neurological disorders and flying
Last edited 08/2019 and last reviewed 09/2022
- epilepsy - contraindications to flying include frequent or uncontrolled
fits, or a within 24 hours of a grand mal fit. Passengers with a history of
a loss of consciousness or infrequent fits should be accompanied by a responsible
companion. The patient should be advised that air travel may precipitate fits
due to a variety of reasons e.g. fatigue, disturbance of circadian rhythm
- skull fracture or brain surgery - flying should be avoided for 10 to 14
days to allow absorption of any air that may be inside the skull due to trauma
- stroke - in general, flying is contraindicated for 7 to 10 days following
a ischaemic stroke (2). Flying is contraindicated for 14 days following a
haemorrhagic stroke (2). Oxygen may be required
- TIA - may be accepted as fit to fly if
- after 2 days and proper investigation (3)
Note that these are only guidelines and each airline has its own regulations and medical standards.
- 'Medical guidelines for air travel', Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine, October 1996, 67, 10, 11.
- Doctor (April 2005). Ready Reckoner - fitness to fly.
- International Air Transport Association. Medical Manual 11th Edition (2018).