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HealthInfo Canterbury

Flying in a cast

FDP airline seatIf you want to fly while you're wearing a plaster cast, you should always contact the airline before your flight.

For flights shorter than two hours, most airlines want you to wait at least 24 hours after having your cast fitted before flying. For longer flights, they want you to wait at least 48 hours. This is because your injured limb can swell after a cast is fitted and this can affect your circulation, putting you at more risk of blood clots.

If you have to fly before these times, the airline may let you board if your cast is split along its whole length. You'll need to contact the clinic that applied your cast. You'll also need to arrange for your cast to be replaced at your destination.

Seats

If you have an arm cast or a leg cast that doesn't go above your knee, you should be able to sit in a normal seat. It's sensible to think about your comfort on longer flights. Your legs can swell on long-haul flights and this could become quite painful in a cast.

If you have a larger cast, you may need extra seating and you'll probably have to pay for this. Most airlines won't let you sit in the emergency exit row.

Crutches

You'll need to let the airline know if you're using crutches. Some airlines will store crutches in the hold during the flight. You'll need to think about how easily you'll be able to move when you're in the air, particularly if you aren't supposed to put any weight on your leg.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by director of nursing, Orthopaedics Services, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed February 2020.

Sources

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Page reference: 148652

Review key: HILWI-174362