When Can Pregnant Women Not Fly

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FAQ055 Published: August 2020

Last reviewed: August 2020

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What are the policies on different airlines?

For flying during the third trimester of pregnancy, each airline has a slightly different policy. Because of this, it’s crucial to contact the airline or look up its policies online before your trip.

For example, Delta Airlines currently has no restrictions on flying during pregnancy and doesn’t require a medical certificate. But American Airlines requires a doctor’s certificate if your due date is within four weeks of your flight. It must state that you’ve been recently examined and are cleared to fly.

Airlines may also have different requirements if you’re carrying more than one baby. The policy held by British Airways states that women carrying one baby can’t travel beyond the end of the 36th week, and women carrying more than one baby can’t travel after the end of the 32nd week.

No matter how far along you are, it’s a good idea to ask your healthcare provider for a medical certificate even if your airline doesn’t require one.

Airlines have previously refused to board pregnant passengers even though it’s not always clear if it’s legal for gate agents to inquire about your pregnancy status. Your mind may be at ease if you have a note from your doctor or midwife. By doing so, you can stop worrying about whether you’ll be admitted onto the plane.

The policies of some of the major airlines in the world are listed below, but before making travel arrangements, you should always check the airline’s website or call them to double-check. The best way to learn about the airline’s most recent policy is to speak with them directly as policies can change at any time.

Airline Able to fly Unable to fly Doctor’s note required
Air China Single baby: 1-35 weeks, or more than 4 weeks from expected due date; Multiple babies: 4 weeks or more from expected delivery date Single baby: 36 weeks and over; Multiple babies: 4 or less weeks from expected delivery date No
AirFrance Throughout entire pregnancy Not applicable Not required
American Airlines Up to 7 days of expected delivery date 7 or less days from expected delivery date Within 4 weeks of expected delivery date
Asiana Airlines 1-36 weeks Single: 37+ weeks; Multiple: 33+ weeks 32-36 weeks
British Airways Single: 1-36 weeks; Multiple: 1-32 weeks Single: 37+ weeks; Multiple: 33+ weeks Recommended but not required
Cathay Pacific Single: 1-35 weeks; Multiple: 1-31 weeks Single: 36+ weeks; Multiple: 32+ weeks 28+ weeks
Delta Airlines Throughout entire pregnancy Not applicable Not required
Emirates Single: 1-35 weeks; Multiple: 1-31 weeks Single: 36+ weeks unless cleared by Emirates Medical Services; Multiple: 32+ weeks unless cleared by Emirates Medical Services 29+ weeks
Egypt Air Throughout entire pregnancy Not applicable Within 4 weeks of expected delivery or for women carrying multiple babies or with known pregnancy complications
Lufthansa Single: 1-35 weeks, or within 4 weeks of expected delivery date; Multiple: 1-28 weeks, or within 4 weeks of expected delivery date Single: 36+ weeks unless given medical clearance; Multiple: 29+ weeks unless given medical clearance Recommended after 28 weeks; required after 36 weeks for singles and after 29 weeks for multiples
Qantas Single baby and flight under 4 hours: 1-40 weeks; Single, baby and flight 4+ hours: 1-35 weeks; Multiple babies and flight under 4 hours: 1-35 weeks; Multiple babies and flight 4+ hours: 1-31 weeks Single baby and flight under 4 hours: 41+ weeks; Single baby and flight 4+ hours: 36+ weeks; Multiple babies and flight under 4 hours: 36+ weeks; Multiple babies and flight 4+ hours: 32+ weeks For travel after 28 weeks
Ryanair Single: 1-35 weeks; Multiple: 1-31 weeks Single: 36+ weeks; Multiple: 32+ weeks For travel at or after 28 weeks
Singapore Airlines Single: 1-36 weeks; Multiple: 1-32 weeks Single: 37+ weeks; Multiple: 33+ weeks Single: 29-36 weeks; Multiple: 29-32 weeks
Thai Air Flights under 4 hours: 1-35 weeks; Flights 4+ hours: 1-33 weeks Single: 36+ weeks for flights under 4 hours and 34+ weeks for flights 4+ hours; Medical approval needed for women carrying multiples 28+ weeks and if you’re carrying multiples
Turkish Airlines 1-27 weeks Single: 36+ weeks; Multiple: 32+ weeks 28+ weeks

For domestic or local flights, the recommendations for long-distance travel during pregnancy are typically the same. However, some airlines may have limitations for pregnant women traveling internationally.

For example, American Airlines requires clearance from the airline’s special coordinator if you’re flying internationally within four weeks of your due date, or seven days before or after your delivery. They’ll confirm that you’ve been examined by a doctor within the last 48 hours before your flight and are cleared to fly.

The second trimester is the best time to travel long distances or internationally if you’re expecting a baby.

Women who are pregnant are more susceptible to deep vein thrombosis (DVT) Flying also increases risk for DVT.

It’s crucial to consume plenty of water and other liquids throughout your flight to prevent DVT. Additionally, you should dress comfortably and get up frequently to stretch and walk on the plane. Get up and take a walk at least every two hours. In order to reduce swelling in your feet and lower legs, you might also think about wearing compression stockings.

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