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Flying: doctor's note

(26 Posts)
cornichons Wed 10-Jun-09 09:34:16


I'll be 30 weeks on saturday and I'm due to fly to the south of France (1.5 hours flight). I knew you needed to get a doctor's note past 27 weeks so I called the doc surgery and they were really not interested. Said they couldn't do it before my holiday and when I insisted they told me to put my request in writing, drop it of at the surgery with £15 in cash and that I could pick up the note on Friday.

I don't want to be funny or anything but what's the point of it all if they don't even check you out?? It's look to me like a good way to make a quick £15, that's all!

So, do you reckon I can do without? Has anyone ever been asked for that stupid note?


scratchet Wed 10-Jun-09 09:42:46

Might be an idea to ring the airline and check their policy. Has your pregnancy been low risk so far? x

Toppy Wed 10-Jun-09 09:55:40

You need the note otherwise the airline can refuse to carry you but my friends and I have NEVER been asked to produce it (we usually have flown BA.
In short YUP - it is a quick £15 for the surgery sadly. I have got the same issue facing me for a flight at 34 weeks am and going to ask my midwife team this time round in the hope that they won't charge.
Just take your notes with you - France is one of the best countries to be in should you need any medical help.
Have a lovely time

waters Wed 10-Jun-09 10:04:20

Defo check with the Airline and also it depends what your GPs are like I tried to get a note to fly when I was 27 weeks to go to Ireland an hours flight, I had a healthy pregnancy but the doctor refused to give me one.
Good luck

cornichons Wed 10-Jun-09 10:11:05

Thanks both.

Yep so far it's been all rosy, which is why I resent the whole thing a bit.

We're flying BA and on their website they do say that past 28 weeks you've got to produce that note... I'm tempted to rock up see if anyone says anything and tell them I'm 27 weeks if they ask me. I'm quite big though...

Toppy, good point about the notes, I hadn't thought about it. I'm French so I'm not too worried, I can explain my condition if anything happens.

I will be going to France again when Im 35 weeks but we'll drive this time. I really hope I don't give birth on the way!!

cornichons Wed 10-Jun-09 10:12:40

So Waters, did you fly anyway or did you cancel your trip?

lastboxoftampons Wed 10-Jun-09 10:30:52

I flew to South Africa at 27 weeks, returned at 28.5 and then again to the US at 31 weeks, back at 32. I was only asked for a note on the way back from the US and it's only because I mentioned something about the baby (sneakily TRYINg to in vain to get upgraded as I'm a Silver member on Virgin grin - didn't work!). those check-in desks are very high and I don't see why you couldn't tell them whatever you wanted if they asked how far along you were hmm

My midwife wouldn't do the note, told me I needed to see the GP. I made a 'sick' appointment to see the GP because I'd left it a bit late. The doctor was slightly annoyed that the midwife wouldn't do it for me, as she said the midwife knows my situation better than anyone else and is therefore most qualified to write the letter - all very true! - but she did it anyway. No charge from the surgery and I was able to walk right out with it.

But I agree with you the whole exercise seems pointless as with most airlines your letter can be written at any time and is valid as long as your circumstances don't change. But if you already have the letter and your circumstances DO change, how's the airline to know if you don't say hmm

Anyway, hope it all works out for you and have a lovely time! smile

cornichons Wed 10-Jun-09 10:41:56

Lastboxoftampons (great name!) thanks! I'm more and more tempted to blag it and possibly wear a big jumper so that I don't look too huge.

I had the same experience with GP and midwife contradicting each other all the time. I went through a phase of getting up to 3 nosebleed a day, told my GP who told me to ring the midwife, rang the midwife who told me to talk to my GP! And at my last antenatal appointment the GP talked to me about getting councelling for something (long story) and told me that my midwife would refer me to someone. Went to see the midwife who told me my GP was "trying to pass the buck" and that she couldn't refer me. After a few tears she magically could refer me.... Having said that I still haven't heard from anyone so she probably said that to get rid of me!

Treats Wed 10-Jun-09 12:52:37

Oooh - this is interesting. I'm flying to Riga when I'm 28+2 and have been told I will need a doctor's note for that. Didn't anticipate that they'd charge me for it, although I guess I'm not surprised. Am very surprised to hear that they might not even check you over though!!! What's the point of a doctor confirming that you're fit to travel if they haven't even looked at you?

Am now wondering if we should just wing it without the note if they're checked so infrequently. Ryanair are unlikely to be the most fussy about these things. On the other hand, I'd bet they use it as an opportunity to bump me off the flight and refuse to refund me.......

<<waves to LBOT - former temping buddy>>

MiaMamma Wed 10-Jun-09 13:04:29

I made an appointment with GP without telling what was it for when I needed the note. Went in, he wrote the note without even asking about my pregnancy, only how many weeks (was 27w then) and he didn't even charge me, said that he's in the good mood today!

When flying the check-in guy noticed I'm pregnant (I wore a top what makes my bump look bigger than it is, I must have looked like 40w!), asked for a note and said it need to be confirmed by some airport manager type person. He left us there waiting for about 10mins! Came back, said everything's fine and made a note on my ticket that I'm pregnant and ok to fly. That was annoying part as it made it very confusing to the people who checked the ticket on aeroplane, I really thought at one point they wont let me on!!

Coming back from Italy week later I decided to 'hide' my bump with floaty top and the shawl, to make bump look smaller, just didn't want any hassle and waiting around anymore. Nobody asked any questions.

I think if I had to fly again I would still get the note from GP but at airport try to hide the bump or make it look smaller, IYKWIM.

olivo Wed 10-Jun-09 13:20:43

i was asked for one at 24 weeks ( i was big, but not that big!) by an airline. fortunately, i had my pg notes and my gp had written that i was fit to fly and be on holiday. i still had to sign a disclaimer though, something about being responsible for costs if something had happened.i was low risk.

i think its worth getting one. enjoy your trip.

lastboxoftampons Wed 10-Jun-09 14:55:08

Hi Treats! smile How are you doing? Hope you're feeling well! It's flying by, isn't it? I'm 34w on Friday! shock

TBH, I would get one if it's not too much of a hassle. Ryanair are notoriously dodgy and I wouldn't chance giving them any reason to toss me.

Toppy Wed 10-Jun-09 17:08:04

LBOT - did you just have the one note to cover both flights? I am off to Italy at 30 weeks then France at 34 and am hoping one note will cover both

PacificDogwood Wed 10-Jun-09 17:12:38

Note is simply so you cannot sue airline should you go into labour in midair - major legal passing the buck. It simply confirms the dates of your pregnancy.

And, no, it is not an NHS service so a fee is usually charged. How much would you expect to pay a lawyer to give you any kind of certificate?

Personally, I have claimed to be less than 30 weeks when flying (short-haul) to avoid all the hassle.

lastboxoftampons Wed 10-Jun-09 17:29:26

Toppy - yes, one note covered both flights. Was written when I was just past 26 weeks. I flew Virgin both times and their website says that as long as your condition does not change, the note can be written at any time.

cornichons Wed 10-Jun-09 18:02:59

Oooh! This is agonising! Don't know what to do!! I'm a really bad liar so I'm not sure I can pull off blagging it but I think the whole exercise is ridiculous since they won't even check I'm ok. As far as I'm concerned it's slightly bending the Hippocratic oath...

duende Wed 10-Jun-09 19:24:01

I wouldn't try and blag it. if you haven't got a note on you which confirms that you can fly and also how far gone you are, the airline can refuse to let you on board. So it you tell the check in people, or cabin crew that you're 27 weeks, but they aren't convinced and you can't prove it, you may be going GP charged £10. I was happy to pay it and not risk that my trip would end up in tears.

KatyS36 Wed 10-Jun-09 22:06:32

It's frustrating, annoying etc, however I would just pay.

There is a risk that they could ask for it and then refuse to let you fly.

I wouldn't risk either the stress or ruining your holiday

good luck

cornichons Thu 11-Jun-09 11:09:02

I dropped my letter off this morning... I talked to my husband about it who very matter of factly told me to stop being so damn stubborn and that if I blagged it and that we were refused to board the plane I would have no support for him... That was me warned... I don’t especially want to start our holiday with a massive row.

Thanks all for your advice.

Zorra Thu 11-Jun-09 11:21:31

Agree, it's worth having (and paying for) the note, even though you are unlikely to need it.

I flew long and short haul throughout my pregnancy for work, and have just flown Entebbe-Nairobi-London at 33 weeks to try and get home in time to organise the birth! I wasn't asked for any note, but I had one just in case.

Have a lovely trip - I'm itching to travel again and only been back a week!

Katie73 Mon 15-Jun-09 17:12:14

Hey ladies,

Is the one doctor's note pre travel sufficient or do you need to get another while abroad to fly back again?

What about insurance policies?


makipuppy Mon 15-Jun-09 19:32:09

Hi, I've had to get three of these notes in the past two weeks!

I'm flying a lot with work, living in Germany, I have to have an appt with my gynae who does a full examination, with bloods and pee and everything, before giving me my note.

I've been asked for it on every flight, usually at the boarding gate, but my bump is pretty impressive and I make no effort to hide it (I'm 30 weeks). It depends on the staff I suppose.

You need one between 28 and 35 weeks - after that they won't take you.

My doctor doesn't charge me.

makipuppy Mon 15-Jun-09 19:32:35

They need to be dated within one week too...

Katie73 Tue 16-Jun-09 10:35:19

Hi Makipuppy! - thank you for your responses, you seem to be the font of all knowledge on this topic and very intrepid flying so much for work at your stage!

I'm going to book my flights and see how things go nearer the time and whether I get that doctor's note and am feeling up for it.


lucky1979 Tue 16-Jun-09 13:49:40

I asked my midwife about it (not flying until August when will be 29 weeks and she said that the doctor had to do it so that it was official.

Not sure if that is the case everywhere though.

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