Flights between Canada and the U.S.
All other flights
Air Canada is subject to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Rule on "Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel" (14 CFR Part 382) applicable to the services we offer customers with special needs who:
- Are travelling on a flight between Canada and the United States; and
- Have purchased a ticket with an Air-Canada operated flight through a US-based airline (the ticket will then bear the code of the US airline, e.g. United Airlines' UA 7811).
Conditions Requiring Advance Notice
List of Conditions
- You require medical oxygen or need to use your personal oxygen concentrator (POC).
- Approved POCs must bear a label from the manufacturer to reflect that they have been tested to meet requirements for such devices set by the Canadian government.
- You are travelling with an electric wheelchair on a Dash 8, CRJ or Beech aircraft (fewer than 60 seats).
- Although advance notice is required only for the smaller aircraft listed above, we recommend that you contact Air Canada Reservations in advance for all aircraft types to ensure proper handling of your wheelchair. View our fleet pages for more information on our aircraft.
- You are travelling with a dog as an emotional support or psychiatric service animal in the cabin. See the "Service animal" question below for more information.
- You have both a severe hearing and severe vision impairment.
- You need Air Canada to provide hazardous materials packaging for the battery of your battery-operated assistive device (e.g. wheelchair);
- You are travelling as part of a group of ten or more qualified individuals with a disability;
- You are travelling with a service animal on a flight segment scheduled to take 8 hours or more. See the 'Service animal' question below for more information.
- You have a severe allergy to peanuts or nuts, or are severely allergic to cats or dogs, and would like to request a buffer zone in order to help avoid the risk of exposure.
However, no medical approval is required prior to travel, unless otherwise stated in the "Do I need medical approval for travel?" section below.
If none of the situations listed above apply to you, you are not required to provide advance notice. However, if you require special assistance at the airport or in flight, or need special seating accommodations, we highly recommend that you contact Air Canada Reservations in advance, so we can better serve your needs.
Conditions Requiring Medical Approval
If one of the medical conditions listed below applies to you, you may be required to provide a medical certificate. Alternatively, we recommend that you ask your treating physician to complete the Fitness for Travel formOpen PDF file, in particular its Section 4.
- You require medical oxygen or need to use your personal oxygen concentrator (POC).
- In addition to Section 4, your treating physician should also complete Section 1 of the Fitness for Travel formOpen PDF file.
- You have an infectious or contagious disease that could pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others on your flight (e.g. tuberculosis).
- There is medical reasonable doubt that you can complete the flight safely without requiring extraordinary assistance during the flight.
Air Canada also requires 48 hours’ advanced notice if you have any of the medical conditions listed above. We will nonetheless make a reasonable effort to accommodate reservations made within these time frames.
If you are not sure whether you require a medical certificate for travel, please contact Air Canada Reservations.
Fitness for Travel Form
The cabin environment on a flight is not the same as on the ground. In certain individuals, high altitude may affect the oxygen concentration in the blood. As such, certain medical conditions may be affected by high altitude. Air Canada has identified these conditions and, for all of its flights - with the exception of flights between Canada and the United States or flights for which passengers hold a ticket with a US-based airline coded flight operated by Air Canada (e.g. UA7811) - Air Canada requires that persons with these conditions have their treating physician complete a Fitness for Travel formOpen PDF file. This is to ensure the passenger's condition will not be aggravated during flight, and will not require emergency diversion.
The U.S. Department of Transportation states that, if you are travelling between Canada and the U. S. or hold a ticket with a US-based airline coded flight operated by Air Canada (e.g. UA7811), we cannot require that you to complete the Fitness for Travel formOpen PDF file.
When to Request Medical Approval
Air Canada requires 48 hours advanced notice if you have any of the medical conditions listed in the "Medical certificate" section above.
Air Canada will nonetheless make a reasonable effort to accommodate reservations made within these time frames.
Please read and follow the procedure for requesting medical approval carefully.
Conditions Requiring Advance Notice and Medical Approval
You will need to provide at least 48 hours’ advance notice (72 hours for certain destinations) and obtain medical approval before travel if one of the situations below applies to you.
Allergies to cats/dogs (severe)
Allergies to peanuts or other nuts (severe)
You have a severe allergy to peanuts or nuts and would like to request a buffer zone in order to help avoid the risk of exposure.
Although medical approval is not required for severe allergies to peanuts or nuts, please provide at least 48 hours’ advance notice to the Air Canada Medical Assistance Desk, regardless of your itinerary, if you wish to request a buffer zone.
You have severe anaemia (hemoglobin level below 90 g/L).
You are travelling with an attendant.
- Your attendant must be 16 years of age or older and capable of helping you with your personal and physical needs during the flight.
Cast or recent fracture
You have recently suffered a major fracture (for example, to your spine or pelvis).
A cast was placed on a part of your body within 48 hours of your scheduled flight.
- Your cast must be bivalved.
Cognitive or medical impairment
You have a cognitive or medical impairment (for example, Down syndrome, Alzheimer's disease).
We offer a Service for Unaccompanied Adult Requiring Assistance. You may need to travel with an attendant. Contact the Air Canada Medical Assistance Desk for more information.
You’ve had a seizure within 4 weeks of your scheduled flight.
You have chronic obstructive lung disease (for example, emphysema) or a chronic heart condition.
A change in cabin pressure at high altitude may worsen your medical condition.
You’re travelling with an infant aged 7 days or less, a premature infant, or an infant less than 12 months old with a significant medical condition, who has recently undergone medical treatment.
You have an infectious or contagious disease (e.g. tuberculosis or chicken pox) that could pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others on your flight.
Major medical incident
You have suffered from a recent major medical incident (for example, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, respiratory failure).
Medical incident on board a previous flight
You’ve had an incident on board a previous flight or at the airport and may require medical attention.
Obesity, disability caused by
You are disabled by obesity.
- View special seating information.
You require medical oxygen or need to use an approved Personal Oxygen Concentrator.
You’ve undergone surgery (e.g. appendectomy or gall bladder surgery) within 2 weeks of your scheduled flight.
Thrombophlebitis (D.V.T. – deep venous thrombosis)
You have had thrombophlebitis (e.g. blood clots in your veins) in the 2 weeks preceding your scheduled flight.
Unaccompanied minor with a medical condition
Unstable medical condition
You suffer from an unstable medical condition, either physical or psychological.
Vision and hearing impairment, severe
You have both a severe hearing and a severe vision impairment but wish to travel without an attendant because you feel you have sufficient residual hearing and/or residual vision to be able to receive and understand safety instructions.
Even if your situation doesn’t require advance notice and medical approval, but you feel you need special assistance at the airport or in flight, please let us know in advance. Contact Air Canada Reservations and we’ll make sure your needs are met.
Requesting Medical Approval - When and How
Medical approval for travel must be requested at least 48 hours before departure (72 hours before for certain destinations)
We will also make a reasonable effort to accommodate requests made within this time frame.
How to request medical approval
If any of the medical conditions listed in the question above apply to you, you’ll need to request medical approval, as follows:
- Book your flight at aircanada.com, with Air Canada Reservations, or with a travel agent.
- Print a copy of the Air Canada Fitness for Travel formOpen PDF file and:
- Complete Section A by entering your name, contact information and flight details;
- Have your attending physician complete all other sections that apply to your medical condition.
- Email* us your completed Fitness for Travel form at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Make sure the subject line of your email contains your date of travel (day, month and year), family and first name, and Booking Reference. For example: 26/SEPT/2012, Jones, Mary, N3EI4E
- We will need to receive your completed form at least 48 hours before your departure (72 hours before for certain destinations).
- The Air Canada Medical Assistance Desk will review your request and confirm if you are deemed fit for travel, with or without conditions.
*If you prefer, you can also fax your completed form to us at: 1-888-334-7717 or 514-828-0027.
About Long-term Medical Approval
The Air Canada Medical Assistance Desk assigns long-term medical approval only on a case-by-case basis. Such approval may be awarded only to certain customers with a permanent, stable disability, including customers who have:
- a disability caused by obesity
- cerebral palsy
- down syndrome
- severe allergy to cats or dogs
With long-term medical approval, you do not need to request medical approval every time you fly. You need only:
- contact the Air Canada Medical Assistance Desk once you have booked your flight, and
- provide the long term medical approval number that will have been assigned to you when you got your medical approval.
The medical information you will have provided on the Fitness for Travel form will be on file. However, it is your responsibility to advise Air Canada of any changes to the information you provided on the Fitness for Travel form.
Long-term medical approval for travel with an attendant
You may get long-term medical approval for travel with an attendant.
You must keep the Air Canada Medical Assistance Desk advised of any changes to the information you have provided in your Fitness for Travel form, or of any new medical condition.
Passengers disabled by obesity
If you’re disabled by obesity and have obtained long-term medical approval, it will be valid for 2 years, unless there are other medical concerns.
- It’s your responsibility to inform the Air Canada Medical Assistance Desk of any new medical concern or of any significant changes to the information you have provided in Section 3 of the Fitness for Travel form.
Every 2 years, you can renew your long-term medical approval by having a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, a nurse practitioner, or your attending physician complete section 3 of the Fitness for Travel form, provided there is no other medical concern.
If there are new medical concerns, all sections of the Fitness for Travel form must be completed by your attending physician.
Renewing long-term medical approval
The validity period of long-term medical approval is determined on a case-by-case basis.
When it’s time to renew your long-term medical approval, you must repeat the steps outlined in the ‘When and how do I request medical approval for travel?’ section above. Remember that the Fitness for Travel form must be completed by your attending physician.
For passengers who are disabled by obesity only:
When there is no other medical concern, renewal of the Fitness for Travel form may be completed by a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, a nurse practitioner, or your attending physician.
If there are new medical concerns, the Fitness for Travel form MUST be completed by your attending physician.