Long Flights to and from India for Medical Treatment

Every country in the world has excellent doctors and medical equipment, but in many of these places you have to pay a lot, and it’s not cheap. When it comes to private medical care, India is often overlooked, but did you know that India is home to some of the best doctors in the world?

At Apollo Hospitals, you’ll find many Indian doctors, who have some insurmountable expertise and skills, who’re committed to their patients well being and recovery. At Apollo Hospitals in India, you’ll get nothing but 100% attention and care – this is one hospital that’s very patient-centric; you won’t find such quality elsewhere. Forget everywhere else, India’s fast becoming one of the medical tourism hotspots.

For most people the long-haul flight to India can be gruelling regardless of whether you’re ill and seeking treatment or not. But the benefits of travelling to India for medical treatment far outweigh the number of hours it takes to fly there. However, there are a few things that you’ll need to organise before making that long trip, with the most important one being gaining medical clearance to enter.

Get the Green Light

Even though you’ve already booked your medical treatment in India, you’ll require medical clearance or in other words fitness to fly. Your GPs (family doctors) will give you all the advice you need. Before you begin to panic, most people with medical conditions can travel internationally without any problems, but one thing you should bear in mind is the cabin’s pressure, as this can sometimes affect those with heart or respiratory problems.

If your condition is considered unstable or you think you’ll require extra medical services while on board like the use of medical equipment or oxygen, you’ll also have to gain medical clearance.

Cabin Pressure 

It’s possible that the air pressure in the cabin could lead to a drop in oxygen levels in your blood. For the average person, this isn’t a problem, but if you suffer from chronic respiratory problems like emphysema, chronic bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, you might have to organise an extra supply of oxygen through the airline for the duration of the flight. This particular request is rare, but you’ll find that most airlines flying in and out of India are accommodating and this can be organised when making your initial flight booking.


You’re probably sick of the sight of needles, but when travelling for any length of time in India, vaccination boosters for Tetanus, Typhoid and Hepatitis A are highly recommended. While the above mentioned are a given, other shots you should consider getting include Rabies, Hepatitis B, Cholera, and Diphtheria. Your local GP will be able to sort you out and tell you exactly which ones you’ll need to get. At the end of the day, it’s much better to get more vaccinations than less as you don’t want any preventable illnesses or diseases complicating your imminent medical treatment abroad.

You, Your Flight and Your Medicine 

Airlines and airports are strict regarding what you can and can’t take on board with you. But if you need easy access to your medication, you’ll need to take it in your hand luggage with you.

It’s possible you’ll get questioned when going through security, so keep your prescription on you as well as an official doctor’s note – you never know and it’s better to be safe than to be sorry. It’s also important to note that it’s forbidden to use the fridges on aeroplanes to keep medicine cold, so if you need to do this, make sure you organise a cooling bag from a pharmacist before departure.

If you have to travel with medical equipment such as nebulisers, ventilators and needles and you’re travelling with an airline like Air India, you’ll need to notify the airline before taking off because some medical equipment requires special clearance.

The Seating Plan 

Airline safety regulations state that any passenger, who has additional medical or physical needs, shouldn’t be placed in emergency exits. Instead, you’ll be allocated the right seat that suits you best, so make sure you mention this at check-in.

Your Sight and Dog 

Dogs for the blind may travel on board with the passenger free of charge. The dog may be allowed in the cabin as long as there’s medical proof that the passenger relies on the animal. Obviously for safety reasons, the dog must remain properly muzzled and harnessed.

Please ensure your dog also has all the right paperwork because different restrictions depend on the country you’re travelling to and from and vice versa. The same goes for when you leave India – make sure your four-legged friend can return home with you without any problems.


Unfortunately, you won’t be able to bring your wheelchair on board with you. However, you will be able to stow it away with your checked luggage. For health and safety reasons, you’ll need to request special wheelchair access, which is doable at the time of your booking.

The good news is that you’ll be able to have one mobility aid (i.e. your wheelchair) travel with you for free. All additional ones will incur a charge.

Post-Operative Care 

If you’re flying to India for surgery, you’ll need to stay in the country for some time until you’re fit to fly home. This is measured on a case by case basis, but your doctor and surgeons will be able to advise you as to how long you’ll need to stay in India for your post-operative care.

Operations place a lot of stress on the body, so it’s not wise to risk flying immediately. Give yourself some time to recuperate, and perhaps even enjoy some of the beautiful scenic and tourist spots in India while you’re there!

As long as you’re prepared for your long-haul flight to India, you’re going to be okay. Enjoy the flight, don’t worry, and use it as an excellent opportunity to sit back and relax, read a book, listen to some good music or catch up on the latest films.

leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *