Travelling can be a bit daunting if you have a medical condition or are pregnant but in most cases you don't need to do anything different. You may need to take some precautions and the information below will help you understand what you need to do.
We recommend to buy a suitable travel insurance as medical charges and repatriation costs can be very expensive depending on the country you're visiting. We can offer you the opportunity to buy travel insurance as part of your flight booking but it is only available for some countries. If it's available, you will see the option when you're confirming and paying for your flights.
Sometimes, even if your medical condition is serious, you can still travel but it must be with a medical escort. We recommend you book this through a recognised medical assistance company who specialise in this type of service.
For some medical conditions you need to get medical clearance before you can fly, for example:
How to get medical clearance
Please download the medical information form (pdf, 650kb, English only) and fill out part one. Then ask your doctor to complete part two and send the completed form to our Passenger Medical Clearance Unit (PMCU) who will be able to advise if you're fit to fly.
If you are travelling after 1 February 2018, on a short-haul European flight, and require the use of your own portable oxygen cylinder (weighing less than 5kgs) you also need to download and complete the attached form
We assess your fitness based on internationally accepted criteria by the World Health Organisation so we can be sure you have a safe and comfortable flight. In some cases we may need additional information, or ask you to travel with a medical escort or supplementary oxygen.
British Airways has a dedicated Passenger Medical Clearance team who can assess your fitness to fly and advise if you'll be able to travel.
Office Opening Hours: Monday to Friday - 07.00 to 18.00, Saturday - 08.00-16.00, Sundays and Bank Holidays - Closed
|Telephone||+ 44 (0) 20 8738 5444|
|Fax||+ 44 (0) 20 8738 9644|
If you need to use medical equipment on board that contains batteries, there might be some restrictions. Please click the link for information regarding batteries; Liquids and Restrictions.
If your flight is operated by one of our airline or franchise partners, they may have different processes so please contact them directly before you travel.
For your and your baby’s safety you cannot fly after:
We recommend you carry a letter or statement from your Doctor or Midwife confirming:
The letter should be dated as close to your travel date as possible and covers you for your entire journey (outbound and return) provided you do not require any medical care during your trip.
It is not necessary to complete our medical form.
You need to be very careful if you're considering flying after an operation or illness. Please speak to your doctor before making a booking to confirm they're happy for you to fly.
The below details are a guide to the minimum time you must leave before you can travel and also whether you need to tell us about your condition. If you're in doubt, please contact our PMCU team.
|Medical condition||You can travel after:||Do you need to contact us?|
|Major chest, abdominal or cranial surgery||10 days||If you had surgery within 4 weeks of travel contact PMCU.|
Appendectomy or abdominal keyhole surgery
||5 days||You should obtain a fit to fly letter from your treating doctor.|
If the procedure went well you can usually fly after 3 days.
|Heart surgery||If you feel well you can travel after 10 days but we suggest you wait until after 4 weeks if possible.||If you had surgery within 4 weeks of travel contact PMCU.|
|Heart attack||You should not fly within 10 days and then only fly if it’s essential but we recommend to wait until after 4 weeks.||If you have been in hospital within 4 weeks of travel contact PMCU.|
If you don’t have regular attacks you can fly at any time but always carry your medication in your hand baggage.
||If you have been in hospital within 4 weeks of travel contact PMCU.|
|Stable asthma||You can travel at any time but always carry your inhalers in your hand baggage.||No|
|Chronic bronchitis, emphysema or other forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease||
If you can walk 50m, without oxygen and getting breathless, you should be fit to fly.
If you can’t walk this far you may need supplementary in-flight oxygen, which must be pre-booked.
|Even if you're intending to use your own Portable Oxygen Concentrator (POC) contact PMCU.|
|Pneumothorax (deflated lung)||You cannot fly unless the condition is fully resolved for at least 7 days (14 days if traumatic pneumothorax).||If you had this condition within a month of the date you want to fly contact PMCU.|
|Stroke||If you are feeling well enough and your symptoms are stable or improving you can fly after 5 - 14 days.||If you had a stroke within 14 days of the date you want to fly contact PMCU.|
|Epilepsy||You should not travel within 24 hours of a major seizure.||No|
|Ear or sinus infection||
The air in your middle ear and sinuses needs to be able to stabilise when you fly by allowing your ears to pop. Do not fly if your ears or sinuses feel blocked. You may suffer severe pain or perforate your eardrums causing long-term damage.
|Middle ear surgery||10 days||No|
|Cataract surgery and corneal laser surgery||1 day||No|
|Other eye surgery||At least 6 days (if gas introduced into your eye 2-6 weeks to allow any gas to be reabsorbed)||
If you had gas introduced into your eye (e.g. for treatment of detached retina) please contact PMCU who may need a report from your doctor.
|Anaemia||If your haemoglobin is below 8.5g/dl please let us know.||Contact PMCU|
|Circulatory conditions, e.g. Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT)||If you had recent circulatory conditions, such as DVT but have been discharged from hospital and your condition is resolved you should be fit to fly.||Contact PMCU|
If you have an infectious disease and while it is still contagious, we are not allowed to carry you in line with International Health Regulations.
||Contact your doctor or PMCU to find out the infectivity period of your illness.|
|Sickle cell disease||
|Medical condition||You can travel after:||Do you need to contact us?|
If you have a broken bone and a plaster cast fitted you cannot fly within:
There are no restrictions travelling with a shoe boot.
If you have a full leg cast you can travel in our First and Club World (business long haul) cabins that offer more legroom. To be able to travel in our other cabins you will need to buy an extra seat (or seats) with moveable armrests so you can elevate your leg. Typically a child would require one extra seat, and an adult would require two extra seats.
|In some circumstances these restrictions may not apply so please contact our PMCU to discuss your individual situation.|
Traveller’s thrombosis or Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a vein, usually in the lower legs. Research has confirmed that if you are sitting in an aircraft, car, bus or train for more than four hours the risk of a blood clot forming may increase.
If you think any of the factors above may affect you, seek medical advice before travelling. Your doctor may advise that compression stockings or anti-coagulant medication can help to avoid the possibility of DVT.
If you recently had a DVT but have been discharged from hospital and your condition is resolved you should be fit to fly. Please contact PMCU to advise if you need to get medical clearance.
If your diabetes is stable you can fly with no restrictions, however you need to take care that you look after yourself during your trip.
Here's some key information for travelling with medicines, medical supplies or medical equipment. If you have any additional questions please contact PMCU.
If you do not have this letter, you will need to pay excess baggage charges for any bags that are in addition to your baggage allowance. A visual check of your medical bags may also be carried out to check their contents.
In addition, you may need this letter to assist with other countries customs and immigration departments as well as local security requirements.
|Gas cylinders for mechanical limbs||
|Epipens and hypodermic needles||
|Portable dialysis machines||
|Portable medical electronic devices containing lithium ion/metal batteries (e.g. defibrillators)||
Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POC)
|Radioisotopic cardiac pacemakers and radiopharmaceuticals||
Tablets and capsules
If you need to dispose of needles, lancets, syringes or empty insulin cartridges on board please ask the cabin crew for the sharps box; please do not leave the items in the toilets or seat pockets.
(including connecting flights to and from long haul segments)
British Airways will no longer be able to provide therapeutic oxygen on short-haul flights for flights departing on or after 1 February 2018. This also includes short haul segments connecting to and from long haul flights.
Customers requiring therapeutic oxygen on short haul flights will be required to make their own provisions for all short haul segments of their itinerary. Acceptable therapeutic oxygen provisions are outlined below. Customers need to obtain medical clearance for approval of their own therapeutic oxygen provisions. Medical forms should be despatched to the medical clearance team a minimum of 7 days prior to departure.
Portable Oxygen Concentrators
We can only provide in-flight therapeutic oxygen to one person on board so if you need to use oxygen you must book it in advance. It's important to contact the Passenger Medical Clearance Unit to check availability prior to booking your flights. Please note we cannot provide oxygen on the ground at an airport.
On board our Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 aircraft we offer the Avia Technique Pulse dose cylinder: Oxygen is provided ‘on demand’ and your Doctor will need to confirm that you can use this.
There is no charge for in-flight therapeutic oxygen.
If therapeutic oxygen is required, you will need medical clearance to fly. Please allow the medical clearance team 48 hours to process your request. Medical forms should be despatched to the team a minimum of 7 days prior to departure.
If you have a food allergy, we can offer special meals that exclude a variety of potential allergens, e.g. seafood, dairy and gluten. You can find out more about food allergens in our meals. You can also check the label on the packaging, or ask a member of your cabin crew.
To request a special meal go to Manage My Booking.
We're unable to heat or refrigerate any food items you might bring with you. If you prefer to consume your own food, we would suggest to opt for non-perishable food. Please also check the different quarantine laws of your transit and/or destination with respect to food types permitted into the country.
Severe allergic reactions on board are rare but if you suffer from a severe allergy always speak to your doctor before you book to discuss potential risks and how you can minimise becoming ill on your trip.
We cannot guarantee an allergen-free cabin environment or prevent other passengers from bringing their own food on board. We use the recommendations of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for allergen-sensitive passengers to make sure your flight is as comfortable as we can make it.
Here are a few examples of how you can prepare:
Specific advice for peanut or tree nut allergy sufferers
We are required by the World Health Organisation (WHO) or local Health Authorities to spray the inside of the aircraft before arrival into certain destinations to prevent the risk of insects spreading highly dangerous diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever.
On routes where we are required to spray, cabin crew will advise that spraying is about to take place. This will give you the opportunity to cover your eyes and nose if you wish. The spray clears from the aircraft in a few minutes.
The sprays contain synthetic pyrethroids, which are widely used. The World Health Organisation (WHO) assesses the safety of insecticides and recommends the use of the following synthetic pyrethroids:
For flights to Australia, the aircraft must be sprayed prior to departure from Singapore with a Permethrin insecticide spray.
|BA Flights arriving into the UK which require disinsection|
|Country||Flights departing from:|
|Brazil||Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo|
|China||Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai|
|Costa Rica||San Jose|
|Dominican Republic||Punta Cana|
|India||Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai|
|Korea, Republic of||Seoul|
|Mexico||Cancun, Mexico City|
|Saudi Arabia||Riyadh, Jeddah|
|South Africa||Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg|
* Request from Madeira health authorities (2015) due possible Dengue fever risk
|BA Flights departing from the UK which require disinsection|
|Flights to:||Flights arriving at:|
|India||Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai|
|BA Shuttle routes outside the UK which require disinsection|
|Flights departing from:||Flights arriving at:|
|Port of Spain||St Lucia|
|St Lucia||Port of Spain|
Please check if you need any travel vaccinations for your destination before you travel. You can find more information about your country of travel and any medical information on the IATA Travel Centre.
In the UK, our preferred travel partner for health services is MASTA (Medical Advisory Services for Travellers Abroad). They have the largest network of travel clinics across the UK and offer expert travel medicine advice and treatment, including a comprehensive immunisation service and a wide range of anti-malarial drugs.
If you were vaccinated at one of our BA Travel Clinics before they closed in August 2006 and need a letter confirming your vaccination or a duplicate certificate of your Yellow Fever vaccination, please write to British Airways Health Services (see below address). Please note that we can only trace back vaccination information as far as 2002.
Please provide the following information:
|For a letter confirming your vaccination:||For a duplicate certificate of your Yellow Fever vaccination:|
There's an administrative charge of £10 for this service, which you need to pay by cheque made payable to British Airways Health Services.
British Airways Health Services - Travel Clinic records
British Airways Plc
PO Box 365
The following illnesses can be contagious, we’ve put together some guidance on when you can travel.
|Chickenpox||6 days after the last crop of spots providing the spots have crusted/scabbed over and the passenger feels well and has no fever. You will require a letter from your Doctor confirming you are no longer contagious.|
|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 - you will require a letter from your Doctor stating you are no longer contagious.|
|Mumps||8 days after the swelling began. You must feel well and have no fever.|
|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.|
|Flu||Once your symptoms have resolved.|
Normal Term. British Airways is able to carry new born children born at normal term (40 weeks) with no medical complications once they are more than 1 week old. These children need no prior medical clearance.
Premature Infants. British Airways is able to carry premature infants born at more than 37 weeks gestation, with no medical complications, once they have reached the normal delivery date (40 weeks) plus one week. These infants need no prior medical clearance.
Children born at less than 37 weeks gestation that were born with no medical complications can be considered for carriage once they have reached normal term (40 weeks) plus one week but they will require medical clearance until they reach 12 months old.
Children born at less than 37 weeks gestation that were born with any respiratory complications (e.g. neonatal chronic lung disease / bronchopulmonary dysplasia etc) cannot be considered for carriage until they have reached normal delivery date (40 weeks) plus 6 months. From normal term plus 6 months old until they reach their first birthday, they will require medical clearance.
In both cases please contact PMCU prior to booking.
Babies with any significant condition, such as cardiac disease, or any other condition requiring medical support, e.g. oxygen, medication, treatment during flight, should be discussed with PMCU prior to booking.
Please download the medical information form (pdf, 650kb, English only) and fill out.