Flying with emphysema: Hi, I have been... - Lung Conditions C...

Lung Conditions Community Forum

52,926 members63,854 posts

Flying with emphysema

Aquacise profile image
14 Replies

Hi, I have been diagnosed with emphysema earlier this year. I am looking to do a long haul flight and I just wanted to ask others about their experience of flying with this condition. Thanks

14 Replies
peege profile image

Hi, I'm not a 100% but I think copd bumps up your insurance (from a post I read the other day) whereas asthma and bronchiectasis don't. I dont have copd so I'm afraid cant help with the physical issues re flying long haul.

Others with better knowledge should be along soon. P

Patk1 profile image

4rWelcome to the forum.i don't have Emphysaema but asthma,bronchiectasis + multiple complex lung disease.i found insurance was available but high.on 2-41/2 short flights,I have struggled with breathing on flights,but using controlled breathing techniques, ring special assistance at flight operater if u need additional weight allowed for medical equipment,which is free

Aquacise profile image
Aquacise in reply to Patk1

Thank you for info all sorted with insurance

B0xermad profile image

Hi Aquacise,I have emphysema although it is in 1 lung and getting travel insurance does bump up the price but it gets put into the bracket of upper respiratory conditions, I haven't flown but cruise instead.

Fircone profile image

Hi Aquacise, I have emphysema and have flown to Canada several times in the last 12 years. The insurance was always expensive. If you struggle with walking long distances then you can ask for mobility assistance when ordering your ticket. Sometimes there can be a very long walk from entering the airport to the leaving gate and also from landing to leaving the airport. Make sure you carry any necessary medication in your hand luggage in case your main luggage goes missing. Enjoy your trip.

Aquacise profile image
Aquacise in reply to Fircone

Thank you

panda22 profile image

I always take my portable nebulizer with me. Fits in a bag and really helpful for calming your breathing. This device fits in your hand

anng18 profile image


It depends on how bad your emphysema is and how good your oxygen levels are.

I have stage 4 emphysema - not good, but went to Malta this summer - a three hour flight - took my oximeter on the aeroplane, alongside medication. My oxygen levels went very low, but not for any prolonged length of time - however, I wouldn't be keen on risking it again, as I did feel vulnerable!

Look up the air guidelines - they say that if you can walk x number of meters without getting breathless and at a normal pace, you should not need additional oxygen on the aeroplane. Other than that, you can get a fitness to fly test, that measures your oxygen levels in a simulated air cabin.

Everyones' oxygen level goes down in an aeroplane, but the main worry is if it goes too low for a long period.

Aquacise profile image
Aquacise in reply to anng18

Thanks will take my oximeter

yorkie70 profile image

Hi Aquacise, I need oxygen when I fly 2 LPM. I use Emirates air who will provide oxygen for the flight free of charge providing that you have a MEDIF form completed by you and your doctor. I have never had a problem with it. Also I request wheel chair assistance. I fly between Thailand and UK.

Aquacise profile image
Aquacise in reply to yorkie70

Thanks, that's good to know about Emirates

bazcranleigh profile image

I have flown several times, to South Africa and Canada. I needed 4L/min oxygen and BA supplied this free of charge.They do this for any long haul flight (over 6 hours). You do need a MEDIF form from your GP. Have a good trip.

Aquacise profile image
Aquacise in reply to bazcranleigh

Thank you

emphesemalema profile image

I also have stage4 and flying is a problem without 02...I feel quite ill as sats plummet to 84 and will come up to 86 if I spend the whole time concentrating on pursed lip breathing. That is so exhausting. I did the hypoxic challenge test in the hospital where they put a mask on and add nitrogen to air so that oxygen in that air drops to 15% which is the same as the air in the pressurised cabin at altitude. Apparently if you only drop to 86 after only 10 mins and no more of testing, you are declared fit to fly without 02. Apparently cut off level is 84%....

You may also like...