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Medical information

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Most people with existing medical conditions are able to fly without difficulty. However, certain precautions sometimes need to be taken and in some cases we request medical clearance.

In these pages you will also find information on travelling when pregnant, medical problems during a flight and fear of flying.

Illnesses restricting air travel

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If you have any of the following illnesses or conditions, you may not be permitted to travel:

  • recent myocardial infarction
  • recent cerebral circulatory disorders
  • recent injuries
  • recent surgeries
  • symptomatic coronary disease
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • a need for oxygen therapy
  • psychoses
  • an infectious disease (tuberculosis, diphtheria)
  • anaemia (Hb less than 75 g/l)
  • chickenpox in the vesicle phase

If you have one of the illnesses or conditions above, you must notify us when you book your ticket, or at least 72 hours before your travel date. This will enable us to take appropriate precautionary measures. Please fill out an air travel Medical Information Form (MEDIF) and ensure that it reaches us at least 72 hours before your departure.

Cabin attendants are not required to give special assistance to a particular passenger, as they are responsible for the safety of everyone on board. The cabin crew are trained in first aid only and are not authorised to administer injections or medication. The cabin crew are not permitted to store medicines during the flight.

Medical problems during a flight

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First aid

All Finnair aircraft are equipped with medical oxygen, first aid supplies, an emergency medical kit, an intravenous kit for doctors and an infection kit for use in case of an acute illness during the flight. This equipment will be used by the cabin crew for the protection of passengers and staff in the event that someone on board is suffering from an infection or is suspected of carrying an infectious disease.

The cabin crew are also trained to use a defibrillator to treat acute heart arrhythmia. Defibrillators are carried on board our Airbus A319, A320, A321, A340-300, Airbus A330-300 and Boeing 757 aircraft.

Circulatory problems on long flights

Sitting upright in a stationary position for a long period of time increases the amount of fluid accumulated in the lower extremities, resulting in swollen feet. Prolonged immobility may be a risk factor in the formation of blood clots in the legs (deep-vein thrombosis), so it's a good idea to move your legs and feet every hour or so.

In-flight exercises

  1. Make fists with both hands, then open them rapidly. Repeat ten times.
  2. Remove your shoes. Place both feet flat on the floor, then lift up the balls of your feet and spread your toes apart while pressing your heels against the floor, hold for five seconds, then relax; now, press the balls of your feet against the floor and raise your knees (you can increase the effectiveness of this exercise by pressing down on your knees with your hands), hold for five seconds, then relax. Repeat the entire exercise ten times.
  3. Press your palms against the seat cushion and lift one knee toward your chin, then relax; repeat, but this time with your other knee. Perform the entire exercise several times.
  4. Hang your foot in the air by lifting your thigh with your hands; rotate your foot ten times in one direction and ten times in the other direction, then relax; do the same with your other foot. Repeat five times.
  5. Turn your chin slowly toward your right shoulder and hold the tension for five seconds; repeat, but this time toward your chest; repeat, but this time toward your left shoulder. Perform the exercise five times.
  6. Lift both shoulders slowly up toward your ears, then relax and allow your shoulders to return to their natural positions. Repeat several times.
  7. With both feet on the floor, run your palms down your thighs and legs toward your ankles, allowing your back to curve forward naturally; then, bring your hands up slowly and straighten your back. Repeat five times.
  8. Clench your seat muscles forcefully for five seconds, then relax. Repeat five times.

Ear symptoms caused by changes in cabin pressure

The middle-ear cavity is connected to the nasopharynx through the Eustachian tube and therefore to the outside air. The Eustachian tube balances the air pressure in the middle ear, protecting the eardrum in the event of fluctuations in air pressure. During take off and landing, the air pressure inside the cabin will change slightly, which may affect your ears – this is completely normal.

During your flight, your Eustachian tubes may become partially blocked – due, for example, to cold or allergy – and it may take longer than usual for the pressure in your middle ear to normalise in response to changes in cabin pressure. This can cause symptoms such as earache and may result in infection in the middle-ear cavity.

Tips for alleviating ear symptoms during a flight

  • Ear symptoms can be prevented or relieved using the nasal drops and sprays available from most pharmacies. If you have nasal drops, you should administer them deep into each nostril with your head back and as close to horizontal as possible. This allows the fluid to drip down into your throat and pass into your Eustachian tubes, helping them to stay open. Use your nasal drops or spray 20–30 minutes before the aircraft starts to descend.
  • When the aircraft descends, you can help your ears adjust to the changing pressure by holding your nose, closing your mouth and breathing out, forcing air into you middle ears. Swallowing and yawning may also help.

Allergies and special dietary needs

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If you have special dietary needs for health or religious reasons, you can order a special in-flight meal.

We cannot guarantee that the meals served on our flights do not include ingredients that may cause allergies nor that the cabin is free of the remnants of such allergens. Finnair recognizes that some passengers may be allergic to nuts or other ingredients. Nevertheless, we do serve nut products and there may be trace elements of unspecified nut ingredients in meals and snacks. We make no provisions to be nut-free. Additionally, other customers may bring nuts on board. Therefore we cannot guarantee a nut-free environment on a Finnair operated flight. When making your travel arrangements, we recommend that you assess the extent of any allergies or other medical conditions to ensure that air travel is the right choice for you in regard to allergic reactions.

Due to the effective air-conditioning on board our aircraft, the risk of being exposed to animal allergens is very small. However, if you are allergic to animals, please let us know when you book your tickets, so that we can ensure that no cat or dog reservations are subsequently made for that flight. If there is already a cat or dog reservation for your intended flight, we will let you know and help you find another flight, if required.

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