Customers with special needs

Conditions that require advance notice and medical approval

Some circumstances and medical conditions require that you provide advance notice and obtain medical approval for travel.

Choose from the options below to view the specific medical approval requirements as they apply to your itinerary:

Itineraries between Canada and the U.S. All other itineraries

Which conditions require advance notice and medical approval for travel?

Advance notice and medical approval

You must provide at least 48 hours’ advance notice (72 hours for certain destinations) and obtain medical approval before travel if one of the following applies to you:
Allergies to cats/dogs (severe)

You are severely allergic to cats or dogs and would like to request a buffer zone in order to help avoid the risk of exposure.

Allergies to peanuts or 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 (see contact information below), regardless of your itinerary, if you wish to request a buffer zone.

Anaemia

You have severe anaemia (hemoglobin level below 90 g/L).

Attendant
You are travelling with an attendant.
  • Your attendant must be 16 years of age or older and capable of assisting you with your personal and physical needs during the flight.
Cast or recent fracture

You have recently suffered a major fracture (e.g. 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 (e.g. Down syndrome, Alzheimer's disease).
Epilepsy / seizures

You have had a seizure within 4 weeks of your scheduled flight.

Heart / lung disease

You have chronic obstructive lung disease (e.g. emphysema) or a chronic heart condition.

  • A change in cabin pressure at high altitude may worsen your medical condition
Infant

You are 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.

Infectious / contagious disease

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 (e.g. heart attack, heart failure, stroke, respiratory failure).

Medical equipment

You require the use of battery-powered medical equipment (e.g. CPAP/BPAP machine) or another type of medical device during the flight.

Medical incident on board a previous flight

You have 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.
Oxygen

You require medical oxygen or need to use an approved Personal Oxygen Concentrator (POC).

Surgery

You have undergone surgery (e.g. appendectomy or gall bladder surgery) within 2 weeks of your scheduled flight.

Thrombophlebitis (DVT – deep venous thrombosis)

You have had thrombophlebitis (i.e. blood clots in your veins) in the 2 weeks preceding your scheduled flight.

Unaccompanied minor with a medical problem

You are an unaccompanied minor and have a medical problem. You may need to travel with an attendant.

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.

Important

Even if your situation does not 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.

When and how do I request medical approval for travel?

When

Medical approval for travel must be requested at least 48 hours before departure (72 hours before for certain destinations)

Air Canada will also make a reasonable effort to accommodate requests made within this time frame.

How

If any of the medical conditions listed in the question above apply to you, you will need to request medical approval, as follows:
  1. Book your flight at aircanada.com, with Air Canada Reservations, or with a travel agent.
  2. Print a copy of the Air Canada Fitness for Travel form and:
    1. Complete Section A by entering your name, contact information and flight details;
    2. Have your attending physician complete all other sections that apply to your medical condition.
  3. Email* your completed Fitness for Travel form to us at: acmedical@aircanada.ca
    1. Make sure the subject line of your email contains your date of travel (day, month and year), family and first name, and Booking Reference. E.g.: 26/SEPT/2012, Jones, Mary, N3EI4E
    2. We will need to receive your completed form at least 48 hours before your departure (72 hours before for certain destinations).
    3. 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 514-205-7567

What is long-term medical approval and who can obtain it?

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:
  • quadriplegia
  • paraplegia
  • a disability caused by obesity
  • autism
  • 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 are disabled by obesity and have obtained long-term medical approval, it will be valid for 2 years, unless there are other medical concerns.
  • It is 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.

Long-term medical approval

The validity period of long-term medical approval is determined on a case-by-case basis.

When it is 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:
  • renewal of the Fitness for Travel form may be completed by a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, a nurse practitioner, or your attending physician, when there is no other medical concern.

How may I contact the Air Canada Medical Assistance Desk?

Phone:
1-800-667-4732 (Toll-free between Canada and the U.S.)
1-514-369-7039 (long distance charges apply)
Hours of operation (Eastern Time):
Monday to Friday: 6am to 8pm
Saturday and Sunday: 6am to 6pm