by Sam Leaver


22 May 2018




For many people it’s so easy to hop on a plane and venture off for a week in the sun.

However, if you have recently had medical treatment that could be a different story.

But all is not lost – we’ve looked at a handful of medical conditions that might prevent you from flying, alongside some alternative ways to get to your dream destination

We recommend that you always check with your GP and airline prior to air travel.


1. COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

The air is pressurised whilst you are flying and this can vary depending on the size or the aeroplane and the height at which it flies.

This can cause breathing difficulties if you are living with COPD as the air is less saturated with oxygen.

Many airlines recommend avoiding long-haul flights.

It is important to declare COPD during medical screening when arranging your travel insurance. Here are a few questions you might be expected to answer:

• How many inhalers have been prescribed for your COPD?

• If you have had any hospital admissions in the past year?

• How short of breath you get when walking on the flat?


2. Strokes

There can sometimes be an increased risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and suffering from blood clots if you plan on flying and have recently suffered from a stroke or mini-stroke (TIA – Transient Ischaemic Attack).

Your GP or consultant will be able to confirm exactly when you are fit to fly.

Be sure to mention your stroke when arranging holiday insurance and ensure you have the following information to hand:

• How many stokes have you had in total?

• How long ago was your last stoke?

• Do you take medication to thin your blood?


3. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

DVT affects around 1 person in every 1,000 in the UK. The NHS website has some useful guidance on preventing DVT when you are travelling.

Your doctor will assess your individual circumstances and consider whether you are fit to fly, although it is recommended to avoid long haul flights if you have recently suffered from DVT.

We may need to ask the following questions in relation to your DVT:

• Did you have any clots in your lungs?

• Are you taking blood-thinning medication for your DVT?

• How many times have you had a clot?


4. An infectious disease

If you plan on flying having recently suffered from an infectious disease such as Influenza, you many need a Fit to Fly certificate. Always check your airlines guidelines as they reserve the right to refuse travel.

Your GP can supply you with a Fit to Fly certificate.

It’s important to declare anything you have suffered from before you take out your travel insurance. The questions will vary so it’s useful to have the questions we ask may vary depending on what infectious disease you have suffered from, however it is always useful to have dates and medications to hand.


5. Recent surgeries

Travelling by air will depend on the type of surgery you have had and the recovery time. For minor surgery you should be safe to travel after a week or two. For more complex surgery you may have to wait 3 months or more before travelling.

It is recommended to avoid long haul flights as this can increase discomfort, cause dehydration and/or restrict your blood flow (potentially leading to DVT).

When adding surgery to your policy please have the name of your procedure, dates and any medication you are taking to hand. This will help us to deal with your call efficiently.


Alternatives to flying

Travelling by plane can often be seen as the most convenient way to travel. It can be cheap and will get you to your destination quicker than most other methods of transport.

However, if you can’t fly because you are suffering from a medical condition or have had surgery, you shouldn’t have to miss out on a holiday – here are some alternatives:



One of the most accessible forms of travel, cruise companies are becoming an increasingly friendly way of travelling. You’ll often find pool lifts, ramp-access balconies and superb facilities, especially for those with mobility issues. Ask us about our specialist cruise insurance.


Planes are fast, but they aren’t scenic – do you miss the best bits of the place you’re visiting or country you’re travelling through when you’re at 35,000 feet? Not on a train you don’t – there are a variety of famous routes to choose from such as the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Orient Express.


Coach trips

Whether you’d like to travel within the UK or head across to the continent you can get some great deals if you’re schedule is flexible.


Travel Insurance

Don’t forget to arrange your travel insurance as soon as you have booked your trip.

We can cover hundreds of pre-existing medical conditions and there are no upper age limits on our travel insurance policies.

You’ll receive instant cover should you need to cancel your holiday* and it’s one less thing to remember before you travel.

Compare prices from lots of insurers online in minutes or alternatively call our customer service team (free) on 0800 294 2969.

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