Passenger health and clothing

If you have a medical condition that may affect you while flying, check:

  • your airline’s policy
  • with your doctor to see if you need a medical certificate to fly.

Also think about what you will wear onboard. Not only for comfort, but also to reduce of injury in an emergency.

What to wear to reduce the risk of injury

In the unlikely event of an emergency the clothes you are wearing can be useful in reducing the risk of injury. We recommend you:

  • wear natural fibres like cotton and avoid synthetic materials to helps protect against fire and burns if you disembark via an emergency slide
  • wear something non-restrictive and try not to have a lot of exposed skin
  • wear closed footwear
  • keep your shoes on during take-off and landing
  • remember to remove high heel shoes before evacuating via a slide.

Preventing ear pain

Ear pain can be common on take-off and landing. If you are prone to ear pain, chew or suck a lozenge to help clear your ear.

Carrying prescription medicines

Carry all prescription medicines with you on the aeroplane. Some medicines may affect you differently while flying.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns.

Flying when pregnant

If you're past your 36th week of pregnancy, you may need your doctor’s clearance to fly.

If you have had any complications or if you're past your 36th week of pregnancy, you may you’re your doctor’s clearance to fly.

Travelling with electronic medical devices

If you're travelling with an electronic medical device, contact the airline before you go. Ask if there are any requirements to carry or use the device.

You can take medically required oxygen canisters on a aeroplane, but you need approval from the airline first.

The airline needs to make sure the cylinders, valves and regulators are protected while flying.

Preventing deep vein thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition usually associated with not moving for a long time.

To avoid DVT:

  • drink plenty of (non-alcoholic) fluids during flights
  • regularly move your ankles and massage your calves
  • wear loose clothing that you can easily move in

You should also look out for symptoms – especially pain in the calves – during and for up to a month after long flights. If you have symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible.

Although it can be helpful to move and walk around during flights, try not to walk around too much. If there is turbulence, you can hurt yourself, and it's safer to be in your seat.

For more information, see the Department of Health’s website on DVT and travel.

Last updated:
4 Dec 2021
Online version available at: https://www.casa.gov.au//operations-safety-and-travel/travel-and-passengers/you-fly/passenger-health-and-clothing
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