What Medical Conditions Can Stop You Flying?

There are a number of medical conditions that it is advisable not to fly with, and The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions recommend that you contact the individual airline for their own specific clearance policies regarding medical issues.

Before you fly, or even book tickets, work with your doctor if you are concerned about any medical conditions; however, if you suffer from any of the following, it’s advisable not to fly:

  • Have had a recent stroke, heart attack or are suffering from chest pains
  • If you’ve had surgery, in particular orthopedic, brain, eye or stomach in the last six months
  • Have a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or more
  • Have any disease that’s contagious
  • If you have a sinus, ear, nose or throat infection
  • Have a severe chronic respiratory disease
  • Uncontrolled psychotic illness


Check with your doctor if:

  • You’re pregnant, especially if more than 36 weeks
  • You have a family history of blood clots, or clotting issues
  • Have had deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE) in the past

Medical considerations for your destination

Check whether vaccinations are a necessary consideration for your particular destination, and you may also need to take certain medications with you, for example, anti-malaria tablets. You should also make sure that your routine vaccinations are up-to-date, including your seasonal flu vaccine.

Book an appointment to see your doctor at least a month before you plan to travel

Can airlines refuse to fly with sick passengers?

Airlines can refuse to take passengers if they are concerned that any medical conditions may get worse during the flight. In this case, they can request medical clearance for confirmation.

This situation may arise if the passenger has a condition that:

  • Could be considered a possible safety hazard to the aircraft, other passengers, or crew members
  • Might be aggravated by the flight
  • Requires specialist medical attention or equipment during the flight

Airline policies vary, so you should check on the airline’s website before booking your tickets and then again before traveling.

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