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.

Traveling with carers

The following conditions are recommended to travel with a Personal Care Attendant:
Medical needs

  • Not capable of feeding themselves 
  • Not capable of taking care of their own needs within the aircraft lavatory
  • Not capable of administering their own medicine and medical procedures
  • For safety reasons, our cabin crew are not permitted to carry a guest

The following conditions are required to travel with a Safety Assistant:

  • Stretcher
    All stretcher cases are required to travel with an escort, which, depending on the nature of the case, may be a personal care or medical escort, as advised by the Etihad Airways Medical Centre.
  • Mental disability or impairment
    Unable to comprehend or respond appropriately to safety instructions.
  • Severe mobility impairment
    Unable to physically evacuate the aircraft on their own.
  • Severe hearing and vision impairment
    Cannot communicate with airline staff.
with a Safety Assistant

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.

Medical information US rules

US Dept of Transport contact details

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's Web site - http://www.dot.gov/airconsumer

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 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.

Intellectual Deficiency

Intellectually deficient guests can travel if accompanied by an adult escort. A  MEDIF must be completed by the treating doctor and approved by the Etihad Airways Medical Centre.

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)

Flying on codeshare flights

Carriage and usage

If you are flying on a code share flight (operated by another carrier), please contact the operating carrier for all assistance. We cannot guarantee the service on other carriers not operated by Etihad Airways.