Advice regarding flying.: Hi all ! Just... - British Lung Foun...

British Lung Foundation

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Advice regarding flying.

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Hi all ! Just wondering if anyone has any information that might help regarding a potential trip to Australia for my mum who has severe copd grade iv .

My mum is lucky enough to have visited my brother previously in Australia she has had oxygen on the flight at 2 litres a minute during the flight but then was able to manage without oxygen during the holiday and flight stop off points.

Unfortunately her empheysemia has progressed significantly and she is now on 24 hour oxygen and general palliative care .She is 76.

She has a great desire to see my brother and her grand children in Brisbane.

My mums lungs are obviously in a poor state but in previous tests her heart health etc has been surprisingly good .We are obviously going to consult with her doctors for approval that she would be strong enough for the journey but I was wondering about the practicalities of flying with one of the portable oxygen machines.Does anyone have experience of using one of these machines on board a plane ? Has anyone flown with Emirates or etihad to Australia with one of these machines? Can you give us any advice .

Also do you have any recommendations regarding insurance companies we might look at for travel insurance ? Could I also ask is there anyone out there who has taken on such a trip despite having gold grade iv Copd.

My mums always been a "go getter" ! I want to say yes let's sort it and take the trip to oz but the safe daughter side of me wants to protect my mums health...I dont want to encourage her to take a trip that would put her at great risk.

If there are any health professionals reading are there any specific tests you would advise my mum to have done apart from the flight test to check she was ok to fly.

Sorry for all the questions and thank you for any advice you may have. X

15 Replies hi have a look through these postings and ring up in morning were a british lung foundation nurse will be able to help you, il look up arab emirates for you an see what cums up,,

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Snippet in reply to itsBAme

Oh thank you very much .I will talk to one of the nurses tomorrow .

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Snippet in reply to itsBAme

Thanks for taking the time to help us ! Really appreciated thank you ! thers links on yahoo ,, but ano theres members what have done long haul flights, ,,

I had same thought some years ago regarding my dad. He had just come back from a holiday and was taken seriously ill with heart issues. After much thought I decided I would sooner he had lots of fun and enjoyed his life. Even if it meant a much shorter one. Than have him sitting at home being miserable for years...!

He continues to have lots of hols and gets on with life and turns 79yrs this summer!

If your mum wants to go and medics say ok. Then she should go for it! Look at easiest ways to travel to Oz eg a seat that turns into a bed. And let her enjoy time with Oz family.

Of course if medics say 'no' then that is a different scenario.....

Hope she gets to go and has a good time.

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Snippet in reply to Bevvy

Hi Bevvy

I agree with you've got to enjoy what is left !hopefully my mums trip will come off I will keep you posted! My brother has opened a coffee shop and she has a dream of being able to surprise him in the queue for a coffee x

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Bevvy in reply to Snippet

Ah bless. I really hope it comes off for her.

Regarding insurance,I need oxygen so it's difficult to get insured,however had a good quote yesterday,for me with IPF and hubby who has diabetes 2 for a 1 year worldwide policy was £1.169.35 I know that sounds a lot,but believe me that's good as many insurers will not look at you once you are on oxygen.The company was Payingtoomuch, tel no.01243 784000.I do have a POC,but you would need several batteries as you have to have enough for the journey plus and extra 50% in reserve,so using the planes oxygen is usually the best option,although you would need to contact the airline u would be using as they all differ in what paper work they require,some still charge for oxygen,some need you to get forms from them and your consultant has to fill them in.I sometimes wonder if it's worth it,my only son and 2 grandchildren live in the USA,when you tot up the cost ,insurance,flights,transfers,the horrendous cost of extra batteries for the POC and the long flight times,is it worth it.Good luck Sooki.

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Snippet in reply to Sooki

Hi Sooki

Thank you ! Gosh insurance is a real chunk isn't it ! Thank you for the contact ....I am on the case !

Hi Snippet, 3 years ago I did the reverse trip to Europe with portable concentrator with firstly Cathay Pacific and then with Swiss air to Switzerland. Just make sure that she has plenty of batteries for her concentrator, because even though the stewards were extremely helpful, there was no power point for the concentrator. Also allow some time to explain to the Airlines that she is carrying a concentrator and not O2 bottles. My observation was that Swiss air being European ran their air/con on the warmer side and I had difficulty breathing even with 3litres of O2, whereas Cathay was the reverse and I found that to be better for breathing and did not require O2 at all if any. Its all personal and try to find out what suits her best. I had to give up on Insurance because of the High cost, however I paid everything for the airlines on American Express. You will find a clause in American express that if paid through them then you have FREE Travel insurance. Please don't take my word for it, just check it out.

Just one more bit of advise, it can get very hot that is 33 to 36 degrees in Brisbane and very humid, therefore our late Autumn or early spring is the most preferable time, just ask your brother.

Also make sure to insist for assistance at Airports, they are supplied free of charge and they certainly help.



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Snippet in reply to TONYFARR

Hi Tony

Thank you so much for all that useful info .I am going to get looking into everything now you have pointed me in the right direction .

Very grateful ! Thankyou .

First step is a visit to the doctor. If you need oxygen then airlines won't let you fly without the doctor certifying that you are fit to travel.

A google search for 'emirates airlines medif form' should take you to a downloadable fitness to fly form. Your mum completes the first section and her doctor the second section.

Word of warning though the form can't be submitted more than a month before the travel date. If she's not planning on travelling until later this year and her condition deteriorates then a yes now could be a no later.

Keeping my fingers crossed for you. I'm off to visit my son in October and I would have been devasted if I couldn't visit him.

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Snippet in reply to

Thanks Travel bug ! It is very important to my mum and it's these things that keep us going isn't it !

Hello Snippet,

From personal experience people who have hired a portable oxygen concentrator's usually do not have any issues using their device on a plane. It is always best to check with your selected airline what their oxygen policy is as some do provide it while others don't but will allow you to bring your own equipment with you. We have a list of Portable Oxygen Concentrators Hire Companies that have been recommended to us, and we also have a list of Travel Insurers that we are aware of that are more sympathetic to people with pre existing conditions you can get a copy of these lists by emailing us at or calling us on 03000 030 555.

Kind Regards.

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Snippet in reply to

Thank you Nick that's very helpful !

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