Airplane travel affects the bodies in ways some do not realize. Lower air pressure, decreased oxygen intake, increased exposure to germs, and dehydration all play a role in taxing your system during flights.
For those who are healthy, these changes can go unnoticed. For those experiencing certain medical conditions, however, they can pose a serious threat. Because Air New Zealand prioritizes the comfort and safety of its passengers, the airline has set forth specific guidelines for those flying with medical conditions.
Depending on your condition, you may need to pass a medical clearance to fly. When flying with Air New Zealand, the clearance assessment is performed by their highly trained Aviation Medical team, who will evaluate your fitness based on internationally accepted criteria.
Conditions that require assessment include anaphylaxis, heart disease, lung disease, psychiatric conditions, and any contagious illness such as chickenpox, tuberculosis, measles, or mumps.
Women who are in the latter stages of their pregnancy will also need to be examined, as well as those who have recently recovered from an illness, been hospitalized, or had any type of surgery including bone fractures.
If you are travelling for medical reasons, you may also be required to undergo a medical clearance regardless of your symptoms and condition.
Not all medical conditions require clearance. For those experiencing hearing impairment, visual impairment, or mobility difficulties, you may want to inform Air New Zealand of your condition. This allows cabin staff to accommodate you during the flight best; no medical clearance is necessary.
If you have any of the previously mentioned conditions which call for medical clearance, you'll need to complete the Medical Fitness for Air Travel form (MEDA) which can be obtained through a travel agent or online through the Air New Zealand website.
In most cases, forms are processed quickly. That said, Air New Zealand recommends that travellers submit the MEDA form between 3 and 14 days before the scheduled flight. MEDA forms submitted less than three days before the intended day of travel run the risk of denial.
Those travelling with special medical equipment will also be required to receive clearance from the Aviation Medical team. Qualifying equipment includes ventilators, stretchers, syringe pumps, nebulisers, CPAP/VPAP, and medical oxygen.
In some cases, those flying with either concentrator oxygen or bottles of oxygen will be required to carry supplementary oxygen or travel with a medical escort for their safety.
As you pack, be mindful to place all medication you could potentially need (either during the flight or at the destination) in your carry-on bag. Doing so ensures that you'll have access to it even if your checked luggage is lost, stolen, or misplaced.
Air New Zealand requires all medications to be appropriately marked with a printed pharmacy label. This means you cannot take medications such as pills outside of their original packaging and place them in a ziplock bag or other temporary vessels; you'll need to keep them in their original labeled containers to be cleared for travel.
If you're travelling with liquid medications which are being stored in containers that exceed 100mL, Air New Zealand asks that you obtain a written statement from your doctor stating that the drug is necessary.
Unfortunately, Air Zealand's cabin staff are not permitted to store medications for passengers in aircraft refrigerators. For this reason, those travelling with medication that must be kept chilled are required to make arrangements on their behalf.
Before travelling, speak to your doctor or pharmacist about selecting a container and cooling method that will suit your medication. If they recommend dry ice, you'll need to contact Air New Zealand's baggage team to have it cleared previous to boarding.
Those with qualifying medical conditions are permitted to travel with syringes. If you have a medical condition which requires you to carry a needle aboard the plane, it's recommended that you obtain a doctor's note which clearly states you need them.
On the plane, Air New Zealand asks that travellers take care to dispose of needles, vials, and other sharp and potentially harmful medical equipment in the aircraft's dedicated sharps containers. For assistance with disposing of syringes or other sharp objects, Air New Zealand asks that you enlist the help of your flight's cabin staff.
Source: Air New Zealand