Flying Rules for the Pregnant

Flying via commercial airlines is not restricted during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy, but there may be some restrictions on flying during the third trimester. All airlines recommend that pregnant women consult with their doctors before travelling during any stage of their pregnancy. You can often avoid restrictions by acquiring a “permission to travel” letter from your doctor, though you will not be able to get said letter if your pregnancy is considered high risk. Remember that the more pregnant you are, the harder it will be to sit comfortably during a cross country or international flight. This article will discuss flying rules, travel insurance as well as policies of major airlines for those who travel during pregnancy.

Flying Rules for the Pregnant

Most airlines will allow you to fly up to 27 weeks pregnant without concern. After this point your risk of going into labor increases so you may need written permission from your doctor or midwife that confirms your due date and your ability to fly safely. Each airline has its own set of restrictions and usually cut off flying for those that are around 36 weeks pregnant. This could be as short as 32 weeks if you are carrying twins.

When booking, tell your travel agent how far along you are and how pregnant you will be at the time of the flight. They will inform you if the given airline will not allow individuals to travel at this state. If you are booking a package holiday you may not be aware of which airline you are booking with, so be sure to inform the company you are pregnant so they can plan accordingly.

Travel Insurance for the Pregnant

In most cases travel insurance will not allow you to travel up to full term. Most policies cover individuals up to around the 28th week of pregnancy as travelling past 30 weeks of pregnancy is not typically recommended and poses a greater health risk. Some insurance companies will cover you later into your pregnancy, but may require that you return within 8 weeks of your due date. Some insurance companies are willing to cover you through your full pregnancy if you have received permission from your airline and doctor to fly. These restrictions may vary if you are expecting a multiple birth, so be sure to include this information when applying.

Insurance companies do not have consistent requirements so you should ask your travel agent whether or not you will require a “pre-travel health statement” before you depart. You can generally acquire this document from your general practitioner. Maternity care and medical assistance is not generally covered by insurance companies starting in the ninth month of your pregnancy.

Things to Watch Out For

The humidity in the passenger cabins of an aircraft is approximately 8 percent, so it is vital for those who are pregnant to drink plenty of water during long flights.

Those that are pregnant also have a higher risk of inflammation or blood clots in the legs, so avoid sitting still for long periods of time during the flight or any long periods of travel such as car trips. If possible, opt for an aisle seat so you can move around 15 minutes of every hour. You can also perform vein pumping exercises.

It is generally believed that pregnant women are at a higher risk not wearing a seatbelt than wearing one. You should wear the seat belt low over the pelvis.

A new environment can also expose this woman and her unborn baby to a number of diseases. Travel to the tropics or countries with a known low standard of hygiene should be avoided while pregnant, as should activities such as rucksack journeys.

Airline Policies for the Pregnant

 

American Airlines

Official website and contact number

www.aa.com

800-433-7300

Domestic flight rules

A doctor’s letter is required for pregnant women travelling within 4 weeks of their due date. Restrictions are based on the honor policy.

International flight rules

A doctor’s letter is required for pregnant women travelling within 30 days of their due date. This letter must be signed within 48 hours of travel.

Delta Airlines

Official website and contact number

www.delta.com

800-221-1612

Domestic flight rules

There are no restrictions. Patients are advised to consult with their doctor before flying.

International flight rules

No restrictions are instated.

Frontier Airlines

Official website and contact number

www.frontierairlines.com

800-432-1359

Domestic flight rules

There are no restrictions on travel. Patients are advised to consult with their doctor.

International flight rules

There are no restrictions in place.

JetBlue Airways

Official website and contact number

www.jetblue.com

800-538-2583

Domestic flight rules

A doctor’s letter is required for all who are travelling within 7 days of their due date. This letter must be signed within 72 days of travel and indicate the due date and that this decision was based on a medical examination. All travel must be scheduled before your due date. Restrictions are based on the honor policy.

International flight rules

The same restrictions for domestic travel apply for international flights.

Alaska Airlines

Official website and contact number

www.alaskaair.com

800-252-7522

Domestic flight rules

Patients are advised to talk to their doctor before flying, but there are no specific restrictions.

International flight rules

There are no restrictions. Patients are advised to speak to their doctor before flying.

Hawaiian Airlines

Official website and contact number

www.hawaiianair.com

800-367-5320

Domestic flight rules

If you are within 7 days of the due date, a doctor’s letter signed within 72 hours of travel is necessary. This letter must indicate your due date and that based on a medical examination there is no health risk associated with travel. The airline may also require an examination from their medical personnel if the patient does not appear fit at the time they are to depart.

International flight rules

The same restrictions for domestic flights are imposed.

Spirit Airlines

Official website and contact number

www.spirit.com

800-772-7117

Domestic flight rules

Those travelling in the final month of pregnancy must have a letter from their doctor signed within 72 hours of travels. This letter must state that based on a medical examination travel is not believed to impose a health risk to the patient. Pregnant women are not allowed to travel if signs of labor are present. These restrictions are based on the honor policy.

International flight rules

The same domestic restrictions apply.

Virgin America/Virgin Atlantic

Official website and contact number

www.virginamerica.com and www.virgin-atlantic.com

877-359-8474

Domestic flight rules

Those travelling within 7 days of their due date must have a letter from their doctor stating that travel does not oppose a health risk. Those travelling round trip must have a letter that also guarantees it is safe to make the return voyage. These restrictions are based on the honor policy.

International flight rules

There are no restrictions on the first 27 weeks of pregnancy. Travel between 28-36 weeks is permitted if the pregnancy is uncomplicated and information is provided to confirm your due date. There is no travel permitted after 36 weeks of pregnancy.

US Airways

Official website and contact number

www.usairways.com

800-428-4322

Domestic flight rules

A doctor’s letter indicating that travel does not pose a health risk to the patient is required for those travelling within 7 days of the due date. This letter must be signed within 72 days of travel. Restrictions are based on the honor policy.

International flight rules

The same travel restrictions apply.

Southwest Airlines

Official website and contact number

www.iflyswa.com

800-435-9792

Domestic flight rules

There are no restrictions, but the airline strongly recommends that you do not fly 39 weeks or later into your pregnancy.

International flight rules

Southwest Airlines does not provide international flights.

United Airlines

Official website and contact number

www.united.com

800-241-6522

Domestic flight rules

There are no restrictions on flying within the first eight months of pregnancy. During the last month of pregnancy a doctor’s letter signed 24-72 hours before flying that indicates the due date, departure and arrival dates, and a statement that travel does not pose a risk to the patient is required. These restrictions are based on the honor policy.

International flight rules

The same restrictions apply to international flights.

 

 
 
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