British Lung Foundation

Fit to fly

Hi, I'm due for a week's holiday next month in Gran Canaria. I've booked a package with a well know company and I have asked for wheelchair because it's sometimes a long walk getting off the plane to the departure lounge. I've flown with them just about every year and never had problems with breathing on plane. My sats are usually 93/94 at rest. Because I have asked for assistance the holiday company say I have to produce a fit to fly letter from my doctor. My doctor says he will give me a letter stating my condition which is well maintained and stable but he will not commit himself to say I am fit to fly, possibly because he could be held liable if anything goes wrong. On relaying this to holiday firm they say unless it states I am fit to fly I will be refused to board the plane. Anyone have any knowledge of this?

19 Replies
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My GP wrote ‘ I would not advise this patient not to travel’. These fit to fly/travel letters seem to be becoming more of a problem with both the travel companies and the GPs protecting themselves and the patient stuck in the middle.

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Thank you for your reply.

So did you just show this at check in,

Getting worried as time is getting shor

Peter

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My respiratory consultant is always happy to do mine. I ring his secretary then drop off the form and they post it back to me.

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Thank you for your reply

Do you just hand this in at check in, can get report but not until the day before I fly

Peter

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I show it at check-in then hand it in to them as I am boarding.

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Thank you most helpful

Peter

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I believe there is a test that can determine whether you are fit to fly and I believe this can be done through your respiratory consultant, not sure if you have enough time to get this authorised by your consultant but you could try for it or maybe your respiratory consultant is fully aware of your current lung health and is ok to write a fit to fly without having the tests done.

caa.co.uk/Passengers/Before...

browse down to flying with a lung condition here: (it mentions the fit to fly test)

blf.org.uk/support-for-you/...

Hope you can get it all sorted in time.

Best wishes

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Ask for a thoracic xray ..

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Oooh you don’t have much time ahead to sort this out before you fly !

There is a difference between being ‘fit to fly ‘ and whether you need oxygen supplementation due to decreased cabin pressure in the air.

I recently flew with Delta and they produced a form for me to complete and GP to sign before they cleared me for flying.

Does this holiday company or the airline have a similar form which you could get completed ?

I recently had assistance at Heathrow to get from the lounges to the boarding gate but didn’t need to prebook that- just turned up at special assistance at the airport and they got me to the gate 😊 You should be able to board ahead of others if you need to.

Good luck and enjoy your holiday !

PollyP

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Now the airline know about your condition you will have to prove you are fit to fly as they don’t want to be liable if you are taken ill on board. Your doc probably can’t definitively say that you are without the specific Fit To Fly test being done. Call your GP and explain you need the test (also called a Hypoxic Challenge test) asap. Some surgeries charge a small fee for arranging. If you can’t get one in time on the NHS you can probably get one done privately if you can pay a few hundred pounds. Compared to the cost of your holiday this may be worth it. The hospital you see your consultant at probably has a private patients wing which will take self-paying patients. The Brompton in London does this for example. Once you have the test done, all travel becomes much simpler as you can produce the results when the airline asks. If you fail the test, you can still travel, you just need oxygen on board and there are lots of threads on here about that. Good luck!

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SusieQs

Can you separate the flights from the holiday package and travel by another airline to the same destination in Gran Canaria then pick up the holiday from there.?. The holiday company will have your name on a list by now and unless you satisfy their requirement you will likely have problems. With another airline you could have assisted boarding but it would mean paying for the flights separately (Additional cost). I regularly fly between Gatwick & Lanzarote on assisted boarding with Easyjet and as far as the flight goes I get no problems and the assisted boarding puts you at the front of the of the boarding passengers, gets you through customs quicker and takes you directly to the plane. You may get off last but you have to expect this.

IKeith

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Did you ask for only a wheelchair ? or assistance as well ? if just a wheelchair I am surprised as many people with wheelchairs travel all the time without letters of clearance and it may well be worth contacting the equalities commission and asking them if it is legal for the travel company to insist on a letter

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My first post. I flew to Tasmania this year in February and although I consulted with my GP it was more to do with a DVT that I had on a previous trip, and the advice was the usual thing ,compression socks ,don`t sit for too long -walk around every 3/4 hours and take aspirin. As far as my COPD ,Hypertension and cancers were concerned, full disclosures were made to my trip insurers and I booked via Trailfinders. I requested `meet and assist' and the Airlines did a first rate job. My point is at no time throughout this whole adventure was I asked`` are you fit to fly?'' Strange don't you think that I could fly to the other side of the world (22.5 hour trip) with comparative ease, but you get obstructed going on a 4hr trip to Grand Canaria !?

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Welcome to the forum. :)

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Unless you require on board oxygen there is no way you need a fit to fly form. I have travelled with the same holiday company for many years they provide oxygen for me and assisstance boarding my gp signs my form no problem, i think your doc is being over cautious

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I asked for a fit to fly my gp sent me to hospital for test i failed it but they said they will give it another try appointment for feb

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I have never been asked for a fit to fly test, and I use wheelchair assistance every time I fly from Manchester, which is once or twice a year, since 2008. The last time I flew, I checked my sats on both flights and found I had no problems - stayed around 98% to 100% - and reported it on this site after I got back in May this year.

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I have to speak to my lung consultant if I need a Fit to fly test and form. Before this I was told no flights over 3 hours. But now they have said that they will do the test but will not guarantee my return flight because my lungs have become infected in a short time on many occasions? (It was after a flight that my lungs failed in 2008)

Hope it all goes well

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Thanks to all for taking the time to reply. I'll let you know what happens in due course. x

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