Get your medical certificate from £37

Fit To Fly Certificates For Mental Health Conditions

Travelling can be stressful, especially for those with mental health issues. Some airlines ask for a fit to fly certificate if you have these conditions. Our blog will guide you on how to get this certificate and manage your mental health while flying.

Stay tuned for helpful tips!

Understanding Mental Health Conditions

A lone traveler sitting on a peaceful mountainside surrounded by nature.

Mental health conditions are prevalent in travelers and can be influenced by various risk factors. Travelers should consider pre-travel strategies, as well as how to manage mental health during transit and throughout their trip.

Prevalence in travellers

Many people who travel might need a fit to fly certificate because of their mental health conditions. This includes those with mood disorders and other psychiatric issues. Before flying, these travellers must get checked by a doctor to make sure they’re stable enough for air travel.

Airlines ask for medical certificates as proof that the passenger is safe to fly with their condition.

Travel restrictions can also affect passengers with mental health problems due to bans on certain medications in different countries. Doctors play a crucial role in checking patients’ health and giving them the green light to fly.

Next, we’ll look into contributory or risk factors associated with travelling under these conditions.

Contributory/risk factors

Travelling can affect people with mental health conditions differently. Changes in cabin pressure and lower oxygen levels high up in the air may trigger anxiety or distress. The stress of coping with a new environment, jet lag, and being away from regular medical care could also worsen symptoms for someone dealing with mood disorders, neurotic disorders, or psychiatric conditions.

Certain factors make flying harder for those with mental health challenges. For example, the stigma around mental illness might stop someone from seeking help during a flight. Also, restrictions on medicines in some countries mean travellers must check if they can bring their essential medications along.

Health professionals assess each traveller’s condition carefully before deciding if they are fit to fly. This evaluation ensures passengers’ safety during flights that often reach altitudes where the aircraft cabin is pressurised to maintain adequate oxygen levels despite the thin air outside.

Managing Mental Health while Travelling

A person meditates in a tranquil forest clearing surrounded by tall trees.

Ensuring mental well-being during travel is crucial. Strategies for pre-travel, transit, and the trip itself are necessary.

Pre-travel strategies

Travelling with a mental health condition requires careful planning. It ensures safety and comfort throughout your journey.

  1. Schedule a visit with your medical professional to discuss travel plans. This visit should focus on assessing how travel might affect your mental health and updating any necessary treatment or medication.
  2. Obtain a fit to fly certificate if needed. Some airlines ask for this certificate for passengers with conditions like mood or neurotic disorders.
  3. Review your medication needs, ensuring you have enough for the trip plus extra in case of delays. Check the legal status of your medications in the destination country to avoid issues at customs.
  4. Prepare documentation detailing your diagnosis, current treatment, and emergency contact information. Ensure this includes information about your need for specific accommodations during flight or at the hotel.
  5. Coordinate with the airline about any special requirements such as priority boarding or assistance at the airport if anxiety or other symptoms might be triggered in crowded spaces.
  6. Wear comfortable clothing and bring items that help manage stress during the trip, like noise-cancelling headphones, stress balls, or comfort objects.
  7. Educate yourself on how cabin altitude and pressure changes can affect your physical and mental state, especially if you have respiratory issues alongside mental health conditions.
  8. Arrange for early check-in online to avoid long lines at the airport which can heighten anxiety or stress levels.
  9. Plan coping strategies for managing symptoms while in transit, such as deep breathing exercises, guided meditation available through apps, or listening to calming music.

    10 Fleetwood Mac once sang about going their own way; similarly, consider booking seats in quieter areas of the plane like business class if budget allows for a more peaceful environment conducive to relaxation.

    11 Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies related to both physical and mental health conditions.

By following these strategies, travellers can prepare themselves better for their journey, making it safer and more enjoyable despite any challenges posed by their mental health condition

During transit

Managing your mental health during transit is key to a smooth journey. Here are some strategies to help you stay well while on the move.

  1. Keep your travel itinerary simple. Avoid tight connections that could add stress.
  2. Carry a letter from your doctor about your mental health condition and any medications you need. This is important in case you face questions or need assistance.
  3. Have a list of emergency contacts, including healthcare providers, on hand.
  4. Practise deep breathing or meditation to stay calm if things get overwhelming.
  5. Move around the cabin every few hours to keep your blood flowing and reduce anxiety.
  6. Drink plenty of water and eat light meals to feel your best.
  7. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as they can affect mood swings and anxiety levels.
  8. Use distractions like reading, listening to music, or watching films to keep anxious thoughts at bay.
  9. Set reminders to take any medications at the right times despite time zone changes.
  10. Wear comfortable clothing and bring items that make you feel secure, such as a favourite book or a travel pillow.

By following these steps, you can manage your mental health conditions effectively during transit and arrive at your destination ready to enjoy your trip.

During the trip

Travelling can be stressful, especially for those managing mental health conditions. Staying comfortable and stress-free during a trip requires careful planning and strategies.

  1. Keep medication on hand. Travellers should always carry their medication in their hand luggage to avoid any issues if checked baggage gets lost.
  2. Follow a routine similar to home. This helps in managing stress levels by maintaining familiarity and structure.
  3. Stay hydrated and eat well. Good nutrition and hydration are key to feeling physically well, which in turn supports mental health.
  4. Plan for rest breaks. Fatigue can worsen mental health symptoms, so it’s important to rest when needed.
  5. Carry a medical record summary. This document should include information about the mental health condition, medications, and contact details for healthcare providers.
  6. Prepare for time zone changes if applicable. Adjusting sleep patterns gradually before the trip can ease the transition.
  7. Use graduated compression stockings if advised by a healthcare provider to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT), especially on long-haul flights.
  8. Engage in light exercises or stretching during the journey to maintain good circulation and reduce discomfort.
  9. Identify support services at the destination in advance, such as hospitals or local mental health services that can provide assistance if needed.
  10. Reach out to cabin crew discretely if feeling unwell or needing support during the flight; they’re trained to assist in minor medical situations including anxiety or distress episodes.

Keeping these points in mind helps ensure that travellers with mental health conditions have a safe and enjoyable trip, maintaining their wellness throughout the journey while conforming with fit to fly criteria where required by airliners.

Obtaining a Fit To Fly Certificate

To get a Fit To Fly Certificate, know when it’s needed and the cost. Health professionals follow guidelines for issuing this certificate.

When is it needed?

Airlines might ask for a fit to fly certificate if you have certain mental health problems. This includes mood disorders or psychiatric conditions that could affect your safety during flight.

You need this certificate before you can board the plane. It proves you’re in a stable condition to travel. Your doctor will do an evaluation of your mental health first. They check if your medical condition is under control and safe for flying.

Getting this certificate also involves checking medication rules in other countries. Some places have bans on specific medicines for treating mental health issues, which could impact your trip.

Health professionals play a big role here. They must make sure all passengers with these conditions are really okay to fly, keeping everyone’s safety in mind.

Cost and expiration

After understanding when a fit to fly certificate for mental health conditions is necessary, the next step involves learning about the cost and how long the certificate remains valid. These factors are crucial for travelers to plan and budget for their trips effectively.

Aspect Detail
Cost The price for obtaining a fit to fly certificate can vary depending on the healthcare provider and the country. It generally ranges from low to high amounts.
Expiration Most fit to fly certificates for mental health conditions are valid for a specific trip or a limited period, which could range from days to a few months, based on the medical professional’s assessment.

Medical professionals play a key role in this process. They assess the passenger’s current mental health status. They decide if the person can travel by air safely. For travelers with mental health conditions, this evaluation ensures their well-being during the flight.

Certificates are crucial for flying with a mental health condition. They confirm the traveler is stable. Airlines often require these documents. They help ensure the safety of all passengers on board.

Travelers should also check medication restrictions in their destination countries. It helps avoid legal issues upon arrival. Planning is key for a smooth journey. With the right preparations, flying with a mental health condition becomes less stressful.

Guidelines for health professionals

Health professionals play a crucial role in assessing the fitness of passengers with mental health conditions to travel by air. Here are the key guidelines for health professionals:

  1. Airlines require medical certificates confirming the passenger’s stability and fitness to fly.
  2. The psychiatric evaluation should establish the individual’s current mental health status.
  3. Health professionals must consider any restrictions or bans on medications in the destination country.
  4. Fit to fly assessors need to carefully evaluate each passenger’s specific mental health condition.
  5. The assessment should determine the stability of the individual’s mental health for air travel.

These guidelines shape how health professionals assess and certify individuals with mental health conditions as fit to travel by air.


Fit to fly certificates are crucial for individuals with mental health conditions planning to travel by air. Airlines may require these certificates to ensure the passenger is stable and safe to fly.

Health professionals play a key role in assessing a passenger’s fitness to fly with mental health conditions. It is important for travelers with mental health conditions to be aware of potential restrictions on medications in other countries, ensuring a smooth travel experience.

Obtaining a fit to fly certificate is an essential consideration before embarking on any air travel journey.


1. What are Fit to Fly certificates?

Fit to Fly certificates show that you’re healthy enough to travel by plane. Doctors give these after checking your health.

2. Can people with heart conditions get a Fit to Fly certificate?

Yes, if you have heart issues like a past heart attack or use devices like pacemakers, you might still fly if your doctor says it’s safe.

3. Do pregnant women need a Fit to Fly certificate?

Often, yes. Pregnant women, especially those close to their due date or with certain medical conditions, should get checked before flying.

4. What about flying with lung problems?

If you have lung diseases such as COPD or asthma, getting a Fit to Fly certificate is important because planes have less oxygen.

5. Can I fly after surgery or other major treatments?

After surgeries like angioplasty or having an implantable defibrillator placed, doctors will decide when it’s safe for you to fly based on your recovery.

6. How do I know if my mental health condition affects my ability to fly?

Your doctor can advise if your mental health condition impacts flying safety and whether a medical escort is needed for support during the flight.