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Advice & Info for Flying with Broken Ribs

Flying with Broken Ribs

Read our guide for those flying on a plane with broken ribs. This guide is packed with FAQ’s, tips to prepare before a flight and prevent problems when flying with broken ribs.

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How are broken ribs caused and can I fly with them?

Fractured ribs are normally caused by a fall, a blow to the chest or severe coughing. Cracked ribs can't be easily splinted or supported, so they are left to heal naturally by themselves which may take around three to six weeks. 

With broken ribs, you can fly but it's better to speak to your airline and doctor before flying. Once this is approved you may want to increase the ease and comfort on your flight whether it's the seating, requiring assistance or taking medication.

How to prepare when flying with broken ribs

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

Check with your Doctor

It is advised that you get checked and speak to your doctor in advance to your flight. Your doctor may test you to see if your current condition is fine for you to fly also known as the 'fit to fly' test. Once the Doctor has approved you can fly you can check with the airline.

Inform your airline

It is advised that you inform the airline you’re flying with in order to leave plenty of time before your travel. If you feel you may require wheelchair assistance, you can inform them that you will need “special assistance”. The airline will be able to organise this assistance, for instance, a wheelchair and a staff member to assist you. If you require wheelchair assistance, you can find out more about how to organise that here.

Check your insurance

It is recommended that you check your current level of medical insurance in regards to your health. If you are not fully covered, you should then think about upgrading in order to cover yourself in any event.

Select your seating

You might find that it will be more comfortable to sit at the front where there is extra room and access to flight attendants, should you need any assistance. You may think about buying extra seats, buying seats to the end of the aisles or upgrading your class for more comfort. Remember not to book your seats at the emergency seat row as of your condition you may not be able to offer your help in the case of an emergency. It's important to also sit upright in your seat and try not to lie recline. Book your seat by following our guide on 'how to book seats'.

Arrive at the airport in good time

On the day of your flight you’ll need to arrive at the airport in good time, depending on your flight you need to arrive around 3 hours before for the long-haul flights and 2 hours before for short-haul flights in order to ensure you reach the departure gate for boarding.

Travel Light

It's important that with this injury you travel light or only take with you holding luggage. If you do take carry-on luggage you may need assistance at times especially when lifting and placing it in the cabin overhead bins.

Take Medication

Remember to take with you plenty of medication as prescribed. Pain killers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. However, avoid taking ibuprofen for 48 hours after your injury as it may slow down healing. Read more on our guide in flying with medication.

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Flying with Fractured Ribs FAQs

Is it safe to fly with broken ribs?

Yes, it is, it can be quite painful however if you don't follow our guidelines. Keep in mind that you should speak to your doctor before booking and flying. Some people with broken ribs tend to soothe their pain with an ice pack to reduce the swelling, hold a pillow when the cough and take painkillers.

Can you fly with broken ribs?

This is not a condition which may stop you from flying. Whether you are fit enough to fly with a broken rib. Consult your doctor, your health insurance provider and the airline you're flying with before making your flight reservation.