Flying out of the United Kingdom to seek medical treatment or even for a holiday is currently complicated with the arrival of the 2019 corona virus or Covid-19 as otherwise known. Pre covid-19 you only needed a standard fit to fly certificate for international travel if you had pre existing conditions . During the current covid-19 pandemic an addition Covid-19 fit to fly certificate might be required but what is the difference?
What is a Fit to fly Certificate
Fit-to-Fly certificate is a doctor’s signed declaration that flying will not negatively affect your current pre-existing conditions and it is safe for you to fly.
This means an NHS or Private GP has assessed you taking into account your pre-existing medical conditions believes your pre-existing medical conditions and deemed you fit to fly.
When do you need a standard fit to fly certificate?
Airlines may require a standard Fit-to-Fly Certificate if you are having a health condition that may affect your heart or lungs. You may also need a fit to fly certificate if you have had a recent surgery that affects the chest, abdominal area, eyes or lungs. The cabin pressure in an aeroplane can result in less oxygen in the blood and these health conditions may be made worse when you fly.
The main reasons you might need a fir to fly certificate are:
- recent illness, hospitalisation, injury or surgery
- existing unstable medical condition
- need for additional oxygen or use of medical equipment on board
- travelling for medical reasons or treatment
- Travelling if you are more than 28 weeks pregnant.
Travelling when you’re pregnant
For your and your baby’s safety you cannot fly after:
- the end of the 36th week of pregnancy if you are pregnant with one baby
- the end of the 32nd week of pregnancy if you are pregnant with more than one baby
Airlines recommend that you carry a letter or statement from your Doctor or Midwife confirming:
- Whether your pregnancy is single or multiple
- Your expected due date
- There are no complications with your pregnancy
- The letter should be dated as close to your travel date as possible .
What is the cost of a Standard Fit-to-Fly Certificate?
The cost of Standard Fit-for-Travel Certificates varies depending on location and laboratory costs. Private GP services such as One Five Health charge from £95 for a fitness to fly assessment certified by a doctor.
How long is your Standard Fit-to-Fly Certificate valid for?
Your certificate must confirm that you are Fit-to-Fly at the time of your trip so it has to be fairly recent.
The certificate will probably need to be updated each time you travel If you suffer from a long-term health issue as your condition may have changed and the airline might refuse to allow you to board.
What are Covid-19 Fit-for -Travel Certificates?
The COVID-19 Fit-for-Travel Certificate is proof that you have been tested negative for Covid-19 and It is not related on how flying might affect your pre-existing medical conditions.
The fit to fly certificate must be signed and stamped letter by a doctor registered with the General Medical Council that confirms that you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19.
This certificate requires an RT PCR Test for COVID-19 which is a swab taken of your throat and nose that is sent to an acredited laboratory for testing.
Can i get a Fit to Fly Covid certificate from the NHS?
Although you can get a free NHS test for coronavirus at a test site near you if you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, COVID-19 test certificate for the purpose of international travel are not available on the NHS. In this instance you need a private fit to fly certificate.
What destinations require a negative PCR swab?
The list of destinations changes everyday so you should check in advance with your airline. The most common destinations so far have been Cyprus, Hungary, Austria, Dubai, India, Ethiopia, Morocco, Egypt, Bermuda, Barbados, St Lucia, Martinique, Iraq, Iran, Qatar and many others.
What is the cost of a COVID-19 Fit-for-Travel Certificate
The cost of Covid-19 Fit-for-Travel Certificates varies depending on location and laboratory costs. Private GP services such as One Five Health charge from £90 to £300 per person for Covid-19 PCR test and fitness to fly assessment certified by a doctor.
How long is your COVID-19 Fit-for-Travel Certificate valid for?
Your COVID-19 Fit-for-Travel Certificate is only valid for a short time and depends on your airline and your destination. You should thereore check the requirements and take your test within the required time frame.
Which Test Do Countries Require for a Fit-to-Fly Certificate?
It can depend. But the most common covid 19 test required is a covid 19 PCR test that identifies three different genes in the disease. The RT-PCR is widely viewed as the most comprehensive, currently available test today.
What is the RT-PCR Nasal Swab Test
This is the most common test that countries will ask for. It is a very straight forward where you or the doctor places a swab in your nose and then it is sent to a laboratory to see if you are COVID-19 Positive.
Is the PCR swab test painful?
The majority of patients say that the swab test is a little uncomfortable (as it can make you gag a bit and is irritating inside the nose) but do not report any pain. The swab takes 10 – 15 seconds and although a little uncomfortable, it isn’t a terrible experience!
Where can I get a fit to fly certificate?
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