Pregnant women flying abroad must check airline time limits before take-off, says Holidaysafe
Pregnant women flying for a quick break abroad before the big day are unaware of the strict limits airlines place on travelling in the later stages of pregnancy, and frequently reserve the right to deny boarding on grounds of health and safety, says travel insurance specialist Holidaysafe.co.uk
Most airlines will allow women to fly up to 35-36 weeks but some will not let pregnant passengers fly over 28 weeks without a ‘fit to fly’ letter from a registered doctor.
Holidaysafe.co.uk brand manager Amber Howard said: “Many women are unaware of the small print in the airline safety regulations. Airlines reserve the right to deny boarding if they think a pregnant woman exceeds their limit of weeks and they can leave you behind at the gate. They can also deny boarding under health and safety rules if they feel that a pregnant woman may not be mobile enough to leave the aircraft in an emergency.
“Another perfect illustration is Kate Middleton, who was showing only a tiny bump even when she was six months pregnant. Women with smaller bumps may not get stopped by the airline – despite the fact that they could be too advanced in their pregnancy to fly safely.”
Holidaysafe.co.uk’s emergency assistance service team advises this travel checklist:
- Check the airline’s limits on pregnancy – provided you and your baby are healthy, most airlines will allow you to fly up to 35-36 weeks into your pregnancy. However, you should always check the airline’s policy (and small print) on pregnancy, as every company differs.
- Check the airline’s regulations on pregnancy – airlines may refuse boarding if you’ve had problems with a previous pregnancy, such as DVT or had a premature birth before.
- Consult your doctor – if you’re planning to visit a foreign country which requires you to have vaccinations, always consult your doctor first.
- Think twice about your destination – always take into account the health care in the country you’re planning to visit, would you feel safe if something went wrong and you needed medical treatment there?
- Invest in quality travel insurance – without travel insurance you could face enormous bills if something goes wrong abroad. Pregnancy is never considered ‘an illness’ it is a natural and wonderful thing, but every company has varying views on pregnancy and travel. Therefore it is important that you let your travel insurance provider know that you are pregnant, and check that they can cover your journey.
- Beware of medication – if you become ill abroad, even if it is simply diarrhoea or travel sickness, always be wary of taking medicines, some could be harmful to your baby. Always consult a doctor before taking any kind of drug.
- Drink plenty of water – It is especially important to stay hydrated when pregnant because your kidneys have to work harder when you are expecting a baby.
- Overlook multiple pregnancies – twins are quite common these days, and airlines will usually have different rules for multiple pregnancies, usually limiting travel to 32 weeks.
- Get stranded – If you travel after the seventh month and experience problems while abroad, such as hypertension or a minor bleed then the airline may refuse to bring you on the return trip. Also if you do give birth prematurely be aware that you are likely to be refused boarding until 14 days after the birth, even if you and the baby are healthy. New-borns are not permitted until seven days old even when full term.
- Worry about screening at the airport – the machines are not harmful to pregnant women or unborn babies.
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