Patients who wish to fly when pregnant

  • Template letters

Patients who are over 28 weeks pregnant but less than 37 weeks (32 weeks for twins) may need a letter to fly.

To help GPs and their practice teams to manage the increasing workload, Londonwide LMCs has produced guidance to manage requests for unresourced work and identify and communicate to patients activities that are not covered by your core contract.

Patients who are pregnant and wish to fly may present at the practice asking for a letter from their GP to say they are fit to fly. The following information is intended to help you deal with such requests but it is up to the patient to check the airline’s policy with regard to flying when pregnant:

  1. For most airlines patients do not need to see their GP if flying when less than 28 weeks pregnant .
  2. Patients who are over 28 weeks but less than 37 weeks (32 weeks in the case of twin/ multiple pregnancies) may need a GP letter (see appendix 1 for a standard letter that the practice can use). Alternatively patients can request a letter from their midwife/ consultant. Some airlines may have specific forms/ certificates that require completion and it is the patient’s responsibility to organise this.
  3. All flights must usually be completed by week 37 of pregnancy (the patient should check with the airline for specific information).
  4. It is advisable that pregnant patients know their blood type and ensure they have valid travel insurance and that the airline policy covers a newborn should delivery take place.
  5. Pregnant patients should be advised to wear correctly fitted compression stockings whilst flying (NICE guidance), as well as keeping well hydrated during the flight:
  6. “pregnant women should be informed that long-haul air travel is associated with an increased risk of venous thrombosis, although whether or not there is additional risk during pregnancy is unclear. In the general population, wearing correctly fitted compression stockings is effective at reducing the risk”. Further guidance on staying well whilst travelling when pregnant is available on the NHS website.
  7. Use the patient facing poster in your practice waiting room.
  8. This is not NHS work so the practice may charge for any letter/certificate that is requested.