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Flying with a Cast

Flying with a Cast

Read on to discover more when flying with a cast. This guide is packed with FAQ’s, tips to prepare before a flight and avert problems from happening when flying with a cast.

Lufthansa aircraft

Can I fly on a plane with a cast?

A cast can be of any kind, most broken body parts such as arm, legs or foot are all treated with a type of cast, that can vary from plaster, fibreglass, resin or a walking boot. These will affect your ability to fly with your airline.

This question ultimately depends on the airline you're flying with. Some airlines would want you to wait 24 hours after a cast has been fitted on for short-haul flights less than two hours and 48 hours for long-haul flights. The reason for this is because there is a risk of inflammation after the cast is first fitted on which can affect the circulation. If you're thinking about flying with a newly fitted cast within those timings, you may need to have it split open. In order to prevent swelling and decrease the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a serious condition that is caused by swelling. Ensure to inform your doctor before flying off, buy the insurance and much more.

How to prepare when flying with a cast

Follow these simple guidelines to help you prepare for your flight and get you ready for a smooth and trouble-free journey.

Inform your airline

It's highly recommended that you speak to the airline that you will be flying in regards to your cast. They would like to know when you had the cast fitted in to see if you can be allowed on the flight. They may want you to have the newly plastered cast split open to reduce further problems from happening when flying. You may need a wheelchair and this could be your opportunity to ask for “special assistance”. The airline will then be able to arrange this assistance. If you need wheelchair assistance, you can learn to do so here. Contact us here for more information and questions may want to ask.

Inform your Doctor

When you come to see your doctor, make sure to ask them regarding any risks when flying with a cast. Especially, if you're looking to fly within two weeks of your surgery. Please read our flying after a surgery guide for more information.

Your main risk is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) rising especially if you aren't able to move your limbs around and get the blood flowing. Those with a leg cast can find that the calf muscle works like a secondary heart, the motion when walking helps in pumping blood from your legs back up to your lungs. However Not being able to move your legs reduces this effect and you're likely to experience some swelling in your lower leg due to the blood and fluid not being able to flow well. Deep Vien Thrombosis is more like a blood clot that happens due to an extreme lack of blood flow circulation, and it can result in all other types of difficulties to you.

It’s not likely your doctor will be happy for you travelling with your injury, but they can help to make the process much easier. You should find out from them more about getting blood-thinning injections or tablets and ensure they write a note so that you can receive a comfortable seat location and treatment on your flight.

Check your insurance

It's advised that you check your current level of medical insurance for your health. Should you be unable to continue your planned travel, they can it can reimburse you for any cancellations or changes to your itinerary as well as covering your medical expenses. Ensure that you contact them and inform them of your situation as soon as possible.

Select your Seating

If you've got your leg in a cast below your knee and you can bend your knee or you have an upper-body cast, you'll be able to sit in a normal seat. If your cast covers your knee and aren't able to have it bent, then you'll need to make special seating arrangements with your airline. Some airlines may require you to buy extra seats in these circumstances for your safety and comfort. Also, you will not be able to be seated close to one of the emergency exits (where the seats have more legroom) unless you can move quickly in the case of an emergency.

Airlines haven't stated anywhere that they will offer you an upgrade if you ask, however you could most likely receive one especially if you are in a wheelchair. Book your seat by following our step by step guide on 'how to book seats'. If you haven't already booked your seats your airline should be able to move you free of charge to a more desirable seat. These can be aisle seats which are closer to the toilets.

You may get your luggage to be first off the plane which helps beat the customs and checking queue. On top of this, you can receive priority boarding, skipping through queues at check-in making the travel a stress-free experience.

Ask for Assistance

If you have a cast placed on your leg and require a wheelchair in order to move around the airport and board the plane, you will need to speak to your airline as soon as you can. They will provide you with a wheelchair service for both ends of your flight and there isn't normally a charge for this service.

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Flying with a Cast FAQs

Can I take my crutches on a plane?

If you are walking using crutches to support your weight, you are required to inform your airline about this. Most airlines will allow you to take your crutches on the plane, however, they will need to be safely put away in the hold during the flight.

Is it safe to fly with a cast?

This ultimately depends on when the fracture occurs and the fitting of the cast. Examinations are carried out when fitting casts to ensure it isn't too constricting and won’t prevent the circulation of blood. Tissue inflammation can occur around the fracture. Many airlines will not allow passengers to fly within 24 to 48 hours of the cast being fitted in because of the high risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Those that had their cast split so that they are permitted to fly should read our guide here.

My injury a while ago and my cast has just been removed, so will I be fine to fly?

Even though your fracture has been mended you still need to take precautions when flying on a plane. Speak to your doctor to find out more on this or alternatively contact us.