Can You Fly on a Plane After Getting Tattooed?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on January 17, 2022
    Last Updated: January 17, 2022

More people are getting tattoos, and some of these may be planning to travel by plane a few days after getting the tattoo. 

The healing process of a tattoo is crucial, and the first few days can be a delicate time as the tattoo will be an open wound once first completed. 

How well you look after your tattoo in the first few days will determine how well it will heal. If you don’t look after it properly, you could cause damage to the tattoo and possibly cause an infection.

The question many people ask is if you can fly after getting a tattoo? If you have a flight scheduled for the first few days after getting your tattoo, do you need to reschedule, or is it possible to still join the flight as planned? 

We’ll let you know if you should be boarding a flight directly after getting a tattoo, and if you do, what precautions do you need to take.


The tattooing process involves multiple needles entering the dermis layer of your skin and inserting ink to create a permanent image. As this involves needles the tattoo will be an open wound for the first few days following the process.

You need to take care of the tattoo as you would with any open wound and look after it properly, keeping it clean and moisturized. The area is prone to infection and the skin can be damaged if it’s not kept clean at all times.

To Fly or Not to Fly

You can fly after getting a tattoo, but there are many reasons why you shouldn’t do this. 

This is especially so for at least the first few days following the process. As the tattoo is seen as an open wound, it will need constant care and attention for the first three days until it starts to heal. 

The healing process means that it needs to be kept clean at all times, and you must avoid any risk of infection. Planes are crowded areas with very little space for movement, so they are not ideal for someone with a new open wound.

You may need to clean and rewrap a tattoo, and you won’t be able to do this when on a flight. You will also need to go through the security systems at the airport, and this may require you to prove that the wound is a tattoo. Unwrapping the tattoo, for this reason, will make it susceptible to infection.

How Long Should You Leave It Before Flying?

The ideal time to fly after having a tattoo would be seven days. This period will give the tattoo time to start to heal, and the wound will have closed. It will also give you time to see how well the tattoo is healing and know if you have any issues with it, such as allergic reaction, infection, swelling, or leaking.

If you can’t wait seven days to travel after the tattoo, at least try to wait for three days to see how the tattoo is starting to heal and understand if you have any issues. 

What Are the Risks of Flying Directly After Getting a Tattoo?

Planes are busy modes of transport and are not the most hygienic of places. By flying directly after getting a tattoo, it will open you up to all kinds of contamination that can harm your skin and your tattoo.

You may not be able to move around or visit the bathroom to clean the tattoo for many hours when traveling. The dry air on a plane dehydrates you and your skin, making your skin tight, which won’t help your tattoo.

It can also be pretty uncomfortable sitting on a plane for a long time. This won’t help your new tattoo.

How To Reduce the Risks if You Need to Fly Straight Away

If you do need to fly straight after having a tattoo you will need to make sure that the tattoo is thoroughly cleaned before the flight. If it’s a long flight, you may need to clean the area while on the plane.

Drinking lots of water will help to keep your skin hydrated and by wearing loose clothing you will be as comfortable as possible and the clothing will not stick to your tattoo.

Avoid drinking alcohol during the flight as this will dehydrate your skin and thin your blood, causing your tattoo to bleed.

Conclusion

We wouldn’t recommend flying directly after getting a tattoo and would suggest that you wait at least seven days if possible. 

If you need to board a flight after having a tattoo, you must make sure that you keep the area clean and drink lots of non-alcoholic fluids to stay hydrated during the flight. Wearing loose clothing will help you be comfortable and will reduce the chance of your clothes sticking to the tattoo.

Always remember that a new tattoo is an open wound and needs to be treated as such.