We care about your health and safety

Key principles to consider when assessing a guest's fitness to fly:
  1. Reduced atmospheric pressure
    Cabin air pressure changes greatly after takeoff and before landing. Gas expansion and contraction can cause pressure effects.

     
  2. Reduced partial pressure of oxygen
    The cabin air is pressurized to an altitude of up to 8000 feet and the partial pressure of oxygen is approximately 20% less than on the ground. Guests with heart and lung conditions or anaemia may be at risk. They may require supplemental oxygen or may need to postpone their flight. Complex conditions may require a high altitude simulation test.
Assessing a guest’s fitness to fly

3. The commercial aircraft cabin is not intended to replace the environment of a medical facility.
Access to advanced medical care is not possible. If a guest has a serious illness or is at risk for complications onboard, they must postpone their travel arrangements or travel by air ambulance.

Who needs Medical Clearance?

Medical Clearance

Medical clearance is required if the guest:

  • suffers from any condition which is believed to be actively contagious and communicable
  • is likely to be a hazard or a cause of discomfort to other guests, because of his/her physical or behavioural condition
  • is considered to be a potential hazard to the safety or punctuality of the flight, including the possibility of diversion
  • is incapable of caring for himself and requires special assistance
  • has a medical condition which may be adversely affected by the flight environment
  • has recently had a major medical incident
  • suffers from an unstable physical or psychological condition
  • requires a stretcher
  • requires in-flight oxygen or is using his/her own portable oxygen concentrator (POC) or ventilator
  • requires the use of battery-powered* medical equipment in-flight or needs to undertake any medical procedure during the flight (e.g. requires injections to be administered).

    *Only dry cell operated devices are accepted onboard.

If a guest does not fall into any of the above categories, but any doubt exists, prior medical clearance should be obtained.

Medical Certificate & MEDIF Form

Medical Certificate

MEDIF (Medical Information for Fitness to Travel or Special Assistance) forms must be submitted at least 72 hours prior to departure of the flight, along with the latest medical report from the treating physician in English, which should be issued not more than 10 days prior to the date of travel.

All fields in the MEDIF must be completed, signed and dated. Incomplete forms cannot be accepted for assessment.

The decision of whether or not a guest is fit to travel, remains that of the Etihad Airways Medical Centre (EAMC).

EAMC issues a Medical Certificate with approval, which is handed over to you through the respective Ticketing Office. You may be asked to show the certificate at any time during your journey and so are advised to keep this easily available.

A separate MEDIF may be required for the return journey as advised by the EAMC.

Etihad Airways must be notified immediately of any change in your condition prior to travel. In the event of sudden change in your condition during the journey, we shall ask you to obtain another MEDIF form in order to confirm that you are fit to continue travelling by air.

Guests with special needs

Divers

Decompression sickness occurs if diving is followed immediately by travel to altitudes above sea level. Guests who have been scuba diving should delay their travel by 24 hours and by 48 hours after decompression diving.

Guests suffering from decompression sickness will need to obtain medical clearance through MEDIF. Refer to the Etihad Airways Fitness to Fly Guidelines for acceptable timeframes after which you can travel.
Divers

Elderly Person or Senior citizen

Elderly persons may request the use of a wheelchair because of their age or because they are unable to walk.
Elderly Person or Senior Citizen

Children

Children with medical problems are subject to the same MEDIF procedure as adults.

We want our younger guests to have a pleasant flying experience, that is why we have special services just for them.

Know more ►

Etihad Airways Children

Newborn babies

Travelling with newborn babies is permitted only if more than seven days after birth, provided that it was an uncomplicated birth with no history of prematurity.

For any complications or premature birth, the submission of a MEDIF and medical report is required.

Newborn babies

Siamese or conjoined twins

Siamese twins are treated as special cases and their weight and age will determine the seating. They are to be treated as two guest and separate tickets must be issued.  It is necessary to have medical clearance through MEDIF to travel.

Siamese or conjoined twins

Pregnant mothers

Mothers expecting one or multiple children can travel during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy without a medical certificate.

There are travel guidelines for pregnant women beyond these weeks.

View Guidelines 

Pregnant mothers

Request for your special needs

Wheelchair

Categories of wheelchair assistance:

  • Ramp Wheelchair (WCHR) - Guest cannot walk a long way on the ramp, but can climb stairs and walk in the cabin
  • Step Wheelchair (WCHS) -  Guest cannot walk a long way on the ramp or climb stairs, but can walk in the cabin
  • Cabin Wheelchair (WCHC) - Guest cannot walk at all

Wheelchairs onboard
These are available on all Etihad Airways flights to assist non-ambulatory guests to move to/from the aircraft lavatory.

Travelling with your own wheelchair
We will accept your own wheelchair as baggage without charge and in addition to the free baggage allowance, provided that they operate with a dry cell battery.

All Etihad Airways aircraft operating to and from a U.S. airport shall have a priority space in the cabin for stowage of one folding wheelchair. This space is available on a first come, first served basis.

Special seating

Special seating We provide special seating like near the toilet or next to your escort.

Therapeutic Oxygen

You are required to submit a MEDIF in order to obtain medical clearance if you require oxygen or need to use your Personal Oxygen Concentrator (POC) for travel. This service must be requested at least 72 hours prior to departure.

We provide oxygen (with a simple facemask or nasal cannula at 1L, 2L, 3L, 4L or 8L/min) for use onboard our aircraft. 8L/min is subject to the specific route. We use the “Zero Two” oxygen cylinder which is compatible with other medical equipment. For details and specifications, please refer to the website of our provider aeromedicgroup.com.

If you are required to use supplemental oxygen on the ground (like in the airport terminal prior to boarding, after landing or during transit), you must use your own Personal Oxygen Concentrator (POC).

For more details on POC, please refer to the Medical Equipment section of this page.

Stretcher

A stretcher person is an ill / injured person who can only travel on a stretcher fitted in the aircraft. He or she is not able to adopt sitting position required during take-off or landing. Stretcher cases are accepted on board only for travel in Economy Class for which six or nine seat positions are required.

The MEDIF is required. This service must be requested at least 72 hours prior to departure.

Medical Escorts are mandatory for the acceptance of guests if it is mentioned in the medical certificate. Non-medical escorts are allowed to accompany medical cases unless there is a need for a qualified nurse or doctor. 

Baby bassinets

Baby bassinets

Bassinet positions are available onboard on a first-come, first-served basis in Economy Class and Business Class. Please book early to reserve one.

They have been carefully designed to accommodate infants under 10 months old and weighing less than 10kg.

Know more

Special meals

Special meals

Special diets for religious or other medical reasons can be requested through the online booking flow, when modifying your booking online or directly from your travel agent.

Know more ►

Important notes

  • If you require any of our special needs services, please request them when you make your reservation or at least 72 hours prior to the departure of your flight.

    Mobility Aids - Mobility aids such as canes, crutches and foldable walkers are allowed in the cabin. They must be securely stowed in approved stowage before take-off and landing. Upon request, our cabin crew will assist you with stowing and retrieving of your assistive devices.

    Onboard emergency medical equipment - These are intended only for use during unplanned emergencies.

    Hospital & ambulance arrangements - Ambulance and hospital admission or transfers arrangements are the responsibilities of the guest. We do not make ambulance or hospital admission arrangements.

    Flying with partner airlines - If your flight or a segment of your flight is operated by one of our many partner airlines, please contact the operating carrier for all assistance. We cannot guarantee the service on other carriers not operated by us.

    Contact us for more information

Travelling with escorts

An Escort is a person who is accompanying another guest. The following categories of guests are not considered suitable as Escorts:

Etihad escorts
  • Young guests (below the age of 18)
  • Physically or mentally impaired guests
  • Guests who are too weak or frail

Escorts are divided into 2 different categories: Safety Assistant and Personal Care Attendant. Click "Read more" to view descriptions.

Read more

Safety Assistant

A safety assistant is a person who will assist the guest to exit the aircraft in case of an emergency evacuation, or will establish communication with our cabin crew for safety briefing. 

A safety assistant is not a personal care attendant who looks after the guest's personal needs. A safety assistant shall be required as a condition of carriage in the following categories:

  • Stretcher case - the safety assistant must be capable of attending to the medical needs of the guest
  • Mental disability or impairment - unable to comprehend or respond to safety instructions (example: Alzheimer’s disease)
  • Severe mobility impairment - unable to physically assist in own evacuation
  • Severe hearing and vision impairments (example: deaf-blind)

Personal Care Attendant 

Guests who are not self-reliant are strongly recommended to travel with a Personal Care Attendant.

A Personal Care Attendant is a person who is fully familiar with the physical condition of a guest with a disability and capable of attending to the guest’s inflight needs (also in case of delays and flight irregularities) such as medical procedures, feeding, and assistance in using the lavatory facilities.

  • Stretcher case - The Safety Assistant must also be capable of attending to the medical needs of the guest.
  • Mental disability or impairment - unable to comprehend or respond to safety instructions (example: Alzheimer’s disease)
  • Severe mobility impairment - unable to physically assist in own evacuation
  • Severe hearing and vision impairments (example: deaf-blind)

Guests with specific medical conditions

On medication

It is advised that you carry your medication in your hand luggage, together with a prescription or letter from your doctor stating which medication you are using and for which medical conditions. This is to avoid issues with customs. Make sure that there are no restrictions on the medication which you are carrying in the country which you are visiting.

Some medication which are available over-the-counter in other countries may be classified as controlled substances in the UAE. A doctor’s prescription should be carried with any medication that is brought into the country. It is advised that travelers familiarize themselves with which medication they can and cannot bring into the country.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, it is advised that you see your doctor prior to your journey to ensure that your condition is well controlled.

Make sure that your health insurance is adequate and that it covers you for international travel.

Medication cannot be refrigerated onboard.

Allergy & Anaphylaxis

Etihad Airways cannot guarantee a cabin environment or food that will be free of specific allergens. Special non-allergic food arrangements have to be made by the guest.

A passenger who is at risk of anaphylaxis due to allergens must: 

  • Carry an auto-injector device (e.g. EpiPen) or syringe  in their hand luggage, and ensure that they or an escort are willing to and capable of administering it; and
  • Bring to the flight a medical certificate or doctor's letter which should not be older than 3 months from the date of travel confirming that they require the auto-injector device, and produce that medical certificate or doctor's letter to the airline.

Arthritis

Any guest suffering from arthritis may travel without medical clearance. However, if his or her ability to move is severely impaired, a medical report and MEDIF is required.

Artificial Limbs

Medical clearance is not required for guests who can use aircraft facilities on their own.

Asthma

Asthmatic guests do not require medical clearance to travel. They must be advised to take their medication with them in the hand luggage.

However, if oxygen is required, they need to get the clearance through MEDIF along with their doctor’s report for approval. 

Blind or Visually Impaired Guests

Permanently blind guests are allowed to travel without medical clearance, but indications of their needs must be mentioned at the time of making the reservation. Groups would require special clearance and 48 hours prior notification to Etihad Airways.

Temporarily blind guests are advised to have medical clearance through MEDIF.

On board the aircraft, cabin crew will read to you the meal menu options, identify food items and placement on your tray and assist with opening packages upon request.

Guide Dogs to Lead the Blind within the Cabin:
In accordance with United Arab Emirates (UAE) government regulations, all animals must enter the UAE as manifested cargo.  An exception is made for guide dogs (Seeing Eye Dogs trained to lead the blind) to travel free of charge in the aircraft cabin on Etihad Airways direct flights to or from the USA (country restrictions apply), unless it poses a direct threat to the health and safety of other guests or presents a threat of disruption in the aircraft cabin.

We require documentation that the dog will not need to relieve itself or can do so in a way that will not create a health or sanitation problem in the cabin (if the flight segment is scheduled to take eight hours or more).

If you intend to travel with a guide dog in the cabin, an advanced notice to your local Etihad Airways office is required at least 48 hours in advance in order for arrangements to be made at Abu Dhabi International Airport to receive the animal in the airport terminal.  

We also recommend that you bring an absorbent protective mat for the dog. The guide dog may accompany the guest in the aircraft cabin, provided that it can be accommodated without obstructing the cabin aisle or emergency exit rows.

The guide dog should be harnessed.

Deaf or Hearing Impaired and Mute Guests

Deaf and mute guests need not complete a MEDIF. However, they can request for Meet and Greet service at the time of reservation.

Onboard the aircraft, cabin crew will provide updates to you during the flight when announcements are made.

Diabetes

Guests suffering from diabetes do not require medical clearance for travel on Etihad Airways. However, you may require a special meal and treatment during travel. If you require a diabetic meal, you can request this at the time of your booking.

You should have a medical report from your doctor if you are carrying any medication or syringes in your hand luggage. This is to ensure that you do not have a problem with clearance at the security checks. Guests who use insulin are advised to carry this, appropriately packaged, in their hand luggage.

Medical clearance (through MEDIF) is required for unstable conditions or if you have recently been admitted to hospital.

Fractures

All guests with new fractures and  casts (the cast must be at least 48 hours old) require medical certificates.

Plasters should be split for fresh injuries (48 hours or less) which could swell inside the cast on a long flight.

Extra legroom for leg elevation is not possible in Economy class. Any guest who needs to keep his or her foot elevated should consider the benefit of booking in premium zones.

Lung or Heart Disease

Guests suffering from cardiopulmonary conditions which cause dyspnoea on walking more than 100m on the flat, or which has resulted in them requiring oxygen in hospital or at home (or previously required in-flight) may require supplemental oxygen onboard.

The aircraft oxygen is for emergency use only.

Guests with serious cardiopulmonary conditions and guests requesting continuous oxygen or the use of a stretcher should enclose a recent detailed medical report, including their oxygen saturation on room air and on supplemental oxygen and oxygen flow rate, with their MEDIF requests.

Physical Disabilities & Supporting Devices

There is no need to complete the MEDIF form if you simply require a wheelchair as far as the aircraft door; the travel agent can indicate this when making your reservation.

Civil Aviation Rules require all guests to be able to keep the aircraft seat with the seat back in the upright position when required.

The following supporting devices are acceptable for upper torso support:

  1. CARES Harness for children over 1 year and 20kg in weight (Y class only)
  2. SPECIAL CARES Harness for adult guests with special needs and children more than 20kg in weight
  3. CRELLING Harness (Model 27)
    - Y class only: Type 27I (2-5 years) & Type 27A (5-8 years)
    - All Classes: Type 27B (9 years - Adult)
  4. CRELLING Shoulder Strap (HSB1)
    - Y class only: Type HSB1 (2 years - Adult)

Medical Equipment

FAA Approved

All medical equipment intended to be used onboard must be FAA approved. The device must be labeled to indicate US FAA approval or the guest must provide a letter or certificate from the manufacturer stating the FAA approval. All medical devices must be battery operated (dry cell) with sufficient battery supply for 1.5 times the flight duration.

All ventilated cases require prior medical clearance and will be reviewed on a case-to-case basis by the Etihad Airways Medical Centre. If approved, all ventilated cases must be accompanied by a physician experienced in aeromedical transportation.

Portable Oxygen Concentrator

If you intend to use the device onboard, you must notify us at least 72 hours prior to the departure of your flight.

You must also bring a written statement (medical certificate), signed by a licensed physician, with you on the day of travel and report to the check-in desk one hour in advance of the scheduled check-in time.

Approved Brands
The following brands are currently approved by the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority for use onboard our aircraft:

  • AirSep Focus, AirSep FreeStyle, AirSep FreeStyle 5 and AirSep LifeStyle
  • DeVilbiss Healthcare iGo
  • Inogen One, Inogen One G2 and Inogen One G3
  • Inova Labs LifeChoice Activox,  Inova Labs LifeChoice or International Biophysics LifeChoice 
  • Invacare XPO2 and Invacare Solo2
  • Oxlife Independence
  • Oxus Inc. RS-00400 or Delphi RS-00400
  • Precision Medical EasyPulse
  • Respironics EverGo and Respironics SimplyGo
  • SeQual Eclipse
  • SeQual SAROS

Important Note
If you have a device newly approved by the FAA and is not listed above, you must notify us at least 120 hours prior to the departure of your flight and provide the supporting documents.

When a battery-powered personal oxygen concentrator is carried onboard aircraft as carry-on baggage and is not intended to be used during the flight, the battery must be removed and packaged separately, unless the concentrator contains at least two effective protective features to prevent accidental operation during transport.

Carriage and usage
The device(s) may be carried on and used by a guest onboard an aircraft, provided that the following conditions are conformed to:

  1. The device does not cause interference with electrical, navigation or communication equipment
  2. No smoking or open flame is permitted within 10 feet of any seat row where a person is using a portable oxygen concentrator
  3. During taxi, take-off and landing, the unit must:
    - either be stowed under the seat in front of the user, or in another approved stowage location, so that it does not block the aisle way of the entryway into the row
    - If it is to be operated by the user, be used only at a seat location that does not restrict any guest’s access to, or any required emergency or regular exit, or the aisle(s) in the compartment
  4. No person using a portable oxygen concentrator is permitted to sit in an exit row
  5. Whenever the pilot in command turns off the ‘Fasten Seatbelt’ sign, or otherwise signifies that permission is granted to move about the cabin, guests operating their portable oxygen concentrator may continue to operate it while moving about the cabin
  6. The user of the portable oxygen concentrator must comply with the following conditions to use the device onboard the aircraft:
  • The user must be capable of hearing the unit’s alarms, seeing the alarm light indicators and have the cognitive ability to take the appropriate action in response to the various caution and warning alarms and alarm light indicators, or be traveling with someone who is capable of performing those functions
  • The user must ensure that the portable oxygen concentrator is free of oil, grease or other petroleum products and is in good condition free from damage or other signs of excessive wear or abuse
  • The user must inform Etihad Airways Reservations Department that he or she intends to use a portable oxygen concentrator onboard the aircraft and must allow the crew of the aircraft to review the contents of the physician’s statement.
  • Only lotions or salves that are oxygen-approved may be used by persons using the portable oxygen concentrator device
  • The user, whose physician statement specifies the duration of oxygen use, must obtain from the aircraft operator, or by other means, the duration of the planned flight. The user must carry on the flight a sufficient number of batteries to power the device for the duration of the oxygen use specified in the user’s physician statement, including a conservative estimate of any unanticipated delays
  • The user must ensure that all portable oxygen concentrator batteries carried onboard the aircraft in carry-on baggage are protected from short circuit and are packaged in a manner that protects them from physical damage. Batteries protected from short circuit include:
    - Those designed with recessed battery terminals; or
    - Those packaged so that the battery terminals do not contact metal objects (including the battery terminals of other batteries).

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Devices (CPAP/PAP)

If you intend to use the device on board, you must notify us at least 72 hours prior to the departure of your flight.

You must also bring a written statement (medical certificate), signed by a licensed physician, with you on the day of travel and report to the check-in desk one hour in advance of the scheduled check-in time.

The written statement (medical certificate) must state the following:

  1. Whether the user of the device has the physical and cognitive ability to see, hear and understand the device’s aural and visual cautions and warnings and is able, without assistance, to take the appropriate action in response to those cautions and warnings
  2. Whether or not oxygen use is medically necessary for all or a portion of the duration of the trip
  3. Specify the maximum oxygen flow rate (corresponding to the pressure in the cabin of the aircraft under normal operating conditions).

Carriage and Usage
The device(s) may be carried on and used by a guest onboard an aircraft, provided that the following conditions are conformed to:

  1. The particular ventilator, respirator or continuous positive airway pressure device(s) must be labeled by the manufacturer to reflect that it has been tested to meet applicable United States Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) / Department Of Transport requirements for medical portable electronic devices.
  2. The maximum weight and dimensions (length, width, height) of any device to be used by an individual that can be accommodated in the aircraft cabin; under seat, over head stowage or secured against lateral and/or vertical movements.
  3. The device(s) to be used only at a seat location that does not restrict any guest’s access to, or any required emergency or regular exit, or the aisle(s) in the cabin compartment; and the user is not permitted to sit in an exit row.
  4. The requirement to bring an adequate number of batteries and to ensure that extra batteries carried onboard to power the device, are packaged in accordance with applicable safety regulations.

    Check-in staff ensures the devices are in compliance with the above mentioned conditions. 

You are responsible for travelling with a sufficient supply of batteries to last the entire journey (including transit and unexpected delays).

You must ensure that the batteries for the approved devices carried onboard the aircraft in carry-on baggage are protected from short circuit and are packaged in a manner that protects them from physical damage.

Batteries protected from short circuit include: 

  • Those designed with recessed battery terminals; or
  • Those packaged so that the battery terminals do not contact metal objects (including the battery terminals of other batteries).

If the device is carried onboard an aircraft as carry-on baggage, but is not intended to be used during the flight, the batteries must be removed and packaged separately, unless the device contains at least two effective protective features to prevent accidental operation during transport.

Respirators and Ventilators

Prior medical clearance through the MEDIF system is required.

If you intend to use the device on board, you must notify us at least 72 hours prior to the departure of your flight.

Guests requiring the use of a ventilator will usually be accompanied by a physician or experienced nurse. The appropriateness of a nurse or doctor escort will be evaluated by the Etihad Airways Medical Centre, based on the provided medical reports.

A written statement (medical certificate), signed by a licensed physician, must also be provided on the day of travel. Report to the check-in desk one hour in advance of the scheduled check-in time.

The Medical Certificate must state:

  1. Whether the user of the device has the physical and cognitive ability to see, hear and understand the device’s aural and visual cautions and warnings and is able, without assistance, to take the appropriate action in response to those cautions and warnings.
  2. Whether or not oxygen use is medically necessary for all or a portion of the duration of the trip.
  3. Specifies the maximum oxygen flow rate (corresponding to the pressure in the cabin of the aircraft under normal operating conditions).

Carriage and Usage
The device(s) may be carried on and used by a guest onboard an aircraft, provided that the following conditions are conformed to:

  1. Prior medical clearance through the MEDIF system is required (Etihad Medical Certificate) for carriage of ventilators and respirators only. 
  2. The particular ventilator, respirator or continuous positive airway pressure device(s) must be labeled by the manufacturer to reflect that it has been tested to meet applicable United States Federal Aviation Authority(FAA) / Department of Transport requirements for medical portable electronic devices.
  3. The maximum weight and dimensions (length, width, height) of any device to be used by an individual that can be accommodated in the aircraft cabin; under seat, overhead stowage or secured against lateral and / or vertical movements.
  4. The device(s) to be used only at a seat location that does not restrict any guest’s access to, or any required emergency or regular exit, or the aisle(s) in the cabin compartment; and the user is not permitted to sit in an exit row.
  5. The requirement to bring an adequate number of batteries and to ensure that extra batteries carried onboard to power the device, are packaged in accordance with applicable safety regulations.
  6. Check-in staff ensures the devices are in compliance with the above mentioned conditions.

US rule for non-discrimination on the basis of disability

Etihad Airways is covered by this rule for any flight to or from a US airport.

A full copy of the rule is available for viewing on request at our airports serving the US.

Contact the US Department of Transport directly using the following methods:

  • For calls made from within the United States, by telephone via the Toll-Free Hotline for Air Travelers with Disabilities at 1-800-778-4838 (Voice) or 1-800-455-9880 (TTY) 
  • By Telephone to the Aviation Consumer Protection Division at 202-366-2220 (Voice) or 202-366-0511 (TTY)
  • By mail to the Air Consumer Protection Division, C-75, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., West Building, Room W96-432, Washington, DC 20590 
  • On the Aviation Consumer Protection Division Website:  http://www.dot.gov/airconsumer