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Flying with Chicken Pox

Can you or your children fly if you have Chicken Pox?

Everything you need to know about flying with chicken pox

Being struck with chicken pox just days before you’re booked to fly. It can easily happen, especially for those with young children.

But don’t panic yet! Our concise guide will help you understand the implications for those with chicken pox who are hoping to fly.

Lufthansa aircraft

Flying with Chicken Pox

For prospective travellers, the trouble with chicken pox (chickenpox) and those conspicuous red spots is that they can linger for days and days after the contagious period is over. The result can lead to a lot of confusion, stress and confrontation at the boarding gate or final destination, as airline staff and customs officers have the right to refuse entry onto a plane or into a country if you are suspected as being contagious.

Quick Take-Away Points

1. Chickenpox is a common and contagious illness that causes an itchy rash

2. Many airlines refuse to let passengers suffering from chicken pox to board to plane

3. Different airlines have different policies on when passengers are able to fly with chickenpox

Virgin Atlantic aircraft

What is Chicken Pox?

Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It is a common illness that predominantly strikes children.

The main symptoms of the illness are red, itchy spots/blisters. Sufferers can also contract a fever and suffer muscular aches and pains, and perhaps lose their appetite.

Chickenpox can easily spread between people who have not previously suffered from the illness. In most instances, once someone suffers from chickenpox for the first time, they are then immune from the illness. Because it is so infectious, the illness spreads quickly amongst children and most will have chicken pox at some point when they are young. The illness can have more serious implications if caught at an older age, especially for pregnant women.

When is Chickenpox contagious?

Someone who has contracted chickenpox will be contagious for one to two days days before the first spots appear and up until all resulting spots have scabbed or crusted over.

How long does chickenpox last?

The time period that it takes to recover from chickenpox symptoms will vary from case to case. It can take between 10 days and 2 weeks for the chickenpox blisters to scab over, which is usually the signal that the chickenpox is no longer contagious.

The Right to Deny Boarding

Can an airline stop passengers with chicken pox from flying?

The aircraft cabin is a very controlled environment and it is widely agreed that there is little risk of infectious diseases being transmitted on aircraft. However, chicken pox is particularly contagious and could easily spread between passengers who are seated in the same area, usually through coughing or sneezing or any form of touch.

An airline can deny the right to travel if staff suspect that a passenger is unwell or contagious.

This still applies to those who have recovered from an infectious disease but still shows signs of being unwell, such as the red spots that follow chicken pox.

If you are worried that you or someone you are travelling with might be denied boarding, you should carry a letter from your GP that confirms that you are no longer infectious. It is also important to contact your airline beforehand to seek advice, as every airline has different policies.

What do Airlines say?

Airline Chicken Pox Policies Explained

It is crucial to contact your airline before heading to the airport, as rules and policies vary. Some airlines will insist on seeing a fit-to-fly note from a doctor.

To help you understand the rule of some of the major airlines, we have composed a list with an overview of their policies.

British Airways

British Airways recommends that passengers do not travel until at least six days after the last spot appears. Those who have had chicken pox will also need a letter from a GP stating that they are no longer infectious.


It is advised to travel with a letter from your GP to confirm that you do not pose a contagious risk. Permission to board may be denied if you appear to have active lesions (chicken pox spots).


Passengers will only be allowed to travel seven days after the appearance of the last spot. A letter from a doctor may be required.


Permission to board may be denied if you appear to have active lesions.It is advised to travel with a letter from your GP to confirm that you do not pose a contagious risk.


You will only be allowed to board if your chicken pox scabs are dry and if you have a letter from your GP.


Passengers can fly six days after last lesion appears, as long as the scabs are dry. A GP letter may be required.


Sufferers will need to wait seven days after the last spot appears and a GP letter may be required.


Those suffering/have suffered from chickenpox may be asked to complete the airlines ‘Meda’ form and await a decision from the airline. Those with active spots are unlikely to allowed to fly.

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Will I be allowed to enter another country while I have chicken pox?

Even if an airline allows you to travel on their plane, passing through customers checks at your arrival destination could be a problem if you or your children have signs of chicken pox. Some countries, such as the UK and America, have very strict policies that govern arrivals, and those with a signs of a contagious disease can be denied entry. Therefore, it is important to check with the destination country before flying. Travelling with a letter from your GP that confirms you are not contagious should help

Can a child fly with chicken pox?

The same airline policies, as explained above, apply to children as well as adults.

Can a baby fly with chicken pox?

The same airline rules and policies also apply to babies.

Will I be covered by travel insurance if I can't travel due to chicken pox?

It is always recommended to buy insurance after you book your flights. Many insurance policies with cover the cost of cancellation due to chickenpox if you or your children will be unable to fly. However, there is usually a period of time before cancellation cover protection becomes active, so reading your insurance policy carefully and purchasing your insurance at the time of booking is the best way to ensure you will be covered.

Can I cancel my flight due to chicken pox?

Airline have strict cancellation policies and may not be sympathetic about your last-minute need to cancel your flight due to the onset chicken pox.

Whether you will be entitled to a refund will depend on the terms and conditions of your flight ticket. It might help to get a sick note from your doctor stating that you or your children are contagious and not fit to fly, but it depends on the rules of each airline.

If you have booked your flights through Alternative Airlines, it is easy to contact our customer service team for more information regarding the cancellation policy of your airline.