British Lung Foundation

I am new here, newly diagnosed with COPD (Emphysema)

2 weeks after leaving hospital I flew to Majorca for a prearranged holiday. I knew I wouldn't get the ok to fly so I didn't tell any of the hospital Docs or my GP. Silly I know but I hadn't had a holiday for 3 years. Oh dear! I thought I was going to die on the plane. Sats plunged to 75 for a while and the only thing that stopped me asking for oxygen from the crew was the thought of appearing on the TV show Sun Sea and A&E lol. Is this normal when flying when sats had been hovering around 90 at home?

12 Replies

Very dagerious i would say but you knew risks and as long as was worth it why not.

As to sats 75 well should be 98 and most hospitals will wait till 88

But we are all diffrant and the do say about how quick the rise when rested


While I don't have the answer to your question, I want to take the time to welcome you to our lovely community. These folks know a little of everything. And a lot about COPD! You'll get all your answers :)

Have a blessed day.

And welcome again 🌷



Hi, I'm also new and interested in finding anyone who has had a LVRS. I have had COPD for around 25 years (misdiagnosed with asthma 15 years ago) My mum died from this when she was 67 and my older sister also had COPD. She died at the end of June this year with sepsis and pneumonia. I am 63 and have severe emphysema and my surgeon is going to operate on me in September/October to remove the emphysema from my upper lobe on my right lung (using keyhole surgery). Do you know of anyone who has had this and how long the recovery period is? I retired last year (for 3 weeks) and ended up having afternoon naps and watching Jeremy Kyle lol. So I have gone back to full time work in an administration job. I want to go away for a few days in Nov/Dec after the op. I have no other underlying health issues - just the breathlessness and I have only had one exacerbation about 6 years ago. Any ideas as to how long this surgery takes ? Thanks, Jacqs


Hi that's understandable if a bit dangerous that you kept quiet about it. You can still get travel insurance but will probably need to pay a bit more. If you type travel insurance in the search box top right you will see lots of previous posts about it.

Glad you enjoyed your holiday though! x



Ground level oxygen is 21%.

Aircrafts are typically 18% and can drop to 15%.

Fine for people with normal fit lungs not so good for people with lung conditions.

Although 90% sats at home are not to bad, I would seek clarification from you respitory nurse that you don't require some form of oxygen supplement.


Hi gail123 just like to welcome you to our forum.

You are braver than me flying without insurance. If anything had gone wrong I'd hate to think of the consequences.

I'm sure you would still have been able to fly with your condition. Plenty of people on here do and there is information available about travel insurance under Pinned Posts on the right of this page.

Anyway I hope you had a fantastic holiday and the return journey didn't have any problems.

Welcome back to reality. 😊

Regards. John


It is the altitude. The higher up r the thinnerthe air .u r silly not telling anyone did u declare on insurance if not u won't be insured ..yr sats won't be great when flying ..I do hope u have a nice hols ...


People might be interested in an insurance company called 'Bought by many' -

1 like

Hello Gail, Welcome to the forum, where you will get a lot of support and good friendly advice .

Are you on holiday now? I would suggest a visit to a Clinic whilst you are there so you don't get into a panic on the flight home.

Enjoy your holiday:-)



Hi everyone, thank you for such a nice welcome to the forum. Already I can see that I will get lots of helpful advice. Before I was taken into hospital I had arranged travel insurance through Virgin money, they covered my MS and I told them that about 4 years ago they said I had mild COPD but didn't have any inhalers or such which was the truth so they covered that as well. The only thing that I didn't do was update it to say I had been in hospital. I think I panicked when they closed the plane doors as everyone kept saying that I would struggle in the air. Once the flight out was over and I knew I was ok the flight home was fine. I have lots of questions that I would like to ask as I have been out of hospital for 6 weeks and can't see the COPD nurse until end of Sept so I hope you don't mind if some of the things I ask seem stupid? Thanks again for the lovely warm welcome. Gail.p.s. I am going to cut the oximeter readings right down lol

1 like

Although I said I have newly been diagnosed with COPD the Doc told me 4 years ago that he thought I had mild COPD but I didn't need any medication, inhalers etc. So over the years I thought he had made a wrong diagnosis. If someone has COPD surely they would be on preventatives if nothing else? But if I saw other Docs I would tell them about the diagnosis but not being on medication made them all a bit sceptical. Even being on the blue light to hospital it didn't cross my mind that it could be COPD, boy was I in for a big shock! I had no idea how ill I was and so close to my other organs shutting down. I thought at the time that my brain had gone wonky as I made no sense at all, I was talking gibberish that's all I knew then don't remember the next 5 days. Even at home now all mended?? My husband tells me when my eyes look heavy and I start to prattle on about pure rubbish and I know then that my oxygen is low. Has anyone else ever had this nonsense talk? Thank you in advance. Gail


They can do tests for flying and if necessary arrange oxygen on the flight. Don.t risk it again. SueE


You may also like...