Medical Q&As

Air travel - fit to travel?

My father is 78 and over 2 years ago he had a TIA (transient ischaemic attack). He has made a full recovery. His doctor has put him on 1 tablet per day similar to aspirin. He gets his cholesterol and blood pressure checked regularly and all are fine. He is generally a very fit and active person and has never suffered from any serious illness. His doctor has advised him not to fly, which I cannot understand. I work for an airline and weekly we deal with passengers who are older and have suffered more severe strokes and have been advised fit to travel by their GP's. What would a short haul flight from Dublin to the UK do to him if he took a chance? I miss my parents not visiting me anymore because of this.

I donít wish to worry you by raising this question. Is it possible that there are other health issues relating to your father that he has not raised with you? If there are no other issues then I cannot think of any reason that should prevent him from flying. The most common medical issues that arise with air travel are mobility problems, the need for in-flight oxygen or the need for in-flight nursing or medical attention. Airlines are generally very accommodating in providing assisted passage to disabled people but it sounds to me that your father would not require such assistance. People with respiratory conditions may need in-flight oxygen for the duration of the flight and airlines can generally accommodate this need if given sufficient advance warning. Again it would appear that your father requires no such assistance. It would also appear that he is capable of independent unsupervised travel. Sometimes health insurance issues do arise with older people and this can be a major problem especially if they are travelling outside of the European Union. Again, this does not apply because we are talking about a short haul flight across the Irish Sea. Clearly these trips are very important to you and your parents and I think this ban on travel could actually be bad for your fatherís morale. I think the question of his fitness to travel needs to be revisited.