Fitness to fly

Hi we have planned to take my dad on holiday to turkey in october. He has copd, and I never thought about how he would manage flying. The flights are already booked, so theres nothing we can do about them, but we need to pay for the hotel in a weeks time. We have been to the GP who said that he needs a fit to fly assessment. The Gp has contacted him today and said they wont do it until 6 weeks before we go. So do we throw good money after bad and pay the hotel aswell and chance loosing the lot if he can't go? He is talking about paying to have it done privately. Does anyone know if thats an option please?

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  • It's always done close to the time of the flight Vix - it needs to be so as to be current. If he gets it done now, it might not be accepted.

    But what makes you think he wouldn't be able to go? The fit-to-fly test will show if your father will desaturate when flying, so whether he needs oxygen or not. If it turns out he does need it you need to contact the airlines disability officer and arrange it. Some airlines charge for providing oxygen, some don't and you could probably find that out now by checking on the airline company's website.

  • yes we have contacted the airline and they have told us all the ins and outs of what oxygen we can take etc. But the GP said hes not happy unless he has the test and it could be they say he cannot fly. Dad is 88 and has COPD that was previously diagnosed as emphysema.

    He does not have oxygen at home, but the GP said the rule of thumb is can he walk up a flight of stairs without being breathless, or can he walk 50m without being breathless, and we know that he can't. He is sometimes breathless when resting.

    The GP put the oxygen thingy on his finger and it was 99 which he said was good.

    I understand he will need one near to the time. We are happy to sort his oxygen, but if they say he isnt fit to fly he will have wasted a lot of money and it will be too late to cancel. Funny thing is he flew before in 2006 and it never even entered his head that he should check, and he was as bad then.

  • 99% is amazing, I'd kill for that reading :D. Obviously you know all about your dad's situation but it seems highly unlikely that if he isn't an oxygen user and has sats of 99% at rest that he wouldn't be able to fly. Sounds like your GP is being super-cautious to me though being breathless at rest might be a factor? We are all so different the way it affects us. COPD by the way is an umbrella term covering chiefly emphysema and chronic bronchitis, sometimes some forms of asthma too. So his diagnosis hasn't necessarily changed.

    It is a hard call, I can see that. Maybe some other members will be along with more views on it. I so hope you all get your holiday.

  • If it were me I would carry on with the booking making sure you have insurance taken out at the same time.

  • insurance is no good,won't cover you if you are aware of pending investigation. Its a tough one but having had a nasty episode last time I flew, so wouldn't risk it cos it is really scarey.

  • I have COPD but was able to fly to Cyprus for my wedding.

  • Here in the US you don't have to have a Fitness to Fly. My husband is on oxygen now and we flew for the first time with this oxygen in February this year. It was stressful for both of us not knowing how everything would work, but it worked out great! The airlines here don't provide you oxygen. You have to bring your own portable concentrator. It was a long flight so we actually had to bring 2 with us. The day of the flight, the airline representative had to check both units to make sure between them both that there was enough energy to last the whole flight. It wound up being the best flight in years! This time he didn't feel like he would just die like he has before the use of oxygen. I know it's different where you live, but I would think that since your dad isn't on oxygen now, that even if it's deemed that he needs it while flying that that wouldn't be a deal breaker for him going. Just my opinion.

  • Vix, as regards the hotel, why not book with a company that allows free cancellation up to 24 hours before you fly ? I always book with Booking.com and only if the hotel offers free cancellation. Twice, I've had to cancel and it was absolutely no problem. You end up paying about €20 extra for the free cancellation option but it's worth every cent.

  • Hi. The thing to remember is that if you fail a fit-to-fly test, it doesn't mean you can't fly at all, it just means you need supplemental oxygen on board when you do. I've done a few posts about how to travel with oxygen, so click on my name and look at my posts for more info. I've flown 4 times this year with oxygen (I "failed" my fit to fly) and it's pretty easy once you know how. Good luck!

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