Flying While Pregnant? Check Out the Policies on 20 Global Airlines

Airlines around the world have different rules and regulations on when and how long pregnant women can fly. Below are the policies for 20 airlines from around the world.

  • 01 of 20

    Air France

    ••• An Air France Airbus A380 aircraft. Photo courtesy of Airbus

    The French flag carrier requires pregnant women to have a medical certificate for travel beyond 36 weeks. it recommends avoiding travel in the final month of pregnancy, as well as during the first seven days after delivery. The airline does not require medical clearance, but recommends expecting mothers seek their doctor's opinion before traveling.

  • 02 of 20
    ••• An Air India Airbus A320. Photo courtesy of Air India

    India’s flag carrier allows expectant mothers in good health to fly up to and including their 32nd week of pregnancy. After 32 weeks, if the pregnancy is anticipated to be a normal delivery, an expectant mother will be accepted for travel up to and including the 35th week of pregnancy. But a medical certificate confirming the mother is fit to travel is required by an attending obstetrician. In case of the pregnancy beyond 35 weeks, passenger may be accepted for transportation only on urgent or compassionate grounds, with the authority of the Executive Director - Medical Services, after filling out the airline’s MEDIF form.

  • 03 of 20
    ••• lrargerich / Flickr

    Italy's flag carrier has no travel restrictions for expectant mothers during the first eight months of pregnancy. But if traveling within the last four weeks of pregnancy, expecting multiple births, or having a complicated pregnancy, medical clearance is required. Completion of a Medical Information Form, MEDIF, prior to travel and signed by both the passenger and doctor is required. The form is available for download from Alitalia's site.

  • 04 of 20

    American Airlines

    ••• American Airlines at its Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport hub. Photo by Benet J. Wilson

    The Fort Worth-based carrier has different rules for international and domestic flights. For international flights, the carrier advises that travel shouldn’t take place within 30 days of a due date. If a pregnant mother needs to travel within 30 days of her baby's due date, she will need to get written certification from her doctor within 48 hours of the flight that she is medically fit for flying. The certificate will need to be presented at check-in. And if a pregnant woman needs to travel within 10 days of the baby's due date, authorization from the airline’s Special Assistance Team must be obtained.

    Continue to 5 of 20 below.
  • 05 of 20
    ••• A British Airways Airbus A380 parked at a gate at Washington-Dulles International Airport. Photo by Benet J. Wilson

    The U.K. carrier does not allow pregnant women to fly after the end of the 36th week if you are pregnant with one baby or the end of the 32nd week if you are pregnant with more than one baby. After 28 weeks, expecting mothers must carry a confirmation from a doctor or midwife, such as a letter or certificate, in addition to your pregnancy record. It should be written within seven days prior to travel and confirm your approximate due date, that you're fit to travel and that there are no complications with your pregnancy.

  • 06 of 20

    Delta Air Lines

    5249210383_b7c4f35676_b.jpg
    ••• Delta jets at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Photo by Benet J. Wilson

    The Atlanta-based carrier does not impose restrictions on flying for pregnant women, so a medical certificate is not required to travel. But the airline will not waive ticket change fees and penalties for pregnancy. The airline recommends that those flying after their eight month should check with their doctor to be sure travel is not restricted.

  • 07 of 20

    The UK-based No restrictions for pregnant passengers traveling up to the 27th week of pregnancy. But a doctor's certificate is required if an expectant mother is traveling between the 28th and 35th week of pregnancy. The certificate must be issued by a doctor or midwife, and must be dated within five days of the outbound travel date. No travel is permitted beyond the 36th week of pregnancy.

  • 08 of 20

    JetBlue

    ••• A JetBlue Embraer E190 at JFK Airport. Photo by Benet J. Wilson

    The New York-based carrier does not allow pregnant customers expecting to deliver within seven days to travel unless they provide a doctor's certificate dated no more than 72 hours prior to departure stating that the woman is physically fit for air travel to and from the destinations requested on the date of the flight and that the estimated date of delivery is after the date of the last flight.

    Continue to 9 of 20 below.
  • 09 of 20

    KLM

    4568261898_b49f495c35_b.jpg
    ••• KLM at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Photo by Benet J. Wilson

    The Dutch flag carrier recommends pregnant mothers not fly fly after the 36th week, along with the first week following delivery.

  • 10 of 20
    15440027472_080401baef_k.jpg
    ••• A Lufthansa Airbus A320 at a Munich Airport gate. Photo courtesy of Aero Icarus via Flickr http://bit.ly/1wGOqdT

    Expectant mothers with complication-free pregnancies can fly on the German flag carrier until the end of the 36th week of pregnancy or up to four weeks before their expected due date without a medical certificate from a gynecologist. But the airline recommends that pregnant women beyond the 28th week have a current letter from a gynecologist that includes confirmation that the pregnancy is progressing without complications and the expected due date. The doctor should expressly state that the patient’s pregnancy does not prevent her from flying.

    Because of the increased risk of thrombosis during pregnancy, the airline does recommend that expectant mothers wear compression stockings while flying.

  • 11 of 20
    ••• A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER at Australia's Perth International Airport. Photo courtesy of GFDL/Creative Commons BY-SA 30

    The Malaysian flag carrier requires medical clearance for expectant mothers approaching 35 weeks for international travel or 36 weeks for domestic travel. Non-Malaysian women who are pregnant beyond six months are not allowed to fly into the country. If medical clearance is required, the MEDIF application form should be completed by a doctor and submitted to the airline through its ticketing offices or travel agents at least five working days before traveling.

  • 12 of 20
    ••• A Philippines Airlines Airbus 340-300 at Hong Kong International Airport. Photo courtesy of Wilco737/Flickr

    An expectant mother who is in normal health and with no pregnancy complications will be allowed to fly without medical clearance after filling out an EMIS form. Pregnant women may be accepted for travel if they are not beyond 35 weeks if they fill out a part one of the EMIS form. Those between 24 and 32 weeks of pregnancy will have to fill out EMIS Form Part 2. And if the expectant mother is below 21 years of age, the consent in writing of the husband, parent or guardian must be secured. For expectant mothers beyond 32 weeks of pregnancy, EMIS Part 3 must be accomplished by the Flight Surgeon or Company Physician, who shall issue the clearance for travel

    Continue to 13 of 20 below.
  • 13 of 20

    Qantas

    ••• public domain

    On Australia's flag carrier for flights longer than four hours, women can fly up to the end of the 36th week for single pregnancies and the end of the 32nd week for multiple pregnancies. For flights under four hours, women can  travel up to the end of the 40th week for single pregnancies and the end of the 36th week for multiple pregnancies. The carrier requires medical clearance if there are pregnancy complications or it's not a routine pregnancy. After the 28th week, women are required to have a certificate or letter from a registered medical practitioner or registered midwife confirming the delivery date, whether it's a single or multiple pregnancy and that the pregnancy is routine.

  • 14 of 20
    ••• A Qatar Airways Airbus A380 jumbo jet. Photo courtesy of Qatar Airways

     No doctor's note is required for women traveling through their 28th week of pregnancy. Expectant mothers can fly between week 29 and week 32 with a doctor's note and a pregnancy with no complications. Those with multiple births will need a doctor's note and a Medical Information Form (Medif). Between weeks 33 and 35, women will need a doctor's note and a Medif. The airline does not accept women in their 36th week and beyond.

  • 15 of 20

    Ryanair

    ••• A Ryanair Boeing 737 at Spain's Madrid–Barajas Airport. Photo by Benét J. Wilson

     The low-cost Irish carrier allows expectant mothers to fly up to their 28th week of pregnancy. After that, the airline requires women to have a ‘fit to fly’ letter from their midwife or doctor. For an uncomplicated single pregnancy, travel is not permitted beyond the end of the 36th week of pregnancy, while the cut-off for an uncomplicated twins, triplets etc. is 32 weeks. 

  • 16 of 20
    ••• A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200. Photo courtesy of Singapore Airlines

    For uncomplicated single pregnancies, the carrier restricts expectant mothers from travelling beyond the 36th week of pregnancy; for  uncomplicated multiple pregnancies, the restriction is the 32nd week.

    For uncomplicated single pregnancies between 29 weeks and 36 weeks, expectant mothers must provide a medical certificate stating the following: (1) fitness to travel, (2) number of weeks of pregnancy and (3) estimated date of delivery. The certificate should be dated within ten days of the date of the first flight exceeding 28 weeks of pregnancy. This certificate will have to be presented at check-in when requested.

    Continue to 17 of 20 below.
  • 17 of 20

    Southwest Airlines

    ••• A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 parked at a Chicago Midway Airport gate. Photo courtesy of Benet J. Wilson

    The Dallas-based carrier advises expectant mothers at any stage of pregnancy should consult with their physicians prior to air travel. The airline recommends against air travel beginning at the 38th week of pregnancy.

  • 18 of 20

    Turkish Airlines

    ••• A Turkish Airlines Airbus A330. Photo coutesy of Turkish Airlines

    Turkey's flag carrier allows mothers pregnant with one child to travel between the 28th and 35th week if they have a doctor's report that includes the phrase, “There is no particular reason for the patient not to fly.” For women pregnant with more then one baby, the travel cut-off is the 31st week with a doctor's report. The report has to be no more than seven days from the travel date. 

  • 19 of 20

    United Airlines

    ••• A United Airlines Boeing 747 parked at Tokyo Narita Airport. Photo by Benet J. Wilson

    Any woman in the first eight months of pregnancy will be allowed to travel on the Chicago-based carrier without medical documentation. An expectant mother traveling during the ninth month of pregnancy must have the original and two copies of an obstetrician’s certificate, which must be dated within 72 hours of a flight’s departure. The original certificate should be submitted to a United representative at check-in.

  • 20 of 20

    Virgin Atlantic

    4193428824_fecbab17ed_b.jpg
    ••• Virgin Atlantic at Orlando International Airport. Photo by Benet J. Wilson

     The London-based airline allows travel without restrictions until the 28th week of pregnancy provided that it's free from complications. The carrier asks pregnant mothers to inform its Special Assistance department so they can offer appropriate inflight health advice. Between the 28th and 36th weeks of pregnancy, a doctor's or midwife's certificate is required, stating that the passenger is safe for travel and the expected due date (32 weeks if carrying multiples in an uncomplicated pregnancy). Beyond the 36th week of pregnancy, travel is only permitted for medical/compassionate reasons and the pregnant passenger is required to be accompanied by a medical escort. This travel is subject to the approval of a Virgin Atlantic doctor.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Please follow my travel-related magazines on Flipboard: Best of About Travel, a joint curation venture with my fellow About Travel Experts; and Travel-Go! There's Nothing Stopping You, all about the passenger experience on the ground and in the air. You can also find my travel-related boards on Pinterest, follow me on Twitter at @AvQueenBenet, on Instagram at aviationqueen and on Snapchat at AvQueenBenet.