know the specific times one might be necessary. This requirement mainly comes into play for passengers with chronic illnesses seeking to travel by air.

If you live with conditions such as asthma, heart disease, or recently had major treatments like angioplasty, airlines might ask for this certificate. It confirms your condition is stable and flying poses no risk to you or others.

Getting a Fit to Fly Certificate becomes essential during acute illness flares or if you’re pregnant and close to your due date. Doctors and health professionals assess fitness based on current health status and medical history.

Airlines aim to ensure safety for all travellers, requiring these certificates from individuals who could face complications due to cabin pressure changes or lack of immediate medical care during flights.

Before booking your ticket, check the airline’s policy on their website; they provide details on who needs one of these certificates.

Types of medical conditions that may require one

Knowing when you need a Fit to Fly Certificate leads us to understand the various medical conditions that might require one. People with heart conditions, such as those who have had a heart attack or have an implantable defibrillator, often need this certificate.

If you get breathless easily or have chest pain, airlines want to make sure flying is safe for you.

Other illnesses include infectious diseases like chicken pox, which could spread in the close quarters of an aircraft cabin. Patients recovering from major surgeries also need clearance before they can fly.

This includes people who’ve had operations on their stomachs or those managing chronic conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis during flare-ups. Pregnant women close to their labour date are asked for a certificate too because there’s a risk of going into labour mid-flight.

For anyone living with these health issues, getting assessed by your doctor and securing a Fit to Fly Certificate ensures both your safety and peace of mind while travelling by air.

How to Obtain a Fit to Fly Certificate

A doctor's stethoscope and medical documents on a busy desk.

To obtain a Fit to Fly Certificate, consult with your doctor for necessary information and documentation. The cost and validity of the certificate will depend on these factors.

Consultation with a doctor

You need to see your GP or a health professional if you want a fit-to-fly certificate. They check if it’s safe for you to fly with your chronic illness. During the visit, share all about your medical condition.

Mention if you have heart trouble, breathing problems, or any condition listed by airlines on their websites.

Your doctor might ask for tests or extra information about your health. This helps them decide on your fitness to fly. If you’re flying soon and have conditions like anaemia or recently had surgery, tell them.

They use this info to write the fit-to-fly letter. This letter says you are okay to travel by air safely.

Required information and documentation

After you talk with your doctor about getting a fit-to-fly certificate, you need to gather some important papers. Your doctor will ask for details about your health condition. This includes information on chronic illnesses like heart conditions or breathing difficulties.

They might want recent test results or records from hospitals that show you are managing your illness well.

You must also share if you’re using any medical equipment like inhalers, pacemakers, or need supplementary oxygen during the flight. The airline needs to know this to help you better.

For women who are pregnant and people recovering from things like stroke or surgery, it’s key to prove they are in stable condition. Letters from doctors stating this fact are often necessary.

These documents ensure airlines that passengers can fly safely without risking their health further. Always double-check with the airline what paperwork they require before flying, as rules can change.

Cost and validity

The price of getting a fit-to-fly certificate can vary. Your local GP or a specialist might charge different fees. Some people get these checks for free through the NHS, but others need to pay.

The cost depends on your doctor and whether you need extra tests. Always ask about the price before you decide.

A fit-to-fly letter is good for a short time. Most are valid only for the trip you’re planning now. Check with your airline because each one has its rules about how long these certificates last.

It’s key to make sure yours is up to date right before you fly, especially if your health changes often.

Special Considerations for Chronic Illnesses

Flying with chronic illness requires planning and consideration of potential restrictions. Click here to read more.

Chronic illness and restrictions on flying

People with chronic illnesses might face challenges when flying. Airlines sometimes ask these passengers to show a fit-to-fly certificate from their doctor. This proves they are safe to travel by air.

It’s important because conditions like heart trouble, serious infections, or recent operations can get worse with the high altitude and changes in air pressure on planes.

Doctors play a big role here. They check patients to see if flying is safe for them. This includes looking at risks tied to lack of oxygen or possible symptom flare-ups during the journey.

For some, especially those recently tested positive for COVID-19 or with lung problems, doctors may advise against flying until they recover fully or their condition stabilises. Patients need this medical approval not just for their safety but also as proof for the airline before boarding.

Specific chronic illnesses and the need for a fit to fly certificate

Individuals with specific chronic illnesses, such as heart conditions, collapsed lung, angina, and psychiatric problems may require a fit-to-fly certificate to ensure their safe air travel.

Airlines often request passengers with chronic illnesses to provide medical certificates from their doctor confirming their stable condition and fitness to fly. This documentation provides reassurance for both the passenger and the airline, ensuring safe travel for those with chronic illnesses.

Additionally, individuals with chronic illnesses should ensure they have the necessary medical clearance before flying to guarantee a comfortable and secure journey.

It is crucial for individuals suffering from chronic illnesses like chickenpox or blood disorders to obtain a fit-to-fly certificate from their healthcare provider before travelling by air.

The airline companies also offer accommodations and assistance tailored towards passengers with specific chronic conditions who need extra support during flight due to their illness.

Moreover, health professionals may be required by the airlines to assess a patient’s fitness to fly when diagnosed with certain chronic ailments that could affect their ability to travel safely.

Therefore, obtaining this certification becomes an essential aspect of planning travels for those living with specific chronic conditions.

Accommodations and assistance available

Passengers with chronic illnesses can request accommodations and assistance from airlines, including pre-boarding to avoid stress and fatigue. Some airlines offer special seating arrangements and additional oxygen for those with respiratory conditions.

Medical escort services or air ambulances might be available for individuals requiring specialised care during the flight. It’s essential to communicate requirements in advance to ensure a comfortable journey.

Airlines may provide specific support for passengers requiring medical attention, such as trained cabin crew or nurse availability on board. Additionally, some airlines allow passengers with chronic illnesses to travel in business class at regular fares if they need extra space or comfort due to their condition.

This personalised support is crucial for ensuring safe and comfortable travel for individuals with chronic illnesses.

Staying Safe and Healthy While Flying

When flying, take precautions for your chronic illness. Manage symptoms and consider travel insurance to stay safe in the air.

Precautions for those with chronic illnesses

Passengers with chronic illnesses should consult their healthcare provider before flying. Ensure that medications are easily accessible during the flight and carry extra doses if needed.

Stay hydrated, move around periodically, and perform simple exercises to reduce the risk of blood clots.

Travellers with chronic illnesses must prioritise their health and safety by taking necessary precautions when flying. Remember to seek medical advice tailored towards your specific condition for a safe journey.

– Tips for managing symptoms during flight

Tips for managing symptoms during flight

Manage symptoms by taking prescribed medications before flying.

Stay hydrated and avoid alcohol to prevent exacerbating symptoms.

Check with the airline for any necessary accommodations or assistance during the flight due to chronic illnesses.

Use compression stockings to improve blood circulation and reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis.

Keep essential medications and medical supplies in your carry-on luggage.

Importance of travel insurance

Travel insurance is crucial for individuals, especially those with chronic illnesses, to ensure they are protected when travelling by air. It provides coverage for medical emergencies, including complications related to chronic conditions.

Additionally, travel insurance offers peace of mind by covering unexpected cancellations due to health issues and helps offset the cost of medical care abroad if needed. For instance, many insurance companies offer tailored policies that cater specifically to individuals with chronic illnesses, providing the necessary support and assistance during their travels.

This not only ensures financial protection but also facilitates a more comfortable and secure journey for passengers dealing with chronic health concerns.

The importance of travel insurance cannot be overstated; it serves as a safety net for passengers with chronic illnesses while embarking on their travel journeys. It is essential to make an informed decision regarding suitable travel insurance before boarding a flight to guarantee a smooth and worry-free experience.


In conclusion, Fit-to-Fly Certificates are crucial for individuals with chronic illnesses to ensure safe air travel. It provides peace of mind for both passengers and airlines, ensuring a comfortable journey.

Remember to consult with your doctor and obtain the necessary medical clearance before flying. Take precautions and manage symptoms effectively while traveling by air. Plan ahead, stay safe, and enjoy your flight!


1. What is a Fit to Fly Certificate for people with chronic illnesses?

A Fit to Fly Certificate proves that someone with a chronic illness or condition, like heart problems or recent surgery, is safe to travel on an airplane.

2. How can I get this certificate if I have a chronic illness?

You need to see your doctor or general practitioner. They will check your health and decide if you’re okay to fly in the pressurised cabin of an airliner.

3. Do all airlines ask for a Fit to Fly Certificate from passengers with health issues?

Yes, most airline companies require it especially if you have conditions that might affect your flight such as breathlessness, recent fractures, or are recovering from operations like bypass grafting.

4. Why is flying risky for some people with illnesses?

Flying high in the sky can change how your body feels pressure and oxygen levels. This might cause problems like flare-ups of your illness, bleedings due to wounds not healing fully yet or even fear and stress reactions like claustrophobia.

5. What should I do if my condition changes before flying?

If anything about your health changes before you fly – say you become pregnant or experience new symptoms – go back to your doctor right away. You may need a new assessment and possibly another certificate stating you’re fit to fly.