For some types of conditions, such as a recent myocardial infarction, you need a doctor’s certificate before being allowed to fly. The rules vary by airline, and you should always check them before your trip.
Always pack your personal medicines in carry-on luggage. Don’t forget to bring the prescriptions too, and keep the medicines in their original packages. This will help anyone assisting you to see the names and quantities of your medication.
Liquid medicinal products can be taken in the cabin and will be accepted at the security check despite the liquid restrictions.
However, medicinal products requiring cool storage conditions are generally not allowed to be kept in aeroplane fridges, although they can normally remain at room temperatures for the duration of the flight. If you are not certain, ask your pharmacist for more information.
Always pack slightly more medicines than you think you will need during your trip, as you never know how things will go. For example, the ash clouds in 2010 made it very difficult for passengers to get more blood pressure medicines.
As a general rule, oxygen equipment and CPAP equipment for treating sleep apnoea are allowed on flights but require approval from the airline. You must always contact the airlines beforehand about any equipment you are planning to carry.
Doctors are just a phone call away
All crew members are trained in first aid and attend regular refresher courses (EA1 in Finland), but are still not qualified to administer medicines by injection, for example. The first aid kits on aeroplanes contain items such as heart and asthma medicines, oxygen, and defibrillators.
If a situation requiring professional medical help arises during the flight, the crew asks if there are any doctors or nurses amongst the passengers. However, passengers are always free to decide whether or not to help.
Aeroplanes are always connected to a medical phone service through satellite connections, and the doctors on call can give the captain recommendations on how to act. On the basis of these recommendations, the captain decides whether to continue the flight as scheduled, turn back, or make an emergency landing at a different airport. Unplanned landings at alternate airports are so expensive that they are only resorted to for strong medical reasons.
Have a safe journey!
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