I travel frequently, by air, road, and water – every other week will find me on a small tour for business purposes. And because I’m such an experienced flier, it really did not occur to me to consult any rules. And, as you have probably guessed by now … Yes, I was detained, and not allowed to board my flight for a few sunny beach days before the baby came along.
While the rules may be annoying and vacation-fun-killing, they’re important because they are there for your safety and for the safety of the tiny human you’re carrying. (I reminded myself of this noble cause as I drowned my grief with donuts.) And while mid-flight deliveries sound cool in the news bulletin at 8 pm, they’re definitely not fun, and absolutely not worth the risk. Scroll down to read more about top US airlines pregnancy travel policies (2016).
1st-8th month of Pregnancy: You’re good to go! Do check with your doctor before you travel, though. You don’t need any official medical permit to fly.
9th month of Pregnancy: Expecting mothers in their last month of pregnancy must get an original obstetrician’s certificate, which states clearly that the patient is physically fit and there are no complications in the pregnancy.
Be careful of the dates:
- The certificate must be dated within 3 days before departure (one day is best).
- The certificate must state that the patient can travel in the dates the flight is for.
- The estimated date of delivery must be after the date of the last flight on the traveler’s itinerary.
Additionally: Keep 2 photocopies of this certificate with you. The original will be submitted to the Airline Representative at Check-In, and the copies might be asked for in flight or on arrival.
Bonus info: American Airlines offers their own wheelchair assistance for pregnant travelers.
1st to 8th month of Pregnancy: Plan. Buy. Board. Happy Holidays!
9th month of Pregnancy: Ah, hello there. Thinking of a holiday in the last 30 days? Read on:
For International Flights:
- You will need a written certificate from your doctor dated within 48 hours before flight departure. This certificate will be needed for check-in.
- If the flight is within the last 10 days of pregnancy, i.e. 10 days before the expected delivery date estimated by the doctor, you will have to apply for authorisation from the Special Assistance Team of American Airlines.
For flights within the United States, or within the region of Canada, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands:
- If your pregnancy has been uncomplicated till the 9th month of pregnancy, you can travel in this region up to the last 7 days before the expected delivery date.
- Pregnant women are not allowed to travel within the last 7 days before the expected due date. However, if you will be traveling on a connecting international flight 7 days before or after the expected due date, you’ll have to obtain authorisation from the Special Assistance Team before you can fly.
DELTA AIR LINES
1st to 9th month of Pregnancy: Delta Air Lines does not require any paperwork to be submitted by expectant mothers, but recommends that you ask your doctor for permission to fly. And I agree, ladies! It’s better to be safe than sorry!
1st to 9th month of Pregnancy: Like Delta Air Lines, you don’t need any written medical clearance to fly; but you should, at every stage of pregnancy, ask your doctor before you do. Southwest Airlines ‘‘recommends against air travel beginning at the 38th week of pregnancy.’’
Additionally: Southwest Airlines have stated in their Pregnant passengers policy that;
Depending on their physical condition, strength, and agility, pregnant women may, in some cases, be asked not to sit in the emergency exit row.
This means that you might not get the seat you wanted if it is in the emergency exit row or obstructing it. However, it should not be a problem if you buy your seat early enough.
1st-8th month of Pregnancy: You may pass through the gates without a second glance!
9th month of Pregnancy: You’re allowed to fly without any written medical certificate till 7 days before the expected delivery date of the baby. However, you may travel in these last 7 days too (why would you even want to, though?) but you will need to obtain a medical clearance certificate dated within 72 hours prior to your departure.
Additionally: The aforementioned medical certificate must state the doctors permission of the dates, the destinations to and from and also carry the expected due date. This, obviously, must be after the date of the last flight.
1st-8th month of Pregnancy: You’re allowed to travel, no questions asked.
9th month of Pregnancy: Spirit Airlines are still not asking for a medical certificate but they do recommend ‘‘an examination from her physician shortly before flying to confirm it is safe for them to travel.’’ So, be good mommies and visit the Doctor first!
So before you pack your bags, check out which airline you’ll be traveling by and what you need to give them to be able to board. Regardless of the Airline policy, always check with your doctor before flying. Happy holidays!