Medical conditions that prevent you from flying commercially: why are you not allowed on board

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There are many hidden dangers surrounding the world of air travel. With research outlining the different risks associated with flying, some travelers are concerned about taking the plane, especially if they have a pre-existing medical condition. Several factors, the change in air pressure, lack of medical help onboard or lack of medical equipment, may lead to medical emergencies mid-air. Hence, in a lot of cases, airline companies refuse access to travelers with unstable health conditions. 

This article will look at the different risks of a patient flying commercially and the reasons which would prohibit them from boarding the plane. In cases of urgent travel planes, air ambulances are an alternative to commercial planes. These have been designed specifically for patient transportation, which means that they are risk-free, even for patients with a medical condition. 

Dangers of flying commercially: what are the risks to your health

Whether you are planning to travel for vacation, for a work trip, to visit relatives or even to obtain medical treatment abroad (medical tourism), it is important to be aware of the risks of taking a plane.

While flying may seem like a normal, but tiring, activity to healthy passengers, those with a compromised immune system, have to be extra careful not to cause any more damage to their health. This is applicable to travelers with a pre-existing medical condition, babies and infants, pregnant women or even the elderly.

pregnant woman in airplane 

What are some of the risks of traveling by a commercial plane? 

Some of the most common examples of the hazards linked to commercial flights are: 

  • Hearing damage (ear barotrauma or perforated (ruptured) eardrum
  • Disruption of the body's biological clock which is caused by the time and other differences between the two countries 
  • Dehydration: a result of exposure to the low humidity levels inside the aircraft
  • Increased possibility of blood clots occurring (deep vein thrombosis- DVT) which results from sitting for too long in a cramped position
  • Anxiety and psychological stress
  • Mood swings
  • Depression: because of the isolating feeling caused by traveling for too long and being distant from loved ones
  • A general feeling of malaise and discomfort
  • Increased exposure to infectious diseases such as the flu
  • Travel fatigue causing loss of concentration 
  • Diseases that may be caused by bacteria and microbe

 Diseases that prevent you from boarding a plane 

The change in cabin pressure means that less oxygen is taken up by the body, leading to gases within the body expanding. While this is usually not an issue for healthy passengers, it can worsen the health of patients with certain medical conditions. Being aware of this, airline companies might refuse to take a passenger with a medical condition that may aggravate mid-air

brain tumour

What are some diseases that may prevent you from boarding a plane? 

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • A recent stroke
  • Infectious diseases, such as chickenpox, influenza or even COVID-19
  • A recent surgery
  • A pregnancy of over 28 weeks 
  • Angina (chest pain at rest)
  • Decompression sickness (also called The bends)
  • Intracranial pressure (as a result of bleeding, an injury or an infection)
  • An ear infection
  • Recent heart attack
  • A recent injury resulting in trapped air or gas being present inside the body 
  • Severe long-term mental diseases or psychotic illness 
  • Shortness of breath at rest
  • Diseases that require additional oxygen
  • Pneumothorax that has not been treated (perforated lung)
  • Sickle cell disease

Medical flights: an alternative to commercial flights 

What happens if you have one of the medical conditions mentioned above and you imperatively need to travel? What if the risks associated with boarding a commercial plane are too dangerous because of your medical condition

The solution to your problems would be medical flights. These are alternative flying options that allow patients to travel across continents without worrying about their health deteriorating. In fact, the goal of air ambulance service providers, such as Medical Air Service, is to transport patients from one location to another while ensuring their safety. 

Air ambulances for patients who cannot fly commercially 

One option for patients who cannot fly commercially is via air ambulance planes. These are private jets that are fitted with medical equipment. Medical Air Service has equipped its air ambulances with the latest appliances; similar to those in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). As such, we can even transport patients requiring constant care in our ambulance planes. 

ambulance jet

Besides the medical equipment, we also have doctors and paramedics on board the planes to oversee the patient’s conditions, to care for them and to provide treatment in case of an emergency mid-flight. In most cases, an air ambulance is the only means via which patients can travel from one location to another without compromising on their safety and health. 

Medical Air Service organizes both medical evacuation and medical repatriation flights. Whether you want to fly out of your home country or come back to it, we can schedule a flight for you without wasting time. 

Advantages offered by Medical Air Services  

Medical Air Service offers patients who cannot board commercial planes a whole set of benefits. Some of these are: 

  • Worldwide operation: we can conduct air ambulance flights from anywhere in the world, even in remote locations
  • Our air ambulances can land at/ take off from smaller airports that are usually inaccessible to commercial flights, reducing the need for ground transportation
  • We have expert aviation agents who will advise you on the right air ambulance option for you based on your situation
  • The price of the air ambulance is customized based on your needs to avoid any overcharge. 
  • We offer a bed-to-bed service which involves picking you up from your house and taking you to the airport and vice versa
  • An air ambulance offers more privacy
  • The departure date can usually be scheduled based on your preferences
  • We can organize sea-level flights which means that we can control the cabin pressure so that it is similar to the pressure at sea-level
  • We have COVID-19 isolation pods which allow us to transport even patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus. 
  • Pediatric incubators for babies enable the safe transportation of even infants
  • Our multilingual aviation experts are available 24/7

Contact us for an air ambulance

If you need to travel but cannot do so commercially or you are too afraid of potential complications that can occur mid-air, get in touch with us. We have a team of aviation experts ready to advise you on the best solution depending on your needs and to start planning your medical flight. 



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