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Medical information

 

Important medical information for your journey

If you have an existing medical condition, you should be able to fly on a commercial aircraft without difficulty. However, you may need to take some precautions, so we're here to advise you what to do. We only request medical clearance when fitness to travel is in doubt.

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate any stretchers in our aircraft cabins.



 

Passenger Medical Clearance Unit (PMCU) contact details

If you are flying with us and you have a condition that may affect you in-flight, please contact the PMCU. The PMCU deals with over 650 medical clearance cases every month and will be able to advise you, your doctor or other healthcare professionals about your fitness to fly.

Medical clearance is only considered upon receipt of the medical information (or MEDIF) forms. Please fill in part 1 yourself and ask your doctor to fill in part 2.

Download the MEDIF form parts 1 and 2 (PDF - 650KB, English only)

If you have any queries, you can contact the PMCU team by:

  • Telephone: +44 (0)20 8738 5444
  • Fax: +44 (0)20 8738 9644
  • Email: pmcu.pmcu@ba.com
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Disability assistance

It's important that you have access to the right services and care throughout your journey, so please read our information for people with disabilities as you may need to contact us before you fly.

Find out about disability assistance

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Medical clearance and fitness to fly

Most people with existing medical conditions are able to fly without difficulty. However, certain precautions sometimes need to be taken.

We strongly recommend that you check any vaccination requirements at least six weeks before you fly and ensure that you have adequate travel insurance to cover medical costs should you become ill whilst you are away from home.

Medical clearance to fly is required when:

  • fitness to travel is in doubt as a result of recent illness, hospitalisation, injury or surgery
  • you have an existing unstable medical condition
  • special services such as oxygen or the use of medical equipment on board is needed
  • you are travelling for medical reasons or treatment.

Most medical cases are straightforward but others require individual assessment. In some cases, we may ask that you travel with a medical escort or with supplementary oxygen (for which a charge is made).

In common with most airlines, we assess your fitness to fly based on internationally accepted criteria; the aim is to ensure that you have a safe, comfortable and uneventful journey.

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate any stretchers in our aircraft cabins.

Download the World Health Organisation fitness to fly information (PDF - 84KB)

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In-flight oxygen

We can provide in-flight oxygen on all our aircraft; it is restricted to one passenger per flight so contact our Passenger Medical Clearance Unit for availability and advice regarding flow rates.

Medical clearance is required; you must fill out the MEDIF form below, Part 1 should be filled out by you (alternatively by your Sales Office/Agent). Part 2 need to be completed by your treating Doctor. When the form is complete please return it to the Passenger Medical Clearance Unit within British Airways. The return address is on page 2 of the form, or fax to 020 8738 9644, or email pmcu.pmcu@ba.com
British Airways cannot provide ground oxygen whilst transiting through the airport. 
There is currently no charge for the provision of in-flight oxygen. 

Download the MEDIF form parts 1 and 2 (PDF - 650KB, English only)

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Flying after an illness or an operation


You must be extra careful about flying if you've had an operation or a serious illness, as travel can be stressful. It is wise not to travel if you don't feel up to it.

The following guide outlines the minimum time before it is advisable to travel after treatment or if you need to highlight your condition to us before travelling.

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate any stretchers in our aircraft cabins.



Travelling after surgery

Type of surgery Travel allowed after (number of days)
Major chest, abdominal or cranial surgery
Middle ear surgery
10 days
Cataract or corneal laser or other eye surgery
Introduction of gas into the eye for retinal detachment

1 day

6 days
Contact the PMCU, if the gas has not been resolved. Air retained in body cavities expands in flight.
Tonsillectomy 6 days
Appendectomy or abdominal keyhole surgery 4 days
Heart conditions  
Angioplasty If the procedure is straightforward, you can usually fly after 3 to 5 days but you should discuss it with the PMCU.
Heart surgery If you feel well enough and really need to fly, you can travel after 10 days but 4 to 6 weeks is preferable.
Heart attack You should not fly
  • within 7 days of a heart attack
  • only then if it's essential (e.g. if you need to be repatriated from overseas)
  • and, ideally, delay travel for up to 4 weeks or longer if there are any complications.
Angina sufferers As long as you don't have frequent attacks, there is no restriction. Remember to take your medication into the cabin with you.
Chest conditions  
Stable asthma This is not usually a problem as long as you take your inhalers with you.
Chronic bronchitis, emphysema or other forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease If you can walk (without extra oxygen) for 55 yds (50m) without getting breathless, you should be fit to fly.
If you can't walk this far:
  • you may be able to travel with supplementary oxygen
  • there is a charge for this service
  • it must be booked in advance through the PMCU
  • we will also need to discuss your condition with your doctor.
Pneumothorax (deflated lung) The condition has to be fully resolved for at least a week before flying, but you must contact the PMCU if you've had one in the month before you fly.
Neurological conditions  
Stroke If your symptoms are stable or improving and you feel well enough:
  • you can travel after 3 days
  • please talk to the PMCU if you have had a stroke within 10 days prior to your flight.
Epilepsy You should not travel within 24 hours of a grand mal fit.
Ear conditions  
Ear or sinus infection You should not fly if:
  • there is any possibility that your sinuses are blocked
  • the tube between your middle ear and the back of your mouth (the Eustachian tube) is blocked, you should not fly
Blockages can cause severe pain, perforation of the eardrum or other long-term damage. Under normal circumstances, the air in your middle ear and sinuses is able to enter and escape (i.e. when your ears pop).
Other conditions  
Broken bone If you have broken a bone and have been fitted with a plaster cast:
  • you cannot fly for 24 hours (if your flight is less than two hours)
  • you cannot fly for 48 hours (on longer flights)
  • if you have a full leg cast, you will be accepted into our First and Club World cabins. We will also accept full leg casts in our Euro Traveller and Domestic cabins provided you purchase an extra seat for elevation purposes (subject to availability of moveable armrests).
All these requirements can be lifted in certain circumstances following discussions with the PMCU.

Please contact our customer service teams to make provisions.

Any queries please contact Passenger Medical Clearance Unit on 020 8738 5444.

Anaemia If you have a haemoglobin below 7.5g/dl, particularly if it is of recent onset, it must be discussed with the PMCU.
Infectious disease The World Health Organisation prohibits airlines from carrying passengers suffering from an infectious disease whilst they are contagious.
Infectivity periods vary between illnesses and further information can be obtained from your doctor or through the PMCU.
Travelling with a medical escort after a serious illness or injury In some situations, patients who are ill are able to travel with appropriate medical escorts.
We prefer such cases to be organised by a recognised medical assistance company because of the specialised nature of this work.
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Guidance for Diabetics

As long as your Diabetes is stable, there are no restrictions on your ability to fly.

Please note:

  • if you are crossing time-zones, you may want to discuss how to manage your insulin regime with your healthcare professional
  • insulin does not generally require refrigeration; however, the cabin crew are unable to look after it for you on board
  • insulin should be carried as hand baggage and not in the aircraft hold where it may be frozen
  • insulin and all other medicines should be identifiable, preferably in its original packing
  • you should carry a prescription or a supporting written statement from your doctor to avoid problems with security or customs.

Advice from Diabetes UK

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Advice for food allergy sufferers

Food allergies can vary both in type and severity. Common food allergies include peanuts, tree nuts, gluten, dairy, shellfish and strawberries. Special and medical meals can be ordered to exclude a variety of food classes, such as seafood, dairy and gluten. You can learn what to expect when travelling with us and read about the options available to you on our food allergy page:

Travelling with food allergies

Severe allergic reactions on board the aircraft are rare, but passengers with particularly severe allergies should consider the following precautions when flying.

 

Cabin environment

British Airways can never guarantee a nut free cabin, and cannot prevent other passengers bringing their own food on board the aircraft to consume during the flight. We acknowledge and observe the recommendations for allergen sensitive passengers as recommended by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

If you have a known allergic reaction/sensitivity you should contact your treating doctors to discuss the travel risks. Your doctor will discuss the practical steps you should take to minimize and manage the risk of allergy if you have been prescribed an epinephrine/adrenaline auto injector (such as, but not limited, to Epipen, Anapen, Twinject or Jext). This should be carried in hand baggage and should be easily accessible throughout the flight (not stored in the overhead locker but on your person, or in the seat pocket in front of you, for example). You should also inform those travelling with you where you have placed the medication and what to do in an emergency.

Our crew are unable to make on board announcements or alert other customers to individual medical conditions.

 

Being prepared

You should discuss with your treating doctors the best way to minimize your risks and how to treat yourself in the event of an exposure to a known allergen. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Wearing a 'medi-alert' bracelet.
  • Advising the cabin crew and passengers around you of your allergy.
  • Ensuring the appropriate treatment for your allergy is at hand.
  • While all British Airways cabin crew are trained to recognise the symptoms of mild and severe (anaphylaxis) allergic reactions and administer Epipen if necessary, it is expected that travel companions, guardians or family members would administer treatment, should it be required.
  • Clearly label any prescribed medication to identify its name and the person to whom it is prescribed.
  • Make sure you carry an emergency treatment plan and a confirmation signed by your doctor of the need to carry the medication in your hand luggage to minimize problems at airport security.
  • 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 often best. You should also check the different quarantine laws of your transit and/or destination with respect to food types permitted into the country.
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Travelling with medicines or medical equipment


  • We advise you to take your medication in your hand baggage.
  • We cannot refrigerate medication for you. If your medicines need to be kept cool, a cool bag or vacuum flask may be appropriate or you should discuss options with your pharmacist.
  • If you are travelling with medical equipment, you may need to let us know in advance depending on the type of equipment (see separate list below).
  • Medical clearance is required for the use of most medical equipment as we need to ensure that you are fit to fly.
  • It is not possible to guarantee power supply while on board, so equipment must be capable of being battery-operated.
  • In normal circumstances, authorised medical equipment can be used on board except during taxi, take-off, approach and landing.
  • If you have any concerns, please contact the Passenger Medical Clearance Unit  (PMCU).

Medical equipment for use at your destination


You will need to make special arrangements to take essential medical equipment with you for use at your destination, which can be arranged through your booking agent.

Nebulisers


Battery-operated nebulisers can be used in-flight with the exception of take-off and landing. It is not possible to supply mains power and you need to notify the PMCU before you travel.

CPAP machine


  • Medical clearance is not required for the carriage or use of CPAP machines (used in the treatment of sleep apnoea) as fitness to travel will not be in doubt.
  • CPAP machines can be plugged into a laptop power-point, where available, with a suitable adaptor.
  • Maximum power output from the laptop points is 75 Watts and, if your equipment draws more than this, the outlet will be automatically deactivated.
  • We cannot guarantee that any of the laptop points will be serviceable. If you intend to use one in flight, we recommend that you use a dry-cell battery-operated device.

Portable dialysis machines


In most circumstances, you can take equipment with you. If it is likely that you will exceed baggage allowances, you should discuss it with Reservations or the PMCU in advance of travel and well before you arrive at the airport; otherwise, you may be liable to additional baggage charges.

Portable Oxygen Concentrators

  • Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POC) that are approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) can be used on-board. The POC is included in your cabin baggage allowance.

Find out more about our hand baggage allowance

  • You are responsible for travelling with a sufficient supply of batteries to last the entire journey (including transit and unexpected delays).
  • Medical clearance is required in order to use Portable Oxygen Concentrators on-board. To get clearance you must fill out the MEDIF-POC form below.
  • Part 1 should be filled out by you (alternatively by your Sales Office/Agent). Part 2 need to be completed by your treating Doctor. When the form is complete please return it to the Passenger Medical Clearance Unit within British Airways. The return address is on page 2 of the form.

Download the MEDIF form parts 1 and 2 (PDF - 650KB, English only)

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Disposal of medical equipment

All British Airways aircraft have a sharps box on board for disposal of needles, lancets, syringes or empty insulin cartridges.

Should you require a sharps box, please ask the crew and they will provide one for you.

Used medical equipment must not be placed in the seat pockets or toilets.

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Travellers' thrombosis (or DVT)

Travellers' thrombosis is better known as deep venous thrombosis (or DVT) and is the clotting of blood that usually occurs in the lower legs. DVT can occur in anyone at any time, although some individuals are more at risk than others. Recent research has confirmed that anyone seated in an aircraft, car, bus or train for more than four hours may also be at increased risk.

Factors increasing the DVT risk include:

  • age over 40
  • previous DVT or pulmonary embolism
  • history of DVT or pulmonary embolism in a close family member
  • use of oestrogen-therapy, oral contraceptives ('the Pill') or hormone-replacement therapy (HRT)
  • pregnancy
  • recent surgery or trauma, particularly to the abdomen, pelvic region or legs
  • cancer
  • some inherited blood-clotting abnormalities and other blood disorders.

You can reduce the DVT risk by following our advice:

  • drink adequate fluids
  • avoid smoking
  • avoid beverages that contain alcohol and caffeine before and during your flight
  • avoid crossing your legs while seated
  • walk around the cabin whenever you can
  • stand up in your seat area and stretch your arms and legs
  • carry out the foot and leg exercises advised in the well-being section of the High Life in-flight magazine and on the in-flight entertainment system
  • wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes when travelling.

If you have any of the additional risk factors listed, you should seek medical advice before travelling. In particular, you should discuss whether compression stockings would be appropriate and if anti-coagulant medication is necessary.

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Travelling while pregnant

Although pregnancy is not considered to be a medical condition and you are able to travel until quite late into your pregnancy, please note that:

  • you can travel up to the end of the 36th week for single pregnancies and the end of the 32nd week for multiple births (e.g. twins).
  • after 28 weeks, you need to carry a certificate from your doctor or midwife confirming the estimated date of delivery and that there are no complications with your pregnancy.
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Spraying the cabin


We are required by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to spray the aircraft cabin 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 in sanitation products.

The WHO assesses the safety of insecticides and recommends the use of the following synthetic pyrethroids:

  • D-phenothrin, which has lethal effects on domestic insect pests. It is used against mosquitoes, houseflies and cockroaches.
  • Permethrin, which is a broad spectrum insecticide used against a variety of pests.

N.B. Aircraft entering Australia and New Zealand need to be sprayed twice - initially with Permethrin residual insecticide and then with a Phenothrin spray.

Spraying the cabin is mandatory for the following routes:

 



BA Flights arriving into the UK which require disinsection

Country Flights departing from:
Algeria Algiers
Angola Luanda
Argentina Buenos Aires
Azerbaijan Baku
Bahamas Nassau
Brazil Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo
China Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai
Egypt Cairo
Ghana Accra
India Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai
Iran Tehran
Jamaica Kingston
Kenya Nairobi
Liberia Monrovia (after departure from Freetown)
Mexico Cancun, Mexico City
Nigeria Abuja, Lagos
Republic of Korea Seoul
Saudi Arabia Riyadh, Jeddah
Sierra Leone Freetown
South Africa Cape Town, Johannesburg
Thailand Bangkok
Uganda Entebbe
Zambia Lusaka

 

 



BA Flights departing from the UK which require disinsection

Flights to: Flights arriving at:
Argentina Buenos Aires
Barbados Barbados
India Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai
Jamaica Kingston
Kenya Nairobi

 

 



BA Shuttle routes outside the UK which require disinsection

Flights departing from: Flights arriving at: 
Antigua Tobago
Colombo Maldives
Grenada St Lucia
Maldives Colombo
Muscat Abu Dhabi
Port of Spain St Lucia
Punta Cana Antigua
Singapore Sydney
St Lucia Port of Spain
St Lucia Grenada
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MASTA Travel Clinics and vaccination records


British Airways Travel Clinics have now closed due to the closure of the British Airways Travel Shops with which we were co-located.


We have transferred our Travel Clinic business to MASTA (Medical Advisory Services for Travellers Abroad), who have become British Airways preferred partner for travel health services.

MASTA - British Airways preferred partner for travel health services


MASTA is a travel health provider with a network of travel clinics across the UK. They provide expert travel medicine advice and treatment to the travelling public, including a comprehensive immunisation service and a wide range of anti-malarial drugs.

  • MASTA's central London travel clinic is located close to Oxford Circus at 52 Margaret Street.
  • The clinic is open six days a week and operates an appointment and walk-in service.
  • To make an appointment at MASTA's Oxford Circus Travel Clinic, please phone 0845 600 2236 (from the UK).

Find out more about MASTA and their network of clinics

BA Travel Clinics vaccination records

British Airways will retain copies of customers vaccination records.  If you require a letter confirming these, please write to the address below stating your name, address, data of birth, contact number and enclose a stamped, 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 also 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 stamped, 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
Europe House
Waterside (HMAG)
PO Box 365
Harmondsworth UB7 0GB

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Passport, Visa, and health information

It is now easy to check your Passport, Visa, and Vaccination requirements for free. Please visit the IATA website for personalised information regarding your country of travel and any medical information that you need to be aware of before you fly.

IATA Travel Centre

 

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