Flying with Medical Conditions to New Zealand

flying with medical conditions to new zealand

The safety and wellbeing of passengers should be a priority for all airlines flying to New Zealand. However, there are steps that passengers are required or advised to take prior to take-off in order to help providers ensure a smooth flight. These may go beyond simply getting the relevant travel documents to New Zealand in order.

After having chosen an itinerary and completed an eTA New Zealand application form, travellers may have to obtain medical clearance for your condition or medical equipment in order to successfully board your plane. You may also need to take special care in packing your medications.

Remember that these rules apply regardless of how long you plan to stay in New Zealand for: even holders of a New Zealand transit eTA who only intend to spend a very limited time in the country will need to make sure to follow the guidelines.

Visitors to New Zealand and fly with a medical condition, can find useful information that can help passengers make the necessary travel arrangements.

Obtaining Medical Clearance to Fly to New Zealand

Certain medical conditions may affect your safety on the flight and that of other passengers. For these conditions,  travellers may be required to obtain medical clearance from the airline’s medical team prior to departure.

The airline’s medical team will follow international criteria when assessing a case and will base their decision on the information that you and your doctor provide.

Health conditions that are likely to require medical clearance include:

  • Anaphylaxis
  • Recent illness, hospitalization, surgery or injury including bone fractures
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Ear and sinus problems
  • Psychiatric conditions
  • Late stages of pregnancy
  • Any illness that could be contagious at the time of travel (especially chickenpox, tuberculosis, measles, and mumps)

Should you have any of the above conditions, you may need to complete a medical clearance form. This can be obtained online or it will be provided by your travel agent. Most companies will require that you submit your form between 1 to 3 weeks prior to departure.

Carrying Medical Equipment on Your Flight to New Zealand

Some special medical equipment also requires clearance before boarding. The following items are examples of equipment requiring clearance to travel:

  • CPAP/VPAP
  • Medical oxygen (concentrator or bottles)
  • Nebulizers
  • Syringe pumps
  • Stretchers
  • Ventilators

Passengers travelling with oxygen (concentrator or bottles) may be asked to carry supplementary oxygen or board the plane with a medical escort.

Taking Medications on Your Flight to New Zealand

It’s the passenger responsibility to make sure to pack all the medications that might be required during the trip in a carry-on bag — even if you think you won’t need them until you land. This allows travellers to access their medicines even if the luggage gets lost or misplaced.

It’s now standard international practice to require that all medications present a printed pharmacy label. This means that visitors won’t be able to travel with tablets or pills outside their original package.

With most airlines, it’s possible to carry medications in liquid form exceeding 100 ml. In that case, you will need a letter from your doctor stating that the drug is necessary for you. You may also need one for syringes.

Airlines will not be able to assist with keeping the drugs refrigerated.

Travelling to New Zealand with Special Medical Needs

There are special medical needs that not require to obtain medical clearance for. However, you may want to inform the airline in order to receive assistance. This may be the case for visitors who are:

  • Visually impaired or blind
  • Hearing impaired or deaf
  • A rehabilitated paraplegic or quadriplegic (you may need a safety assistant)
  • Experiencing mobility issues and need to use a wheelchair.

In conclusion, finding out whether medical clearance is needed and obtaining one is the traveller’s responsibility. Passengers should consider it as part of their travel arrangements, just like checking that they meet the requirements for the eTA New Zealand and that they pay the fare for their flight.