Consider airport assault course in fitness to fly

Fitness to fly is not just what happens inside the aircraft (GP, 11 April).

Budget airlines often seem to have parking slots in piers furthest away from the terminal.

I have just travelled to and from Dublin, where work has been completed on pier D. The walk is perhaps half a mile.

Therefore fitness to fly should also consider the following: the stresses of queuing for check-in and the security check, which may take half an hour; getting hot and sweaty and standing for a prolonged period; then the half-mile walk, which is hard work for those already stressed by flying, despite the provision of some moving walkways.

However, this pre-flight exercise might have the advantage of reducing thromboembolism risk on short-haul flights.

Finally, there is a steep set of stairs to negotiate with one's hand luggage, the prolonged queue to get on the plane itself, the walk across the tarmac, ascending the steps to the plane, negotiating your seat and stowing hand luggage overhead.

This considerable cardiovascular work-out should be part of fitness to fly.

Perhaps those who have cardiovascular or respiratory disease or who are elderly should be advised to consider a small airport where some of these issues are reduced, or to use non-budget airlines.

Many airports can supply transport and passengers at risk could be advised to find out about this before flying.

Dr Rodger Charlton, Solihull, West Midlands.

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