Certificate of fitness to fly

I suffer from COPD and arranged to fly to Madeira next week to gat some winter warmth to help my condition. I have just been informed by TUI with whom I am travelling that I need a certificate of fitness to fly, without which I will be unable to travel. I approached my doctor only to be told that they are unable to do so??

Does anyone know whom I can approach now. Any help would be greatly appreciated.



61 Replies

Your consultant?

Ring your consultant's secretary. The consultant can fill in the forms provided by the airline for you and will usually do so free of charge. Arrange to drop off the forms and then either collect or ask that they be posted back to you.

Thank you

Hello Peter.

I am not quite understanding. Why won't your doctor give you a letter? What was their reason? xx

Our NHS, they don't want to take the responsbility I think 😁

😡 But they are responsible though for their patients. Either it's a " Yes, you are good do go" or "No, these are the reasons it's not in your best interest to fly". It must be so frustrating at times. 😐

What I meant was perhaps they're worried about being sued! Our health system is in crisis at the moment. Bit of a nightmare.

Oh. I am so unfamiliar with this kind of thinking. 😳

It's ridiculous I know.

If we can afford it we can pay health insurance and get care privately. Very well paying employers often pay the health insurance, sometimes for the whole family.

Sorry Peter, if you don't have a consultant perhaps you could approach a private GP?

That is the norm here. We all have health insurance. It's not free but it's heavily subsidised by employers and the government. It's a very different system.

Thank you

A gp is a generalist, a consultant is a specialist, seems more sensible to ask her

Just said not qualified to do so!! Needs to be a lung specialist

Just the same as me Peter. I fly to Gran Canaria next week with Tui, I've already written a post about it last week. My doctor will not issue a fit to fly certificate for anyone, no matter what their condition is. After phoning backwards and forwards between the doctor and Tui, the latter saying I will be refused to board the plane without this certificate. My only option is to take a letter from my doctor stating my condition and saying it has been well maintained, listing the medication I am taking. What else can I do? I haven't seen my consultant for three years, he discharged my care over to my doctor. Doctors have said they always give their patients these letters and have had no come back. I have flown with Tui for the last few years and never had this problem before. I have sat with oximeter in plane and sats remain my usual 93/94.

Ironically my friend whom I am travelling with has lung cancer and she does not need a fit to fly certificate. It is because we have said we have respiratory disease.

Here's hoping we take to the sky next week, if not Tui have not heard the last from me!

That's awful SusieQs . I really hope you can go on your holiday. 😢

My Doctor has now said he will issue a standard Mecical report on my condition and will have to hope that will suffice.

My problem is do I just hand this to the person on check in on the day of travel and hope for the best,


Depends on your condition. Do you need oxygen? and how much medication you taking. I have mild copd and got a fit to fly certificate from my Pulmonary doctor (Philippines). I put my small amount of medication in my hand luggage. Do not tell the check in and off you go.

That's what I am taking, a standard letter from the doctor and hoping for the best. I'm not handing it over to anyone at the airport unless they ask for it.

I went in to tui travel agent and ask the question who wants to see the letter where and when, she told me at check in when you ask for your pre booked assistance you will be ask to show it. I then ask can you give that to me in writing, she gave me her card and wrote on the back take doctors letter to check in on arrival at airport. Hope this help ease your mind,have a good holiday as I hope to and perhaps we can update everyone on our return


Peter get copies made xxx

How long is the flight? Will it be overnight? How severe is your COPD? My experience has been that the airline needs documentation only if you plan to bring an O2 concentrator with you. If you plan to do that, each airline has their own rules. Some are quite lax while others make you get a certification from your doctor.

Flight is about 4 hrs copd level 2 no oxygen required,

But they still require a fitness to fly letter,

My problem is because of the shortness of time do l hand the letter in at the check in desk


I'd get a couple of copies done & try handing over one of those first. Hang on to the original if you can. Good luck and enjoy your break. P

Hi Peter

I have travelled with Jer2 and Ryanair on both times I was given a fitness to fly form by the airlines which my respiratory consultant filled in,

Does Tui provide this form?

Does Tui have a special needs team you can contact?

Have you thought about it you need airport assistance?

As I have IPF and on ambulatory oxygen, my consultant arranged for a fit to fly test,

Hope you can get it all sorted out and get away


Thank you for your reply.

Did you hand these at check in my problem is time is short if I sort this out will I be able to hand it in on check in TUI do not do a form they request certificate or letter from Doctor


When I went with jet2 and Ryanair, they had their own forms when completed were to be sent to their special assistance teams within 28 days of flying for jet2 and 12 days of flying with Ryanair. Never been with Tui, so I do not know about them



Ronnie i also have i.p.f my consultant sent me for FTF what does it involve i am on oxygen only when walking ?

When I had the ftf test, the actual machinery was not working. So blood was taken from my artery and tested. My sats were also monitored for a good half hour.

Unfortunately I have no idea what would happen if the actual equipment was working.

Sorry I can’t be of more help.

Have you looked into hiring a portable oxygen concentrator?

If so remember to contact the airline regarding their policies about medical equipment

Best of luck


Thank you for taking the time to reply,i am feeling at this time very sorry for myself i think it is one big fight and i no longer have the fight in me

Doctors are getting worried by this seeing society. I live in Gozo ( Malta) and my consultant filled in my fit to fly form from Air Malta but did say the hospital won't let him but he had taken out his own insurance.

Meant Sueing society😤

Bit worried now, I fly to usa on 15th Jan, and not been asked for fit to fly certificate by the airline. I have asked for airport assistance but wasn't asked why. Is it a usual thing with TUI. could it be something to do with travel insurance the cost for European compared to usa is so high. I'm confused. Jane

As long as you don’t mention copd or associated lung disease no problem when I ask for assistance they ask why I told them copd

They immediately ask for a letter for fitness to fly so if you haven’t told them DONT!


Who are you flying to the USA with and do you need oxygen during the flight or need a carry on only POC?

I have to inform the airline, complete forms etc to carry on ( not use ) my POC...

Not had an O2 flight assessment.

If you don’t have a POC or need in flight O2 then don’t say anything.

You can still request assistance at the airport if you need it to get from the lounge to the gate.


Thanks pollyp I don't use oxygen so I'm going to stay stumph and hope everything goes to plan. Looking at this lot the meds for arthritis and heart problems outweigh the emphysema med's. I'll be positive I so want to visit my son, thanks all. Jane

Good idea at the moment !

Wow, another really helpful doctor. Maybe he’s jealous about you going on holiday?

I used to work for a doctor who would pretty much do anything like that. As long as you had the cash haha. Honestly.

They used to ‘prescribe ‘ private ‘detoxes’ for alcohol of about a weeks worth of Librium and a list of AA meetings for a few hundred quid. I think the Librium was actually about £4 in Mimms prescribing guide book 😂

Gotta laugh.

My wife suffers with a very painful back and had to get loads of paperwork regarding her medication and the reasons she had it, how much etc etc. I am sure her doctor helped her out with letters etc.

I hope you get this sorted and can escape damp and grey UK ( at the moment anyway).


A fit to fly certificate should only be issued after you have had the relevant test, this will show how much your sats will drop once the plane takes off and is in the air, usually around a 5% drop. We have ours carried out at the hospital and then fax the form to the airline, works in our favour as we then get free upgraded seats and prior boarding. Just a reminder that if you do not have a fit to fly and something happens on the plane then it could mean that your insurance becomes invalid.

Thank you

As SecondLife says. A fitness to fly is given after you’ve undertaken some tests, similar to lung function test. I get mine done at the hospital but there’s always a long waiting list of a few months. I suggest you go and try and get this done privately or I doubt TUI will let you fly. I’ve found them very unhelpful. I paid them £200 for oxygen whilst in flight for a trip to Spain. I had to cancel, gave them 2 months notice but they won’t refund my money. In addition they kept the £150 holiday deposit too. I wish you good luck and a happy holiday.

Thank you

I had a fitness to fly test a while ago, it was done via my consultant at the hospital. They put me in a pressurised makeshift cabin and took readings of my lungs to see if it was ok for me to fly. If you have a consultant contact his/her Secretary, as you are short of time offer to pay for the test and see how it goes. Good luck.


Thank you

Hi Peter, I have been asked for a letter saying I am safe to fly twice in the past 5 years (by Monarch). Both times my doctor thought it was a joke as I was fit to fly but she did get me a letter typed up £10 per letter for her time. The last time Monarch went bust 1 week after I obtained the letter. What a waste of time. I feel for you, have you asked for a special seat or oxygen, this will be why they need the fit to fly letter. I would get in touch with your Doc's secretary and ask her to arrange the letter for you. Good luck and I hope you have a great time. Oh by the way the first time I needed the fit to fly letter costing £10 no-one asked to even see. Sorry Rant over. Good luck and take care, Maximonkey

Thank you

My GP won't issue a Fitness to Fly letter because only a Hypoxic Challenge Test (which simulates being at altitude in a pressured environment) can determine this definitively. This can only be done in a hospital environment.

My own experience is that UK check-in staff aren't interested. On one occasion the only people who were interested were the flight attendants. On another, the first people interested were security staff at the overseas airport when returning. It's all very unpredictable - but you do need that letter.

Thank you

I am 76 and have COPD. I like ve I n Thailand andflyback toNew Zealand 3 times m s s year. Why do you tell the airline you have an awesome lines. I fly withbQantas, I just bookin and boa d the plane.

Do you ask for a wheel chair or something. I am flying out in 7 days back to NZ. I have no problem boarding or checking in.

If your consultant isn't available you could contact a private hospital. Be prepared to pay about £150 for the examination and fitness to fly letter. Good luck.

Thank you

I dont understand this. I am travelling 3 times a year i have never been asked to supply a fitness to flu letter.

Have you ever told the airline you have copd if not DONT All air lines have it in there small print that copd passengers must obtain a permission to fly, if they don’t know no problem.

But you must make sure you inform your insurer of all your conditions to inform the airline is not a legal requirement. I made the mistake of when ask why I needed assistance I said copd, had I said a dodgy knees I would have been fine and yet they say it pays to be honest


I think you have to plan this well in advance as I found out. You should be able to be referred by your consultant but may wait weeks till you are offered an appointment at the hospital for the tests. There is a private company in London who will do it for about £120 if you Google it.

When I flew with BA a couple years back, they did not require a fitness to fly certificate but they did want a medical certificate filled in by my GP stating how much oxygen I would need for a long haul flight as a precaution which was supplied by them at no charge. I do not require oxygen daily but flying can cause desaturation.


Thank you for the info

I found this post interesting, my son lives in Australia how do you get a fitness to fly if you are not seeing a consultant. Just lie about your health status then ?? I do have insurance at a price based on details I supply.

Don’t lie just don’t tell

Ha Ha thats one way round it :)

Hi I flew with Virgin Atlantic last year received forms via email for Doctor to fill out how much flow I needed etc. rather long form my local surgery charged £35 so it’s firm filling really unless your doctor doesn’t deem you fit to fly ?, Sam

Hi Sam our doctor has told us that the British medical council has advised all GPs that they should not issue a certificate or letter saying that the patient is fit to fly this must be done by a consultant they can issue you with a medical report stating that it is not a fitness to fly but hope it helps the airline to Access whether this person is fit to fly putting the onus back to them. However the form issued by the airlines is designed to do the same thing unfortunately TUI don’t have a form. So it’s off to the airport on Monday armed with my medical report hoping to go to Madeira or back home to the cold of Kent


It does make travelling so difficult we would love a little sun trip but all the uncertainty puts us off. Hope you get away and enjoy let us know how you get on thanks. Sam

TUI DO HAVE A FORM. I've got one!

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