Medical Needs and Clearance

Medical Needs and Clearance Requirements

Do you require medical assistance on your upcoming flight with us? We have got you covered. Learn more about what to do if a passenger requires medical assistance or has special needs and requires mobility aid to be taken onboard.

Care in the air

Although rare, a medical incident in the air is always a possibility. As your safety is our priority, our cabin crew is trained in advanced first aid and life support. Our medical kits are recognised and approved as per international medical guidelines, which can be administered by our cabin crew and by a doctor or nurse who may be on board and willing to assist if the situation demands. 

Medical clearance

Most passengers with a medical condition can fly with us. All you need to do is fill out the Medical Information Form (MEDIF) while booking your flight with us. 

If you are travelling with us and have a medical condition, please ensure you carry all relevant documents, including your fit-to-fly certificate, medical records, and medication, in your carry-on baggage. The medication you carry must comply with our carry-on and restricted baggage guidelines.

The cabin air is pressurised on the flight, and the passengers must take precautions if they have a respiratory or cardiac condition. Medical clearance is required if

  • The passenger's fitness to travel is doubtful due to recent illness, hospitalisation, injury or surgery.
  • The passenger has an existing medical condition. 
  • The passenger needs special services such as oxygen or medical equipment on board. 
  • The passenger is flying for medical reasons or treatment. 

Are you flying internationally?

When planning to fly internationally, it is recommended that you:

  • Check on any vaccination requirements at least six weeks before your departure. 
  • Carry adequate travel insurance to cover any medical costs incurred abroad. If you still need to get travel insurance, you can head to the TATA AIG Travel Insurance page for more information.
  • Although most medical cases are straightforward, some may require individual assessment. 
  • You may be asked to travel with a medical escort or supplementary oxygen. 
  • Your fitness to fly is based on internationally accepted criteria to ensure a safe, comfortable, and uneventful journey with us. 

If you have a prevailing condition that may affect you in flight, we request you to complete the formalities that include:

  • Filling out the MEDIF form. 
  • Getting adequate medical clearance for your travel. 
  • To ensure we have all the arrangements in place for your smooth journey, please submit the MEDIF form at least 14 days prior to departure to the nearest Air India office

Cabin pressure

The cabin air pressure could cause a drop in oxygen levels in the blood. As a result, this could affect a passenger with respiratory problems (such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)) who may need to book supplementary oxygen.  

A request for supplementary oxygen needs to be made while booking your flight. 

Post-operative care

Flying after an operation or a severe illness can be stressful. It is recommended not to travel during this period. However, if you need to travel post-surgery, please keep in mind the points below:

  • It is advisable to carry the medication with the prescription in your cabin baggage that you may need during the flight.  
  • Medication cannot be refrigerated on board. Please carry a cool bag or vacuum flask if your medicines must be kept cool. Kindly discuss options with your pharmacist.  
  • If you're travelling with medical equipment, please inform us in advance, as clearance will depend on the type of equipment.  
  • Medical clearance is required for most medical equipment, including nebulisers and ventilators.  
  • The equipment must be capable of being battery-operated. We cannot guarantee a power supply onboard our aircraft.  
  • You will not be allowed to use authorised medical equipment during taxi, take-off, approach, and landing.  

Nebulisers and oxygen masks

Only battery-operated nebulisers can be used in flight. You will not be allowed to utilise the devices during take-off and landing. 

Passengers travelling with a medical requirement for an oxygen mask and cylinder will be charged separately.

  • Oxygen mask per unit: USD 275 (all-inclusive charges). The cost is for the mask only. Masks are for single use, so for passengers who require a mask change, an additional charge will apply.
  • Oxygen bottles are not included with an oxygen mask. They are available separately.
  • Oxygen cylinder per bottle: USD 50 (all-inclusive charges).

Portable Oxygen Concentrator (POC)

A passenger diagnosed with sleep apnea is permitted to use an FAA/EASA-approved Portable Oxygen Concentrator (POC) machine or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine ,provided the following conditions are met:

  • The person using the equipment has a medical need to use it. This must be evidenced by a written statement in that passenger's possession. 
  • A licenced physician must sign a statement specifying how much oxygen is needed every hour and its flow rate under normal operating conditions.
  • Due to the limited aircraft electrical power supply, we strongly recommend carrying charged batteries for a period equivalent to 150% of the expected flight time.
  • You must inform the flight commander when the machine is brought onboard. Also, notify the cabin crew before and while operating the equipment.
  • Warning lights and audio alerts will be made when the aircraft is on the move (on the surface, take-off and landing). Please ensure the POC is placed underneath the seat in front of the passenger using the machine during such times.
  • No passenger operating a POC is permitted to occupy an exit seat.
  • The equipment and a bag with additional batteries required to charge it during the flight are considered assistive devices and will not be considered part of the cabin baggage allowance.
  • When connecting to or from any other airline, including codeshare flights not operated by us, passengers are advised to make independent arrangements directly with the other airline.
  • The unit should display the manufacturer's label indicating that the device meets FAA safety requirements regarding M-PED (Medical Portable Electronic Devices).
  • All POCs meeting the requirements but not recognised by Special Federal Aviation Regulations (SFAR 106) must bear a red label stating: 'The manufacturer of this POC has determined this device conforms to all applicable FAA acceptance criteria for POC carriage and use on board aircraft.'
  • The machine must be operated by a dry-cell battery that is leakproof and doesn't have any spillage. Spare batteries must be protected from damage and short circuits.

Critical guests requiring ventilator support

We do not allow critically ill cases to fly using our commercial aircraft.

However, we may consider making an exception on a case-by-case basis after thoroughly examining the guest's condition. In such exceptional cases, medical, engineering, and security clearances will be required.

The following equipment criteria must be fulfilled:

  • It should be FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) approved.
  • The equipment must be battery-operated and portable.
  • Passengers should carry enough spare non-spillable batteries (at least 1.5 times the entire flight duration) to last the whole flight duration.  
  • Please note we do not provide any equipment for stable cases requiring ventilation with air.

If a guest with such a condition needs to travel, they must be accompanied by a physician experienced in aeromedical transportation. The physician/intensivist must submit a self-declaration regarding their capability to handle such cases.

In-flight seating

Safety regulations stipulate that passengers with medical needs should not be seated near emergency exits or in cross aisles that are a part of the emergency exit routes. Only suitable seats will be allocated to such passengers. 

Wheelchair request

In accordance with air safety regulations, passengers requiring wheelchair assistance must follow specific guidelines when flying with us.

  • Please ensure that your request for a wheelchair is made at the time of booking and confirmed before you travel with us so that we can provide the required assistance throughout your journey. 
  • Wheelchair and buggy car assistance are available at airports upon request and are subject to availability. Passengers with confirmed wheelchair requests made during booking will be assisted on priority. 
  • Certain airports levy charges for providing wheelchairs, so kindly check the applicable charges with the airport authorities before your travel.

If you're travelling with your wheelchair:

  • We can arrange to carry your wheelchair or mobility aid on your flight. Please let us know your requirements at the time of booking. 
  • If there is space, we will store collapsible wheelchairs and mobility aids in the aircraft cabin. They will be carried in the hold if we cannot take them due to weight or size.
  • One mobility aid, e.g., a wheelchair, will be carried free of charge in addition to the applicable checked baggage allowance.
  • Special permission must be requested when bookings are made for mobility aids over 30 kg/66 lbs due to weight and space restrictions.
  • If you have a battery-powered wheelchair, you must take certain safeguards before travelling. Please get in touch with our nearest office for more details. At some airports, we may have to check in wheelchairs or mobility aids into the aircraft hold and return them once we land at our destination. In such cases, we will transport you from the check-in counter to the aircraft in another wheelchair and, upon arrival, from the plane to your wheelchair or mobility aid. 

Passengers who require a stretcher

Air India can accommodate passengers who need to use a stretcher on its domestic and international flights with prior information and advanced planning. Stretcher bookings are accepted only after clearance from our medical services department and the chief medical officer. Learn more about carrying a stretcher onboard.  

Flying with a Service Dog

Service dogs that are trained to assist passengers with special needs are permitted to fly in the cabin for free, provided they meet all requirements and regulations of the individual country. Learn more about the travel requirements and behaviour guidelines for service dogs aboard our flights and in other countries.