Special medical conditions

Passengers with medical conditions

We recommend that passengers take the following observations into account for sick or injured passengers, regardless of whether or not they are able to meet their own needs or in instances where they may be assisted by a companion during air travel:

  • In order to travel the passenger must have a medical certificate. Certificates are defined as written declarations issued by the passenger’s physician, indicating that their patient can complete the scheduled flight without the need for medical assistance during said flight. The certificate must be issued up to 10 days in advance of international flights and domestic flights within Panama and 12 hours in the case of domestic and international flights originating in Colombia, in accordance with the provisions of Colombia Aero Civil, if and when the patient’s health status requires such documentation.
  • If passengers must travel while suffering from an infectious disease, the certificate must state that the disease cannot be transmitted to other passengers during flight. In addition, passengers must travel with a list of any and all special measures required to prevent the spread of the related contagion to passengers and crew.

For group travel, one companion is recommended for every 10 passengers who require the attention of a healthcare professional.

Can travel:

Medical condition

Time to wait before travelling

Please also take into account

Abdominal surgery

10 days after surgery.

Must be evaluated by airport medical staff.



Patients with acute symptoms may fly without prior written medical authorization.

Arthroscopy, hysteroscopy, and lamparoscopy

72 hours after surgery




Must travel with own inflight supply of oxygen.*

Cataract surgery

2 weeks after surgery




May only travel if currently under treatment by physician.

Cerebral edema

Must present medical authorization 24 hours before medically-authorized scheduled flight time. Physician’s authorization must stipulate that person may travel in a sitting position.


Chest surgery

21 days after surgery.

Surgeon’s written authorization and airport medical staff approval is required.


24 hours after procedure.




Airline requires a physician’s written authorization indicating patient has not suffered more than two convulsions during the 24 hours prior to travel.

Cornea transplant

4 weeks after surgery.


Craneocerebral trauma

7 days after occurrence.




Daily medication dose must be taken into account for long flights. The prescription must be kept on hand. Needles and insulin must be packed inside carry-on luggage.



Passenger may travel if accompanied by licensed healthcare professional or individual with physician’s written authorization to provide care.


May fly 48 hours after cast has been applied.



14 days after surgery.


Heart attack

Barring any complications, patient may fly 3 weeks following the event.

In the event of complications, patients may fly after 6 weeks or more have passed since event.


Interstitial pulmonary fibrosis*


Must travel with own inflight supply of oxygen.*

Liposuction / mammoplasty

10 days after surgery.


Oxygen dependent individuals *


Must travel with own inflight supply of oxygen.*

Pleural effusion *

Must wait 14 days for the resolution of the event.

Must travel with own inflight supply of oxygen.*

Pneumothorax *

2 weeks after the event.

Must travel with own inflight supply of oxygen.*

Primary pulmonary hypertension *


Must travel with own inflight supply of oxygen.*

Respiratory infections *


Must travel with own inflight supply of oxygen.*

Retinal detachment

3 weeks after surgery


Root canals (odontology)

72 hours after the procedure.


Scuba divers

48 hours after last dive


Surgery on varicose veins

10 days after surgery


Tracheotomy or artificial airway


Must be accompanied by health professionals, or an individual with a written physician´s authorization to provide relevant medical care.


* Please recall that Copa Airlines does not provide in-flight medical oxygen. For more information, please visit in-flight medical oxygen.

Copa Airlines may deny transport to passengers who present the following medical conditions:

  • People with infectious diseases that do not present a medical certificate stating that the disease cannot be transmitted to other passengers during the flight.
  • Individuals who are bordering on death or otherwise in agony.
  • High risk pregnancies.
  • Acute otitis media.
  • Acute sinusitis.
  • Psychiatric patients not currently under the care of a qualified physician.
  • Patients with jaw fractures which prevent them from opening their mouths.

Passengers who require additional seats

Copa Airlines provides passengers traveling in the main cabin the option to purchase an additional seat to increase their comfort while traveling. You may purchase a second seat for the same fare as the first, as long as both tickets are purchased at the same time (this option is only available through our Sales Offices and Reservations Center). If you have to purchase a second seat on the day of the flight, the fare will be subject to fares available at the time of purchase; if no seats are available for purchase, passengers must travel on the next flight that has two of the aforementioned seats available. If you do not wish to purchase two seats in the main cabin, you may purchase a seat in Business Class or pay for an upgrade to Business Class, when available.

Passengers who wish to take advantage of the greater comfort provided by an extra seat must comply with the following regulations:

  • The full (100%) fare price must be paid (for the purchase of the extra seat during the flight segment in which the seat will be used).
  • All passengers must be able to easily raise and lower their armrests to ensure that other passengers also have a comfortable and safe flight.

Checked baggage limits are based on the number of seats purchased. By purchasing two seats, the checked baggage limits are doubled. However, the carry-on luggage limits will not be doubled.

Note: Due to safety guidelines, if a passenger does not meet the purchase requirements for an extra seat or cannot use the seat belt correctly, even with the addition of a seat belt extension**, we will not be able to accommodate the passenger on the flight.

** The average length of the seat belt extension is approximately 25 inches. Given that seat design may vary depending on the type of airplane being used, it is possible that the seat belt extension used on a particular flight may be less than 25 inches long (minimum of 24 inches).