Flying with MS

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Travelling with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

 

Most people with MS are able to fly without any problems, but it is worth taking extra steps to ensure you are comfortable and safe when flying. Our list of considerations will help ensure you have a positive travel experience.

Flying with MS

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Multiple sclerosis (MS), is a long-lasting disease. It can affect the brain, spinal cord, and the optic nerves in the eyes, causing problems with basic body functions, such as balance, vision, muscle control. The effects of MS can be different for everyone who has the disease.

Multiple sclerosis can flare up unpredictably and be triggered by stress on the body, which can be the result of factors including fatigue, heat, or infection. Flying can be a source of these triggers. But with careful consideration and planning, the majority of those with MS should not be restricted when flying.

Airports and airlines are always willing to provide further assistance to support you needs and improve your travel experience. But always remember to verify your airline’s policies before booking your flight.

Important considerations for those
Flying with MS

 

Flying with Medication

Top Tip: A full guide to flying with medication can be found here.

Always keep medications in their original packaging in a sealed bag. Check that you can fly safely with your medications. Some medications for MS need to be kept cold, and some will need to be given via injection.

Discuss refrigeration requirements of your medication with your doctor. Medications that must be refrigerated can usually be kept in a transportably cooler and taken onto the plane as carry-on. It is worth checking with an airline before you arrive for your flight to check their policies or potential restrictions.

To go through security and pass through the airport smoothly, you will need a doctor’s letter to explain why you have any syringes.

Exacerbation medication

Exacerbation is a worsening or appearance of new symptoms. Some doctors may be able to prescribe steroid based medication, as symptoms associated with exacerbation my respond well to steroid medication. It is important to carry any medication you might need while away with you onto the plane, in case of the loss of your hold luggage.

Travel with medical information

This could be a close family relative or friend, someone you are travelling with someone who understands your condition, medical history, and requirements in the case of an emergency. You can purchase medical alert bracelets, which have flash drives installed with your medical history to help inform medical staff about your condition and treatment in the case of an emergency.

Minimise stress on the plane

Especially on long-haul flights, flying can cause immense fatigue and exhaustion. There is the likelihood of jet-lag, as your body takes time to adjust to a new time zone. Travelling across borders can alter your body clock. As a result, a lot of stress can be put on the body. Ensure you get plenty of sleep and take proactive actions to avoid dehydration, including drinking lots of water - but remember to avoid alcohol.

Top Tip: Our guide to health and wellbeing while flying can offer you some top tips for keeping healthy and comfortable when flying.

Pre-book your seat

When you book your flights through Alternative Airlines, it is easy to pre-book your seat. This way, you can choose the seat which is most comfortable to you, such as the aisle seat so that you can get up and stretch and easily access the bathroom.

On many airlines, there is the option to upgrade from Economy class to Premium Economy class. There is a fee for the upgrade, but for more space and extra comfort, it might be worth considering. For more advice and an airline comparison, check out our guide: Premium Economy, is it worth it?

Expedited security screening and passport control

In the US, TSA PreCheck is a program for speeding passengers through TSA security checks, and allows you to pass through security screening faster. You will need to join the program before travelling - find out more here. International travelers can get a Global Entry card, also for speedier screening.

Mobility assistance

If you require mobility assistance, it is important to let the airline and airports know exactly what your needs are. To avoid risking not getting the support you need, it is important to do this as early as possible.

If you use a wheelchair, different airlines have different policies, depending on where you are flying from and where you are flying to. You can discover more information in our flying with a wheelchair guide.

Fly non-stop

Direct flights reduce the stress of transferring between flights. When you search for flights though Alternative Airlines, it is easy to apply to ‘direct flight’ filter so that you can see all non-stop flights between your chosen destinations. But if you do have to make a connecting flight, ensure you have lots of time between your connections to make the transfer as easy and stress-free as possible.

Pre-book your meal

You may require a low-salt, or other special meal, such as a vegetarian meal. You can request a special meal by contacting your airline at least 48 hours in advance of your flight. Find out more about pre-booking a special meal here.

 

Flying with MS
FAQs

 

Can I go through airport security with my needles?

Many airports can have strict airports security standards. If you're flying from/to the USA, according to TSA regulations, you should inform TSA staff before travelling to the airport to inform them that you will be carrying injectable medications.