Can I travel on a plane if I have a plaster cast?

It's best to check with your travel operator or airline.

Most airlines will allow you to fly 24 hours after a plaster cast is fitted for flights that are less than two hours long, or after 48 hours for longer flights. This is because there's a risk of swelling after a plaster cast is first fitted, which can affect your circulation.

If you are flying within 24 to 48 hours of having a plaster cast fitted, your airline may require you to have the cast split along its full length to avoid problems with your circulation. You will have to arrange for this to be done in hospital and you may also need to arrange for a replacement cast to be fitted once you reach your destination.

If both your legs are in plaster, it's unlikely that you'll be able to fly. Contact your travel operator or airline for advice.

Your seat on the plane

If you have an upper body cast or your leg is in a plaster cast and you can bend your knee, you'll be able to sit in a normal seat.

If your plaster cast covers your knee, you won't be able to bend it, so you'll need to make special seating arrangements with your airline. Many airlines will require you to purchase additional seats in these circumstances.

You won't be able to sit by one of the emergency exits, where the seats have more leg room, unless you are able to move easily in an emergency.

Wheelchair help

If you have a cast on your leg and need a wheelchair to get around the airport and to board the plane, tell your airline as soon as possible. They can arrange for a wheelchair to meet you at both ends of your journey. There is usually no additional charge for this service.

Using crutches

If you're using crutches to support your weight, you need to tell your airline.

Most airlines will let you take your crutches on the plane, but they'll need to be stored in the hold during the flight.

Read the answers to more questions about travel health.

Further information:

Travel health

A simple guide to health precautions when travelling abroad, including vaccinations, taking condoms and a first aid kit, and being careful about drinking water.

Media last reviewed: 02/10/2013

Next review due: 02/10/2015

Page last reviewed: 28/11/2013

Next review due: 27/11/2015