Flying when in relapse

Lee and I are getting married on 2nd May 2015, but sadly a relapse started last Wednesday and five days of steroids has made very little change. The last hit was 18 months ago, so this has been a wake up call that it is still part of our lives.

The wedding will happen, but my fear is flying and the honeymoon. When in relapse are you safe to fly? we were flying to San Francisco for 50th birthday on 6th May and then onto Mexico for the honeymoon. If it were just to Spain I would not be so worried, buts its a long haul flight and would have been an active holiday.

Thinking about postporning :frowning:


I’m sorry to hear you’ve started a relapse.

I’ve unknowingly flown with a relapse (I wasn’t diagnosed at the time).

I didn’t feel particularly well on holiday, but assumed it was just a combination of lugging a heavy case around, and wearing some new boots I hadn’t broken in properly (I had particularly bad problems with my feet).

I’d only been back a few days, when I was up at the doctor’s complaining it was painful to walk, and I feared I might have broken a small bone. Was seen by a locum, and sent home with no treatment and a ticking-off, as: “That is impossible, unless you are very athletic or have a gait problem”.

I mumbled something about: “Think I do have a gait problem…”, but got short shrift.

Roll on another few days, and I’ve now lost all sensation in my feet, and back up at the doctor’s again - referred straight to a neurosurgeon this time, for suspected slipped disc.

Anyway, long and the short, it was MS - and I’d unknowingly travelled at the start of a relapse (wouldn’t have had any choice if I did know). All my theories about “new shoes”, and “strained something lifting the luggage” were complete codswallop, and I’d been relapsing (as I now know).

As far as I know, there is absolutely no special danger associated with flying with a relapse. Inconvenience, for sure, as it’s not a good state to be travelling in, but it’s not dangerous.

You should NOT sit next to an emergency exit if you have any known physical disability that may impede your ability to open the door, and so obstruct the escape of yourself and others. Certainly, in the U.S (probably other places as well), I believe it is the law you must declare it if you have any reason to believe you might struggle to open the door, and you will then not be permitted to sit in that seat. Other than that, I don’t think there are any issues with flying, though obviously there may be practical considerations - for example if you have any form of incontinence.



I think so, I flew home from the USA where I was working due to a relapse. The Neuros knew this and that I was going to fly, they said nothing advising against it.

I flew to New Zealand before I was diagnosed and now I know I was having a relapse, just felt more tired than normal and slept the first 2 days :stuck_out_tongue:

Besides safety reasons for you and other passengers, it shouldnt be a problem as long as you think you can deal with moving around the plane when needed. might be worth telling the airline if you have mobility issues tho so they are aware someone on the plane might need help if anything happens


yes. i had a 4 hr flight knowing i was having a relapse but i just wanted to get to my mum!

once there i slept for 21 hrs out of 24 for 10 days. i was there for about 18 days and she had to fly back with me cos i was so poorly.

but it affects us all differently-perhaps i was just unlucky!

take care, ellie

I am sorry that MS has reared its ugly head at such a bad time.

Is there a particular date up to which you can easily postpone and after which you can’t? If so, I would leave it until then to decide and give the MS as much opportunity as you can to show its hand, so you can make the call on the basis of as much info as possible

I expect that you have considered the travel insurance aspects of all this carefully and know whether you stand. It is obviously very important to ensure that your cover is water-tight, particularly as you are going to places where healthcare, should you need it, would be very expensive indeed. In case of any doubt, in your shoes I would bite the bullet and ask my travel insurer the question, even at the risk of them grounding you or, at least, insisting on a doctor’s letter to confirm that you were fit to fly. This is one area where it is better to be safe than to be sorry and with a massive uninsured US medical bill to pay.

Good luck with it all.


Hi, I don’t know how your relapse is affecting you - mobility, fatigue, sensory but the flying as such isn’t a problem. What I would highly recommend is booking airport assistance. You get met at airplane gate/checkin by a buggy or wheelchair, you get to cut out the security queue etc. we were recently on holiday in Australia and although not in relapse I struggle to walk large distances. It was the first time I have used assistance at an airport and it made such a difference (for my husband as well). Everybody was so helpful and I was much less stressed. It did feel strange being push in the wheelchair but it really helped. You still have time, don’t cancel yet, the steroids are still working. Good luck.