British Lung Foundation
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how do i arrange oxygen in Italy


i posted a week ago about holiday insurance ,thank you for the many replies ,i hope i have answered you all, i have it sorted now after much time and patience at a cost of £980.00,now i have to sort out on flight oxygen and oxygen in Italy, i have no idea how i do this the only thing the hospital told me was i have to arrange and pay for it myself ??

i have lots of worries about my ignorance and at my wits end.

very grateful for any advice

Thank you Jeanmol

13 Replies


Your best solution may to hire a portable.

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Thank you stone UK will check them out when I hopefully know more all I know as yet is I will need at least 2litres for the flight have another blood gas next week to check again for what they call supplimentry oxygen then don't see consultant till July 5th my holiday is on the 7th .is there anyone I can talk to to ease my worries it isn't helping me worrying about it all .jeanmol X


Do you have a fit to fly letter,no airline will accommodate you with out it. Most airlines accept portable concentrators as long as you have a prescription,individual airlines have health advisors so contact them and see what there policies are about cylinders and whether they supply. As for in Italy contact your home supplier,they should be able to help you by giving you contact details.

But make sure you have your paperwork in order.

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Thank-you .it's all a bit daunting at the moment .got a fit to fly form from airline .last week I was told I needed oxygen on the plane at least 2 litres. more blood gas next week to double check if I need it in Italy. then don't see consultant till July 5 I go away on the 7 July that's why I am panicking .I really don't know where to turn.what paperwork do I need apart from px I have to send my fit to fly to airline 30 days before departure.thank you for your help .

Jeanmol X X


So you don't have a prescription yet. ? Until you do you can't organise oxygen as no one will supply it without one. Have you had a fit to fly test, if so whoever did the test should supply a fit to fly letter. who are you planning to fly with?


Hi again .this is why I am so worried about it all .last week consultant said someone will be in touch in 3.4 days not heard any thing more till letter from hospital 2days ago saying I do need oxygen for flight at least 2litres and blood gas again next week for supplimentry oxygen and that is all I know .daughter in law contacted jet 2and downloaded a form consultant has to fill in stating my health needs .is that a fit to fly ?as I said no one has told me anything and I am worried sick .I really feel like cancelling the holiday .it's not worth the worry it's causing me .X X


Hi. I wrote a long reply further below, but I just saw the note from you above and it has more info so I can be much more specific:

You DON'T need a prescription. Just a medical letter of some kind.

Jet2's form will have a section that can be filled in by any doctor. See your GP (if this is easier than seeing your consultant) and get them to fill it in. This is all the airline needs.

If you don't normally see your GP (If you usually see a consultant) show the GP your letter explaining you need oxygen on board, this will be enough for the GP to be able to fill in your forms from Jet2.

Once Jet2 have the forms filled in, they will clear you to fly (assuming that your condition is faily straight forward) and all you need is to rent some oxygen...

For your oxygen, You need to rent a POC machine (rather than taking oxygen bottles). Contact, they are super helpful.

2 litres is your flow rate per minute. It's what you set the POC machine to.

That's it!

Don't cancel the holiday, it's the best medicine!...


Thank you so much that made me feel much easy when you know how .I had looked at the website surprised how small they were.if Ido need supplimentry oxygen(which I think is pretty much a yes ) will I still be able to use the p o c in Italy .I do apologize for my ignorance I can't understand why the hospital haven't told me anything .thank you so much again .jeanmol X X


Hi. You can use the POC in Italy. As long as it has batteries you can carry it around with you. You'll need to recharge them of course, and you can use the machine on mains power (take a Euro plug adapter) when you are not walking about or back where you are staying. DO call up the nice people at Health Oxygen. They can advise you if you need spare batteries, how suitable the machine is for all day use etc. They might suggest a slightly bigger machine (but still very portable) if you want to use it during the day rather than just for the flight.

And to clarify, they will need some kind of medical document before they can hire you a machine, but it doesn't have to be a prescription, a letter from the doctor will do.


Tim chp thank you so much .jeanmol X X


Hi there

Don't worry!

I've just done this for myself. I flew last week, and I'm flying again next week.

I don't have a prescription for Oxygen. Even if I did, you can't take NHS oxygen out of the country, so it wouldn't help.

We'll come to the actual oxygen in a minute, but first you need to speak to the airline.

Google the airline name, plus the word "oxygen" and you will find the airline webpage about special medical needs...

They all have different policies (see below for more), but in every case, they need some form of medical form or letter which proves that you have a medical need for oxygen, and that you're broadly stable - medically speaking.

So you will need to see your GP for this letter.

I found my GP very happy to do this - I just rang their receptionist and I emailed the forms from the airline. The GP filled them in, scanned them and emailed them back.

Or just go and see your GP. The hospital told you that needed Oxygen to fly. They should have also sent a letter to the GP saying this. If they didn't, I'm sure the GP would believe you if you told them you had already been advised of your need for Oxygen when you fly. You're not asking them for the actual oxygen, just for a letter. At worst you may need to ring the hospital clinic that told you needed Oxygen to fly and ask them to send a note confirming them to your GP. Their is probably a clinic nurse you can call. Look at letterheads from the original appointment letter.

Your hospital visit in July to find about "supplemental oxygen" is - I think - talking about whether you need oxygen generally, rather than just when you fly. "Supplemental" just means "extra". So, on the plane, it won't be extra to the extra you already need! So I don't think your appointment in July effects you flying. You can arrange things now.

When they say you need "2 litres" of oxygen, I'm sure they mean you need 2 litres *per minute*. This is a "flow-rate" and is the setting for the oxygen you take on board. This is a very standard amount, it's what I need.

So what about taking oxygen - how do you get it?

British Airways seem to be the only airline (I could be wrong) that will let you use the oxygen bottle already on the plane. This is free and super easy. I did it myself last week. They treat you like royalty, letting you board first and they take extra care of you on board (I got an extra mini bottle of wine...!). You sort it with the "Pre Clearance Unit" as part of the process when you get their form filled it (the oxygen, not the wine...).

For everyone else, you will need to rent and bring your own oxygen. Taking actual oxygen bottles would be cumbersome and complicated, so I'd suggest you don't try and do this.

Better to take a "P.O.C" which is a Portable Oxygen Concentrator. This is a battery-powered machine, which compresses the air from the cabin and extracts the oxygen for you, meaning you don't need any bottles. Super easy.

Speak to someone at (as also linked to by StoneUK above). Sarah there was really helpful to me, very kind and knowledgable. Expect to pay around £250 per week for a machine. Not cheap, but they are thousands to buy.


- Don't wait for July appointment.

- Find your airline's policy on oxygen on-board, and ring them to find out what they need to know.

- See your GP to get their form filled in, or get a letter (depending on what the airline needs). Send it to the airline, if required.

- Speak to Sarah at about renting a P.O.C. machine. They also need a letter from your GP. Whatever you got from them for the airline will probably be enough.

- Now you have clearance from the airline, and a P.O.C. machine to take on board.

- Enjoy your holiday!

I hope this is useful. Don't worry, it's all very straight forward. Reply to this message if you want me to clarify anything!

good luck


Some airline info:

Easyjet just need you to bring a letter certifying that you need the oxygen and that you are stable generally. You can show this on boarding, and you don't need to tell them anything in advance.

See more here:

Others, such as BMI (0330 333 7998) and Jet2 (0800 408 5591), advise you call them up, at least 2 days in advance, to let them know. They also have forms to fill in.

British Airways have a form you need to download and have your GP fill in. They say 7 days in advice, but I did it with 24 hours notice and they were super helpful.

BA form:

BA medical clearance number: 020 8738 5444

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The Jet2 website says:

"We do carry oxygen on board but this is strictly for emergency use only. We are unable to supply oxygen for your own personal non-emergency use. You may however carry your own therapeutic oxygen, subject to having applied for and received appropriate medical clearance from us. Please contact our dedicated Assistance Team on +44 (0) 800 408 5591 or +44 (0)203 059 8337 if calling from overseas for further information. (Open Mon – Fri 08:00 – 21:00 and Sat – Sun 09:00 – 18:00) You will need produce medical documentation regarding your oxygen use and for confirmation that you are fit to travel by air so we do advise that you contact us as soon as possible for this to be arranged."

Replies above cover the Portable Concentrator situation. You will need to ensure that you have batteries sufficient to power the POC for the flight plus all waiting time.

And have you got adequate travel insurance for medical cover? You must, of course, declare all of your medical conditions.


Thank you and yes I do have insurance sorted out every thing declared too much of a worrier to not do it .


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