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Can I fly without sitting up, even during take-off/landing?

murewammurewa Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Chronic Pain
I have a herniated disc. I can walk freely but cannot sit down for more than 20 minutes. I need to take a flight and am trying to identify an airline that will allow me to lie down during take-off and landing. A flat bed in business/first class will not help because, at least as far as I'm aware, passengers in these seats still have to sit upright during take-off and landing. Can you anyone help?

Many thanks!


  • Welcome to Spine Health! Now as far as your question, I never heard anybody who got excused from the airlines from sitting during takeoff and landing. You could maybe ask, if you could get hold a live person, or if you belong to a frequent flyer club maybe you could email this question to them. Are you sure that you would be able fly at all? Is there any way to postpone your trip until your back is better? Have you asked your doctor about this?

    Wishing you the best,

  • Unless special arrangements are made for you to be transported under a "Life flight" status, no. The only option is a "private charter" flight, and that is a bit sticky as well since there are rules via the FAA and not the pilot. When I transported patients, they were in a gurney that was designed to be affixed to floor of the aircraft, and the patient was secured in the gurney as well.

    I've been an Airline Transport Pilot for over 30 years, and I haven't seen any regulatory changes in this area. Good luck.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • The concern is not just for your own safety but for all others on board as well. As Brenda pointed out, unless you are strapped to a gurney that is itself secured, you are a loose object that can hurt or be hurt.

    Can you travel by rail? Many Amtrack coaches have sleepers.

  • You could probably recline the seat until just before take-off. Then you would (hopefully) only need to be upright for 5-10 minutes. You could also try to board the plane last to minimize the time you are seated.
  • I usually can sit for longer periods with things like a back joy or ice. I was going to see about ice packs getting them on planes or I hear many talk about that bio freeze product.

    I was wondering if I can get this stuff on the plane without any issues.

  • I don't know if it would clear the TSA at check in. But take your own ziplok bag, visit an airport restaurant with a soda machine, fill up the ice bag and board the plane. People take ice filled drinks on board. You could take an ice filled bag.

    Feel better-
  • If you can sit down for 20 minutes, the time it takes you to take off and get to cruising altitude is probably around 20 minutes and same for the landing. You can't sit for those times? You would probably have to get a private plane to do it otherwise or train. Where are you traveling to ? Just curious?
  • not to sound like a wet blanket BUT
    i have 3 herniated discs and 4 back surgeries and i have flown and driven all over the place and i never had to lie down for pain. I don't believe an airline will accommodate you so try a charter plane. sometimes i think we make things more difficult with demands. we all suffer from pain, i work, travel, shop, get involved. i don't make demands on family or work. taking off is a short process, bite the bullet and try to not make demands on others
    just a suggestion
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
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