Epilepsy and flying – what to do at the airport

17th July 2019

Having epilepsy should not prevent a person from being able to travel, whether it’s for work or to enjoy a much needed holiday. However, for many people with epilepsy travel may be problematic, particularly when it involves flying. 

Many people with epilepsy may have their seizures triggered when they’re tired, which is likely to be the case if you’re catching a late/early flight or are feeling jet-lagged from the time difference. Some people may also have seizures when they feel excited or anxious, both of which are common to experience when you’re flying. In all, this makes airports a more likely place for seizure activity. 

Alert somebody

If you have had had a diagnosis for some time, you may already be aware that a trip to the airport could potentially trigger a seizure. It’s crucial that you let the airline know about your epilepsy so that they can ensure the cabin crew are aware and can be prepared. This is particularly important if you’re travelling alone as the airline should make special considerations to ensure your safety both in the airport and whilst you’re onboard. 

Medication

Ensure that you take all of your medication in its original packaging as a nondescript medication is likely to be scrutinised in more detail at the airport security. Also, research whether your particular medication is available in the country you are visiting or whether it has another name. Your prescriber should be able to help with this. 

You are allowed to carry up to 100 ml of medication in your hand luggage if your main luggage is lost en route. If you require more than 100 ml you need to contact the airline before you arrive at the airport, you may require a letter of confirmation from your prescriber or epilepsy specialist in order to secure special dispensation. 

Be mindful of timezones

If you are required to take your medication at regular intervals, it’s important that you plan ahead for the shift in timezone. You may need to gradually adjust the times to ensure you are still able to do so in a different time zone. For shorter journeys, this may be easier, but if you’re travelling further afield the time difference will be much greater and you may require advice from your prescriber or pharmacist on how best to plan for this. 

Travel insurance

Securing a reasonable travel insurance quote with epilepsy may be difficult. Travel insurance companies assess each individual for risk so you may need to look around to find a quote that is acceptable for you. 

Get more advice on travel insurance for people with epilepsy here in one of our other posts. 

National Epilepsy Training can help

For further advice on flying and travelling with epilepsy, please call us on 01706 373075 or email admin@nationalepilepsytraining.co.uk