Travelling if you have a medical condition can be daunting but most of the time you can travel without doing anything any differently. Sometimes you may need to take precautions and this information will help you understand what you need to be aware of.
We also recommend you buy suitable medical insurance as medical charges and repatriation costs can be very expensive depending on the country you are visiting. We 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 are confirming and paying for your flights.
Some medical conditions mean you need to talk to us before your flight so we can make sure you are fit to fly.
Conditions that may require medical clearance are:
You will need to complete part one of our MEDIF form and ask your doctor to complete part two. Once you have sent the form to our Passenger Medical Clearance Unit (PMCU) we will be able to consider your request and tell you whether you are fit to fly.
We assess your fitness based on internationally accepted criteria so we can be sure you have a safe and comfortable flight. In some cases we may ask for additional information or ask you to travel with a medical escort or supplementary oxygen.
British Airways and OpenSkies have a dedicated Passenger Medical Clearance team who process all completed medical paperwork. They will assess your fitness to fly and advise accordingly.
|Telephone||+ 44 (0) 20 8738 5444|
|Fax||+ 44 (0) 20 8738 9644|
|Email the Passenger Medical Clearance Unit|
If your medical equipment contains batteries there may be restrictions that apply. British Airways has a dedicated Safety Team that will advise whether your electrical medical equipment can be carried on the aircraft. If you're flying on OpenSkies, please contact OpenSkies direct.
|Telephone||+ 44 (0) 20 8738 8357|
|Fax||+ 44 (0) 20 8738 9313|
You need to be very careful if you're considering flying after an operation or illness. Please consult with your doctor before booking your flight to confirm they're happy for you to fly.
The details below 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 are in any doubt, please contact us.
|Medical condition||You can travel after:||Do you need to contact us?|
|Major chest, abdominal or cranial surgery. Middle ear surgery.||10 days|
|Cataract surgery and corneal laser surgery.||1 day|
|Other eye surgery.||At least 6 days||If you have had gas introduced into your eye (e.g. for treatment of detached retina) please |
contact our PMCU* who may require reports from your treating doctor.
|Appendectomy or abdominal keyhole surgery.||4 days|
|Angioplast.||You can usually fly after 3 to 5 days if the procedure went well.||Contact our PMCU*|
|Heart surgery.||If you feel well you can travel after 10 days but we suggest you wait until after 4 weeks if possible.|
|Heart attack.||You should not fly within 7 days and then only fly if it’s essential to do so. We suggest you are better to wait until after 4 weeks.|
|Angina sufferers.||If you don’t have regular attacks you can fly at any time but always carry your medication in your hand baggage.|
|Stable asthma.||You can travel at any time but always carry your inhalers with you in your hand baggage.|
|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 oxygen in flight which must be pre-booked.
|Even if you are intending to use your own POC, please contact our PMCU*.|
|Pneumothorax (deflated lung).||You cannot fly unless the condition is fully resolved for at least 7 days.||Contact our PMCU* if you’ve suffered this condition within a month of the date you want to fly.|
|Stroke.||If you are feeling well enough and your symptoms are stable or improving you can fly after 3 days.||Contact our PMCU* if you’ve had a stroke within 10 days of the date you want to fly.|
|Epilepsy.||You should not travel within 24 hours of a grand mal fit (seizure).|
|Ear or sinus infection.||Do not fly if your ears or sinuses feel blocked. |
You may suffer severe pain or perforate your eardrum causing long term damage. The air in your middle ear and sinuses needs to be able to stabilise when you fly by allowing your ears to pop.
If you suffer a broken bone and have a plaster cast fitted you cannot fly within:
If you have a full leg cast you can travel in our First and Club World cabin.
In some circumstances these restrictions may not apply but you need to contact our PMCU* to discuss your individual case.
|Anaemia.||If your haemoglobin is below 7.5g/dl please let us know.||Contact our PMCU*|
|Infectious disease.||International Health Regulations stop us carrying you if you are suffering from an infectious disease while it is still contagious.||Contact your doctor or contact our PMCU* to find out the infectivity period of your illness.|
|Travelling with a medical escort.||Sometimes, even if your medical condition is serious, you can still travel but it must be with medical escort. We recommend you book this through a recognised medical assistance company who specialise in this type of work.|
|*Passengers Medical Clearance Unit|
If you need to use oxygen on board you must book it in advance. We can only provide oxygen to one passenger per flight so availability may be restricted. The medical information form needs to be completed by you and your doctor before we can clear you to travel. We cannot provide oxygen on the ground at any airports.
British Airways has introduced the Avia Technique Pulse dose cylinder onboard our A380 and B787 aircrafts. The Pulse dose uses less oxygen as it is provided ‘on demand’. Please ensure that your doctor completes Part 2 of the MEDIF form to confirm that you can use the pulsed oxygen system.
If you have any additional questions please contact our PMCU.
You can use a battery-operated nebuliser on board except during taxi, take-off, descent and landing. It is not possible to supply mains power.
Most of the time you can take this equipment on board or pack it in your checked baggage. If this means you will exceed your free baggage allowance, contact our PMCU otherwise you may be charged at the airport for your overweight bag.
A portable oxygen concentrator (POC) can be carried on board as part of your hand baggage allowance if it is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). If you think that you'll need to use your portable oxygen concentrator during the flight, please contact PMCU to obtain medical clearance before you fly.
You should carry sufficient back up battery supply to cover a minimum of 150% of the planned flight (including transiting time).
If you need to dispose of needles, lancets, syringes or empty insulin cartridges on board please ask the cabin crew for the sharps box; do not leave the items in the toilets or seat pockets.
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.
Factors increasing the risk of DVT include:
If you think any of the factors above may affect you, seek medical advice before travelling. You may be advised that compression stockings or anti-coagulant medication may help to avoid the possibility of DVT.
You can reduce the risk of DVT by:
We understand that pregnancy is not a medical condition but for your safety, and your baby’s, you cannot fly after:
After 28 weeks you must carry confirmation from your doctor or midwife (such as a letter or certificate, in addition to your pregnancy record) confirming your approximate due date and that there are no complications with your pregnancy.
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.
Food allergies vary by type and severity. Common allergies include peanuts, tree nuts, gluten, dairy, shellfish and strawberries. You can request a special or medical meal to exclude a variety of potential allergens e.g. seafood, dairy and gluten.
Severe allergic reactions on board are rare, but if you suffer from a severe allergy you may want to consider the following precautions before you fly.
We cannot guarantee a nut free cabin, 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.
Always speak to your doctor before you book to travel to discuss the potential risks and how you can minimise becoming ill on your trip. If you have been prescribed an epinephrine/adrenaline auto injector like Epipen, Anapen, Twinject or Jext make sure you carry this with you in your hand baggage, clearly labelled and accessible throughout the flight in the seat pocket or on you personally. We also recommend you tell the people around you where you have placed the medication and what to do in an emergency just in case.
Please talk to your doctor about the many things you can do to be prepared in case you come into contact with an allergen.
Here are a few examples to think about:
British Airways are unable to heat or cold store any food items you might bring with you, so if you do prefer to consume your own food, non-perishable food is best. You should also check the different quarantine laws of your transit and/or destination with respect to food types permitted into the country.
We are required by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to spray the aircraft cabin on arrival into certain destinations to prevent the risk of insects spreading highly dangerous disease, such as malaria and dengue fever.
On routes where we are required to spray, cabin crew will read out a brief statement advising you 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.
Contents of the insecticides
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:
N.B. Aircraft entering Australia and New Zealand need to be sprayed twice - initially with Permethrin residual insecticide and then with a Phenothrin spray.
|BA flights arriving into the UK|
|Country||Flights departing from|
|Brazil||Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo|
|China||Beijing, Chengdu, Hong Kong, Shanghai|
|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, Johannesburg|
|BA flights departing from the UK|
|Flights to:||Flights arriving at:|
|India||Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai|
|BA shuttle routes outside the UK|
|Flights departing from:||Flights arriving at:|
|Port of Spain||St Lucia|
|St Lucia||Port of Spain|
Our preferred travel partner for health services is MASTA (Medical Advisory Services for Travellers Abroad). As a health provider they have a network of travel clinics across the UK. They provide expert travel medicine advice and treatment including a comprehensive immunisation service and a wide range of anti-malarial drugs.
Useful information about their central London clinic
BA Travel Clinics vaccination records
If you were vaccinated at one of our BA Travel Clinics before they closed in August 2006, we may have copies of your vaccination records. If you need a letter confirming these, please write to the address below stating your name, address, data of birth, contact number and enclose a stamp addressed envelope. Please note that information will only be traced back as far as 2002.
However, we do provide duplicate current Yellow Fever certificates. Please write to the address below stating your name, address, date of birth, contact telephone number, month and year of your Yellow Fever vaccination and enclose a stamp addressed envelope. An administrative charge of £10 is made for this service which should be paid by cheque made payable to British Airways Health Services.
British Airways Health Services - Travel Clinic records
British Airways Plc
PO Box 365
Harmondsworth UB7 0GB
Visit the IATA website for vaccination requirements and information regarding your country of travel and any medical information that you need to know about before you fly.