Holidays and travel

26) Fitness to fly assessment

There are different ways that you can be assessed to see if you are ‘fit to fly’. This may include one or more of the following:

  • You may be asked about your medical history, including your symptoms.
  • A physical examination.
  • If you have flown before you may be asked how you felt and if you became unwell during the flight.
  • A walking test to assess your breathlessness.
  • Your oxygen levels may be checked using a pulse oximeter.
  • A ‘Hypoxic challenge Test’ (HCT) may be carried out.
  • Lung function has been found to be a poor indicator for how you will feel when you take a flight. Air travel can affect you differently than someone else with a similar respiratory condition.

Hypoxic challenge test

This aims to reproduce the effects of flying by breathing in air that has less oxygen in it. It is carried out by a health care professional who will monitor you closely.

  • Your oxygen levels will be checked regularly.
  • If you normally use oxygen then you will wear this during the test. The test may help to identify whether your oxygen is set at the right level for during the flight.
  • If you do not usually use oxygen then the test will help to identify whether you need to wear oxygen during the flight.