Flying With A Cast

It is advisable to collect a medical certificate confirming if you are fit to fly with your cast. This is best discussed at the fracture clinic.

Passengers should pre-advise their airline of both their condition and assistance requirements preferably when booking, and should arrive early to facilitate any special assistance that may be required.

Flying with a cast

Passengers travelling with an upper limb or any spinal fracture jacket or brace will only require one seat to travel, but an above-knee (full leg) cast will require 3 seats per journey. This will enable the leg to be elevated during the flight and reduce swelling. Passengers travelling with a below-knee cast will only require one seat. A short incomplete cast (backslab) if not too tight should not pose a problem.

If the limb tends to swell or if the plaster cast has been fitted on any limb for less than 48 hours then the cast will definitely need to be split prior to flying (the split needs to run along the entire length of the cast). If the plaster cast has been fitted for more than 48 hours, it may not be necessary to split it. A long flight may also mandate splitting the cast as the limb may be immobile for a long period, in a dependent (low) position and the pressure on the skin may be higher.

This is applicable for both plaster of Paris and fibreglass casts. This is to accommodate any potential swelling of the affected limb within the cast during the flight.

Passengers who have booked extra seats should arrive at the boarding gate at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled flight departure time.

Passengers with lower limb casts should drink plenty of fluids and frequently exercise the toes to decrease any possibility of a deep venous thrombosis, or clot in the leg. One could also consider taking one Aspirin tablet (usually 75mgs) 12 hours before the flight. For Upper Limb casts, pack a pillow in your carry-on luggage so that you can double this over to support the limb on your lap. For medical preventative measures, it is always best to take advice from your doctor.

Some useful links

Can I Drive with a Cast?