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Flying without a fit to fly letter

(32 Posts)
ButtonAzure Fri 01-Oct-10 22:43:06

I've been really frustrated to be told that I can't have a fit to fly letter anymore as 28 week AN bloods came back as a little anemic. Have been taking Iron for a week now, but was told that it takes around 3 weeks for it to kick in (if so why don't they test for anemia earlier than 28 weeks?).
I was planning to fly - this Sunday - to Glasgow for a short break, a 1 hour flight. My midwife up till now assured me that I am low risk, and that the doctor would send me the letter well in time to fly.
Due to an admin mistake the letter was never ordered in the surgury, and so at the end of this week I was left to have to chase it up. I'm now 30 weeks and airline needs a letter after 27 weeks.

I'm new to the surgury, and have only seen a dr once since registering at the beginning of my pregnancy. I don't know if the drs are fobbing me off as they haven't had time to examine me properly (all AN appts have been really straightforward aside from this) or if there is a real risk to the baby - in which case I wouldn't even try to take the flight.

I have a fairly neat bump for 30 weeks, am not taking any baggage, so wonder where in the airport I would be stopped if I tried to wing it? Anyone had that experiance, or am I just being awful?

Hedgeblunder Fri 01-Oct-10 22:49:17

I'd probably just wing it and wear a nice big Cardigan!

Eglu Fri 01-Oct-10 22:53:03

Yes, I would wing it too. You are only going on a short flight. Not even leaving the country.

desertgirl Fri 01-Oct-10 23:26:05

you should be asked at check in/at the gate (the two points where you come across the airline as opposed to airport/security/etc staff) how pregnant you are, and if you say 30 weeks, they should not let you board without a fit to fly letter.

There are two different issues with regard to the not flying - the airline's concern and your doctor's. The airline's concern is that you aren't likely to go into labour on board; and doctors' usual concerns are around whether something might happen where you need quick medical attention, which you obviously wouldn't get if you were, for example, mid Atlantic. I don't know of any emergencies likely to be caused by anaemia (though that doesn't mean there aren't any).

In theory because the oxygen level is slightly lower while at altitude (it is the equivalent of being up a pretty high mountain rather than the equivalent of what is actually in the air outside the aircraft) if you are already anaemic, you could end up with your blood oxygen going lower than it should, which might not be a good idea - but I think you need to specifically ask your doctor whether they consider there is a risk to you and/or your baby, and what that risk is (the easy option for them, if anything is out of the ordinary, is not to take the risk of issuing a letter in case it comes back to bite them)

SugarMousePink Sat 02-Oct-10 00:13:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ButtonAzure Sat 02-Oct-10 10:13:29

I'm flying from London, so won't be up for more than an hour. My doctor friend who i'm going with is doing some reading in her big books today to check out my gps thought process in saying no. She thinks it is probably the Gp just covering themselves more than anything

WomblesAbound Sat 02-Oct-10 10:28:55

I did a 10 hour flight at 31 weeks. I was huge and obviously very pregnant, but one showed the slightest bit of interest. I had a letter for the way out, but didn't bother getting one for the way back.

laweaselmys Sat 02-Oct-10 10:51:06

Well it's up to you. I probably wouldn't though, as I know that flying can really set things off. One of my neighbours gave birth 3 mths early after a flight she was not really FTF for.

It was a much longer flight, and she had more serious problems, but still put me off!

desertgirl Sat 02-Oct-10 12:15:01

wombles, if you had gone into suspected labour on the flight, whoever checked you in and checked you through the gate would have been asked some very pointed questions....

laweasel, I have not heard of flying being particularly likely to set things off and can't think of any real reason that it should; are you sure there was a connection?

2rebecca Sat 02-Oct-10 12:21:08

This sort of thing usually requires an appointment with the GP. You sound as though you've tried to do things without actually seeing the GO which may be where all the "admin" problems come from.
Alot of antenatal care is now done without women seeing much of their GPs, but if it's a GP's letter you need, not a midwife's then you should have made an appointment with the GP. Usually hospital doctors can do these letters as well.
Agree it's the low oxygen that is the problem on flights. Anaemia further reduces the oxygen getting to the placenta.

LIZS Sat 02-Oct-10 12:32:21

If they ask at Check In (or gate/plane if you self check-in) and you cannot prove you are fit to fly then they/Captain of aircraft can refuse to carry you, either there and/or back. Insurance is a red herring because you're within UK and unlikely to need it medically, nor would it cover any refund should you be refused due to pg.

nzshar Sat 02-Oct-10 12:36:59

easy the airline needs fit to fly letter at 27 weeks just say you are 25 weeks simples

thisisyesterday Sat 02-Oct-10 12:37:48

well OP, they may well ask for proof of how pregnant you are (ie, your PG notes) and they can refuse to let you on if you don't have them

if you are flying easyjet i would say you have less than no chance of flying (i say this form experience)

i would fake one

cumfy Sat 02-Oct-10 12:57:00

Why do you want to endanger your baby ? hmm

Do you think they given you this advice just to piss you off or something ?

cumfy Sat 02-Oct-10 13:06:51

Re "Admin" side of things

When did the midwife say the letter would be issued ? after the tests came back ?

That sounds unlikely. Seems any request to issue FTF has "crossed" w them knowing they are awaiting your blood tests. They have then stalled on issuing it. No ?

brassband Sat 02-Oct-10 13:07:50

Just wear baggy stuff and look very indignant if they ask you how many weeks PG you are

ButtonAzure Sat 02-Oct-10 20:43:36

Didn't have an appointment with Gp initially because midwife didn't tell me I needed one, she told me that it was sorted on her advice, and that I would be able to pick one up from reception in a few days.

Checked in Monday, told it wasn't ready yet. Went back Friday morning, told letter hadn't been ordered at all,and that i should have put my request in in writing.
Later friday spoke to midwife who said she would sort it with dr, then spoke to dr, told me to come in for an urgent appt, would be examined but that letter should be issued then.
Saw on call gp friday evening, told me that due to anemia couldn't have a fit to fly at all, as was now not low risk.

Today have a letter from hospital calling it 'slight anemia' that a few iron tablets should rectify.

cumfy i definatly do not want to endanger my baby, its just that there doesn't seem to be any actual reason for this refusal except bad communication and doctors unwillingness to put their names to anything that is outside their policy, which I can completely understand, just wish I had better info from the 3 midwives and 2 Gps and 2 med receptionists that i've spoken to since idea of trip first came up!

Thanks everyone for the experiances and advice though.

fluffles Sat 02-Oct-10 20:46:56

just take the train?

it's only 4.5hrs london to glasgow now.

thecaptaincrocfamily Sat 02-Oct-10 21:42:30

As an ex RAF flight trained nurse I highly recommend you don't fly. With altitude it affect the pressure in your body, you require more oxygen, which if you are anaemic will already be depleted. In conjunction with less space for your lungs to take deeper breaths you very well risk hypoxia. Hypoxia in you will also decrease oxygen to the baby= not good.

There are good reasons why health professionals give advice hmm

thecaptaincrocfamily Sat 02-Oct-10 21:43:44

PS iron tablets take a few weeks to 'rectify it'.

thecaptaincrocfamily, I suspect if the OP hadn't been told different things by different health professionals she would have been more inclined to trust their advice...

CommanderCool Sat 02-Oct-10 21:51:30

I have been stopped at 28 weeks preg, with toddler in tow, and bumped off an Easyjet flight Stanstead to home in Glasgow.

They suggested I got a taxi - with toddler and all my luggage - to Basildon hospital to be examined there. Otherwise I could be seen by airport doc for £150 quid.

After crying for a bit they relented and let my doc fax a letter to them. We were finally put on the last flight at 11pm.

Dd1 was only 2 years old, I didn't have buggy with me, and I had yo carry her backwards and forwards gor what felt like miles.

Get a letter.

thecaptaincrocfamily Sat 02-Oct-10 21:52:24

Most NHS professionals don't learn flight nursing smile

CommanderCool Sat 02-Oct-10 21:52:54

Oh you have a letter.

Get the train.

Yes, and I suspect none of those who have told her completely opposite things in this case have learned flight nursing. She stands a better chance of getting advice from a health professional who has by posting on Mumsnet to ask whether there's a real risk (which is what she did, and what she got).

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