Hi all, I was recently diagnosed with mild copd. I don't need oxygen only inhalers. My sats are about 88 at rest 92 if i breath deelply while it's being measured. I asked my consultant if I could fly short haul and especially long haul and he said there was a risk, but wouldn't say how much risk or what could happen. I flew 4 weeks ago after I was diagnosed for 4 hours and was fine. Are doctors over cautious ! It's so important to me as I have family all over world and I'm used to a lot of travelling. Having a fit to fly test would be difficult as my trips are usually last minute. I'm 66 years old and also have co2 retention, but I'm fit in every other way. Any advise would be appreciated.

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A fit to fly test is the only real answer.

Oxygen levels at ground are 21% on Aircraft the level can drop to 18% even as low as 15%.

As your levels are already low at 88% which is the lowest safety level. You could be at risk.

I am stage 2 moderate, last year i flew to the uk...13 hour flight, no problem at all. My sats at that time were around 88/89. Many airlines carry oxygen, best to check with them before booking.


Morning Linda,

I to have been diagnosed with mild copd, and I am a regular flyer of the 4 hour journeys, yes there are risks, such as change in cabin pressures ect, apparent infection from the recirculated air (cabin cough) but I have yet to experience . A med mask is also a good thing to have in your bag, to help keep germs at bay.. so Up till now everything has been fine, just keep taking your medication and stay active, if your still unsure speak to your Copd nurse, if you have any concerns. But please make sure you have Travel insurance - best on I have found is Saga, it adds to the cost of your holiday, but will save you thousands if anything was to happen to you. Have a safe journey and enjoy your holiday.


Hi Linda

Don't know about flying with copd. Sure lots of people will be on, to help you out.

Seems your sats are pretty low, for mild copd. Glad to meet you... Don't believe I welcomed you to the site.๐Ÿ˜Š

Rubyxx ๐Ÿ˜Š ๐Ÿ˜Š

I have multi conditions heart lung etc. My sats are similar but when my heart was the main issue I was told then that 3 hour flights should be my max. However my lungs have become the main issue now and I have been advised that I should not fly as they cannot guarantee my return flight unless I have a test at the other end before I fly? This now makes insurance as near to impossible to get unless I pay huge sums with all sorts of catches in there?

If you have been advised and not told insurance your policy could be void?

Be Well

I flew all over with sats in the low 70s - not a problem because I was assessed and used oxygen in flight. Ask for a fit to fly test and continue to enjoy your holidays.

I am 45 and my sats at rest are 95%. I flew to New York 4 years ago without a problem - my sats were 96% then. I am not on oxygen. I have a symbicort inhaler. My consultant has advised that he wants me to have a flight assessment to see if I am fit to fly - I want to go to Cyprus. Still waiting on the test but in terms of being over cautious, maybe they are but then again if anything happened I am pretty sure my holiday insurance would be invalid if I hadn't had the test.

I fly short haul around the UK pretty regularly without any issues.

I think the usual rule of thumb for airlines is an ability to walk 100m without rest and 96% sats at rest.

Good luck

marie x

I don't understand your sats as being classed as mild. My sats are usually 93 and I am classed as severe mine can go down to 88 when I have a infection I am not on oxygen

it gets confusing with what class your in my sats normal 97 lower with infections but classed as severe but normally they work out which group your in by what your fev is mine wasn't so bad so gp was classing me better than I was , wasn't till I see consultant and he done a full lung test my dlco was very low and ct scan show lungs covered in emphysema that he said I class you as severe and will write to gp and tell her to treat you as such I asked why she didn't know this he said because her spiromentery test wont show dlco she would go by fev

Very confusing. I don't understand it at all. How someone with 88 can be classed as mild when it is dangerous to go under 88. Maybe it just me

hi Amanda just curious but have you had the 6 minute walk test , as I had one again last week every time I have them my sats never drop but I get breathless and have to stop a couple of times the consultant asked why I stopped I said because I couldn't breath he said its unusual as we would expect your sats to drop but they never do , I wondered if yours are the same . I wasn't very keen on him to be honest I have only seen him twice all he seem interested in is if he can send you for lvrs , he don't seem to want to know about any thing else , I was seeing a local consultant who was really good and went through every thing with you ,

No I have never had that I am going for a ct scan on Thursday to see if I have bronchiectisis

well I wish you good luck with your tests ,

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