For most of us, flying is a safe way to travel. However, the pressurised cabin can potentially affect passengers with existing medical conditions.
For passengers suffering from conditions like heart or lung disease, or blood disorders such as anaemia (including sickle cell anaemia), the lower oxygen levels could lead to oxygen deprivation (hypoxia), making additional oxygen supplies necessary.
Additionally, the lower air pressure means that air within the cabin is expanded by about 30%. This could cause problems for passengers who have recently undergone surgery, have abdominal health problems, or blocked ears or sinuses.
If you think you may need additional oxygen or have any concerns please contact our Special Assistance team. (opens in a new window) You’ll also find further information below.
Please take note of the following situations. You cannot fly if:
You have been SCUBA diving within 48 hours prior to your flight (however, see below for more information)
You’ve had a general anaesthetic or dental treatment within 48 hours prior to your flight
Conditions that may be affected by flying
If you are affected by any of the following conditions, you should check your doctor is happy for you to fly. You should also check with our Special Assistance team in case you require medical clearance to fly. Certain conditions may mean we require written confirmation from your doctor:
To reduce the risk of decompression sickness, you will need to leave ample time between your last SCUBA dive and your flight.
If you have only had a single dive, you may fly 24 hours after, if the dive did not include decompression stops.
If your dive involved a decompression stop or you’ve been on more than one dive, you should leave 48 hours before you fly.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a serious condition where blood clots develop, most often within the deep veins of the legs. Anyone sitting for more than four hours is at risk of developing DVT, but you may be at greater risk if you:
In order to protect passengers, agriculture and the environment, our cabin crew will spray insecticide in the passenger cabins at the start or end of some flights depending on their point of departure and/or origin.
You can find out more information from the US Department of Transport (opens in a new window).
If you’d like further advice after seeing your medical practitioner, you may find the following contacts useful: