Website of the UK government

Please note that this website has a UK government accesskeys system.

Public services all in one place

Main menu

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

In-flight safety

A little forward planning can make your journey safer and more comfortable. Here is all you need to know about health risks, equipment and luggage regulations.

Health concerns when flying

Spread of disease in the aircraft cabin

There is no scientific evidence to link aircraft air conditioning systems with the spread of disease. Infectious diseases like common colds are likely to be spread simply by sitting or standing near an infected person before, during or after a flight. Most aircraft are fitted with air filters and cabin air within them is changed every three to seven minutes.

Cabin air quality

Air in the cabin environment is fine for most passengers. However, if you have severe lung disease you should get advice from your GP or the airline's medical service, especially before a long-distance flight.

Deep vein thrombosis

There has been interest in the possible link between deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and air travel. Sitting still is the most common risk factor for DVT. This can be linked with any form of long-distance travel whether by air, car, coach or train. Check the Aviation Health Unit section on the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) website for more information.  

Using electronic equipment

Research suggests the onboard use of mobile phones, and other portable electronic equipment like computer games, may interfere with aircraft communication and navigation systems. For safety reasons please switch off mobile phones during the entire flight and don't use other portable electronic equipment during take-off or landing.

Items you can't take on board

There are a number of items that cannot be carried in hand luggage, like knives or large scissors. You can find detailed information on 'Dangerous and restricted items'.

For general information on hand baggage see 'Air travel hand baggage rules'.

Getting safety advice

Under its ATOL protection scheme, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has produced a leaflet called 'Travelling safely'. The leaflet gives advice on matters related to flying - such as drinking alcohol on an aircraft, how to behave and aircraft procedures. You can download a copy from the CAA website.

Additional links

Simpler, Clearer, Faster

Try GOV.UK now

From 17 October, GOV.UK will be the best place to find government services and information

Access keys