My wife would like to travel for Christmas; she will be 30 weeks pregnant (from last period) at that moment. The policy of most airlines is that women that are between 28 and 36 weeks pregnant are allowed to travel, but ONLY if they have a medical certificate. (I assume that the airlines count the number of week from the last period, and not from fertilization – if I am mistaken please correct me!) This certificate has to be recent (a few days), so waiting until we have the certificate before booking the flight (around Christmas!) is not really an option. So to decide whether to book the ticket or not, we would like to know: what are the a-priori odds, for a pregnant woman, to fail to get such a “fit-to-fly” medical certificate before flying? (Our personal cut-off would be somewhere around 5 or 10%, I guess.)
There are two ways things could go awry:
The doctor refuses to provide the certificate for genuine medical reasons. If we had a list of the most common contraindications for flying, we could of course research how likely to develop each of them is, and get a reasonable overall estimate. However, we do not know this. The airlines’ terms and conditions are not very helpful in this respect: they provide only generic language (see excerpt below).
We could fail to get this form for bureaucratic reasons: e.g. the airline refuses the doctor’s letter because it fails to meet some formal criteria, or the doctor asks us to do a series of tests that we cannot complete in time, or refuses to provide the letter until we clarify the too-generic language, etc. Any first-hand experience would be appreciated here. (If it matters, we currently live in Russia.)
Here are the relevant passages from the terms and conditions of two of the airlines we are considering. (They also have clauses that forbid flying after 36 weeks; but this is outside the scope of this question.)
Women after the 28th week of pregnancy are allowed on flights ONLY when providing a medical certificate authorizing air travel, as well as a completed guarantee obligation in the check-in process.
Expectant mothers are free to fly up to 28 weeks of pregnancy. Once an uncomplicated pregnancy reaches its 28th week we require expectant mothers to carry a ‘fit to fly’ letter completed by their midwife or doctor.
Download the fit to fly template letter here.
(Their “fit to fly template letter” asks only for generic informations: expected due date, a single checkbox for “the pregnancy is uncomplicated” and a single checkbox “the patient is fit to fly”).