Airline rules and travel insurance in pregnancy

Flying during pregnancy

Like many pregnant women, you may be planning a last nappy-free holiday before your baby is born. It could be a beach holiday in Goa, a short trip to Bangkok, a romantic getaway with your husband to Switzerland, a long awaited visit to relatives in America or simply going home to your parents’ place for a relaxing time before your baby is born.

Whatever your choice, don’t leave it too late. Once you have passed the 28th week of your pregnancy, travelling gets a lot more complicated with travel insurers reluctant to give cover, and airlines requiring a doctor’s letter.

Can I fly during pregnancy?

Most airlines will be happy to carry you up to 27 or 28 weeks of pregnancy without asking questions. After that, when the risk of labour increases, you may require a letter from your doctor confirming your due date and that you are “fit to fly”.

Each airline has its own set of rules, when they may not allow to carry you. So it’s important you tell your travel agent when you call that you are pregnant and check that you may still fly.

If you are booking online, check the airline’s website. Most mention pregnancy. Try looking in the FAQs or planning your trip sections, carrier’s regulations, special care or customer support.

On international sectors, flying is not permitted after 35 weeks as a rule, while on domestic sectors, rules may be flexible.

If you are planning a package holiday, check if a charter flight is included in the itinerary. For example, a holiday in some destinations may involve taking a chartered flight to the final destination where the resort is located. It’s not always obvious which airline is being used so tell your travel company that you’re pregnant. They can then advise you about the airline and its regulations.

Do all airlines have the same rules for pregnant mums?

You’ll find that most airlines have similar guidelines. Here’s a look at some of the popular ones:

    • Air India allows travel between 32 to 35 weeks on the basis of a ‘fit to travel’ certificate from a doctor. Travel after that till delivery is allowed only in certain urgent circumstances if permitted by the Chief Medical Officer – Air India and then only if accompanied by a doctor.
    • Jet Airways allows expectant mums in normal health to travel till 32 weeks. From 33 to 36 weeks you need a certificate of fitness form your doctor to travel. After 36 weeks you’ll need to get a certificate from a doctor approved by Jet Airways as well as be accompanied by an MBBS doctor for your flight. Women that have complications, high risk or multiple pregnancies are only allowed to travel before 32 weeks of pregnancy. And even then, they’ll need a fit to travel certificate from a doctor approved by the airline.
    • Spice Jet does not allow expectant mums to fly after 35 weeks of pregnancy. Between 28 to 35 weeks they need to have medical clearance.
    • Indigo airlines allows travel till 32 weeks provided you have no complication. You will need to give a “fit to fly” letter and a certificate from your doctor confirming how many weeks of pregnancy you have completed.

Other international airlines such as British Airways, Lufthansa and Emirates have similar rules. Check with your travel agent or airline websites before you travel. Most airlines also ask pregnant travellers to fill an indemnity bond at the airport before the flight.

Source: babycentre

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