What you need to know about airline pregnancy policies before you travel
A woman from Victoria has been refused entry onto a flight from Sydney to Melbourne because she was 35-weeks pregnant.
Aileen Chand, flying with her 2-year-old son and husband, was denied entry onto the plane because her doctor's certificate had expired by one day.
Chand, who was one day into her 35th week was told by Tigerair staff that her family could fly to Melbourne, but she would have to remain in Sydney.
"The staff suggested my son and husband fly back to Melbourne without me and I became very distressed. I don't drive and never travel alone," she told Yahoo7.
Instead, the entire family slept at a bus shelter for two hours while they waited to be picked up by a family friend.
The Tigerair policy states that passengers who are between 30 and 34 weeks pregnant require a medical certificate. Chand had the certificate but was one day into her 35th week.
The family was forced to fly the following day with Jetstar, which had no problem allowing Chand onto their flight, as their policy allows pregnant women fly up to their 40th week with a medical certificate.
If you're planning a flight while heavily pregnant, be sure to make yourself familiar with the following policies.
Women who are 28 weeks pregnant or more must carry a certificate from a registered doctor or midwife, no more than 10 days prior to flying with Jetstar. The documentation must state the expected delivery date, whether it is a single or multiple pregnancy and that there are no reported complications. The certificate must be available at all times, and Jetstar suggests not flying in last two to three weeks of a pregnancy.
According to Tigerair's policy, pregnant women must complete their full journey by the end of their 34th week of pregnancy. Stating that, "Flying is not permitted from the beginning of the 35th week onwards." A medical certificate to confirm this information must be carried by the passenger and staff should be alerted while making a booking with their contact centre.
Pregnant women who are more than 28 weeks along also require a letter from their doctor or midwife, issued no more than 10 days prior to travel with Virgin Australia. Information should include due date, whether it is a single or multiple birth, that there are no complications and that the passenger is fit to fly for the allocated time of the flights booked. Virgin also has a list of suggested times when women are not fit to travel with them, including after 36 weeks on flights of more than four hours and 38 weeks on flights less than four hours.
Qantas Airways also requires a medical certificate from women looking to fly after the 28th week of their pregnancy. Women with routine pregnancies can travel up to the end of the 36th week for single pregnancies and up to the end of the 32nd week for multiple pregnancies on flights more than four hours. On flights less than four hours, women in the 40th week for single pregnancies and the end of the 36th week for multiple pregnancies are able to fly.
Other major airlines
- Airnorth Airlines: There are no restrictions on flying on domestic flights with Airnorth Airlines for a normal uncomplicated pregnancy, but a medical certificate is required if travelling past the 36th week.
- FlyPelican: Pregnant passengers who are more than 28 weeks pregnant are able to fly with FlyPelican as long as they have a certificate issued from a doctor. Passengers more than 36 weeks are unable to travel.
- Regional Express: Passengers flying with Regional Express are required to show a medical certificate that they are fit to fly beyond the 36th week, if a single pregnancy, and at any stage of gestation if there are multiple pregnancies or complications.
Each airline policy is different and takes into account a variety of factors, including complications and the type of pregnancy, so be sure to get in touch with your carrier prior to flying to make sure you are as prepared as possible.