All the airlines seem to have different ideas about pregnant women and flying. If one of my women tells me that she is about to depart for foreign climes via an airline, and she is 28 – 34 weeks pregnant, I make sure that she has a letter from me informing ‘whom it may concern’ that, at the time I examined her, I could see no reason to doubt her fitness to be transported by airplane. The G.Ps charge £15 for the same letter, I just do it, I don’t think that I can make a charge.
On Friday I saw someone who had just returned from Portugal. Before she went she asked me for a F2F letter, unfortunately her flight was 8 days away and the airline she was flying with demand that the examination be within 5 days of flying, so I couldn’t issue it and the G.P (earned)gained £15. That wasn’t the end of the ‘taxes’ for flying when pregnant, oh no, the ‘low cost’ airline have got a particularly wonderful little wheeze for the unsuspecting, pregnant traveller, you need another F2F to get back from your holiday, even if it was only for 1 week. Apparently, when you try to check-in for the return journey, they ask for your letter, observe that it was signed over 5 days before, and send you to a local doc. The local doc is jolly thorough, far more than the old G.P or midwife back in blighty, not only does he check blood pressure and urine, he also does a scan. Wonderful service, if totally unnecessary. Oh yes, but it comes at a cost, €96. The local doc must love it, wonder how he got the airline to recommend him, was it Easy?
Having heard this story I decided to see if this is now common practice amongst the airlines, do they all demand a certificate/letter signed within 5 days of flying?
Ryanair – Once your pregnancy has entered its 28th week, we ask that you carry with you a letter from your obstetrician stating the pregnancy is uncomplicated and confirming the expected date of delivery. In this letter, the doctor should state that you are in good health, that he/she is happy for you to fly, and that in his/her opinion there is no reason why you cannot fly. No timescale for signing here but the stipulation of ‘obstetrician’ may cause problems for women having midwife-led care.
Quantas – Medical clearance is only required if you are having complications of pregnancy. International travel is not permitted after the 36th week for routine pregnancies or the 32nd week for routine multiple pregnancies. Very laid-back, dare I say ‘sensible’ attitude!
Flybe – Between 28 and the end of 33 weeks, we require a doctor’s note certifying fitness for air travel. No time specification.
Monarch – If you are 28-34 weeks pregnant, you will need to carry with you a doctor or midwifes certificate of fitness to fly. The certificate will only be accepted if:
- It is dated not more than 14 days prior to the start date of your trip.
- It states the expected date of delivery of your baby.
- Your doctor or midwife states that you are in good health, that they are happy for you to fly, and that (in their opinion) there is no reason why you cannot fly.
BA – After your pregnancy has entered its 28th week, we ask that you carry with you a letter from your doctor or midwife, stating the pregnancy is uncomplicated and confirming the expected date of delivery. In this letter, your doctor should state that you are in good health, that they are happy for you to fly, and that (in their opinion) there is no reason why you cannot fly.
Checked other airlines and they all, so far, do not have the 5 day rule of the budget airline.
My advise to any woman travelling after 28 weeks of pregnancy and intending on not returning for 5+days, is to add £100 to the cost of flights as quoted by ‘Europe’s leading low-cost airline’ to allow for satisfying their F2F demands.
I have attempted to contact the company involved by email, I have discovered that this is impossible. I could phone their customer services but I really don’t want to throw more money at them. So, if anyone from the company in question would like to comment on their policy and why no other airline has the 5 day rule and why an unnecessary scan is performed, I would really love it.