Flying with severe COPD

Hi all

Sorry I startedcan't this Post once And hit the post button before I'd even written anything!! We arecan due to fly to USA in, 4 weeks and my dadsmother symptoms seemed to have gone down hill with breathlessness which he has never had previously and seems to be getting worse despite starting Fostair. Firstly should the steroids have an inmediate effect and secondlya what do we need to do to prepare for the flight please?



14 Replies

  • Flying with which Airline?

    Has she had a Fitness to Fly Test?

    Does she need inflight oxygen?

    Does she have a MEDIF?

    Is her travel insurance Company aware of her condition?

  • Hi HuwieHex I'm typing on my phone and my msg didn't make sense cos got fat fingers :-)!! Thanks for your response. It's my dad and we're flying virgin. We're frequent flyers and hes never had a fit to fly cert. Never ever been hospitalised or needed oxygen ever. Never had problems with insurance other than itthat being expensive!! Don't know what a MEDIF is sorry. He mentioned we were, going to gp on Monday and she just said fine!!

  • I have had a letter from consultant listing all my medication. A flight test to see if i would need oxygen during the flight and insurance.

  • Thanks queen. Dad is due a spirometer check in a few weeks so presumably they will highlight if he needs a, flight test?

  • But maybe your dad can ask if he needs one. Hope it all goes ok. Have a good day.

  • Hi Bondy,

    I am flying transantlantic with Virgin next year. I am carrying on board my oxygen concentrator but won't need to use it on the flight.

    I have been in touch with Virgin Atlantic Special Assistance and they have been fantastic.

    If you you get in touch with them they will, without doubt involve you in 4 pages of paper work, the need for the GP to complete much of that paperwork... and be prepared!! They wanted my medical history and oxygen levels etc . They don't want someone to be ill in flight.

    If the GP says ok then I guess it's ok???

    A fitness to fly assessment, to check oxygen levels for flight, can take ages to arrange, so depends when you plan to go.

    Take your choice and hope the trip goes well for your dad.


  • Your father should get Medical clearance for the trip from his Hospital Consultant or GP. Often that requires a "fitness to fly" test at the Chest Clinic of the hospital. For information about the MEDIF and assistance from Virgin Atlantic look here:

    I do hope that all goes well

  • Hi all

    Thank you. His oxygen level when she checked with his infection was slightly low she said at 93% so hearing what others are I'm taking this is not that bad? As I said not sure and a little confused as I'm not with him if this is just a normal gradual progression and he's just scared because the breathlessness is new to him - I know I would be scared if I couldn't get my breath. Would the oxygen level check for fitness to fly be different to the one that the gp did?

  • The fitness to fly test lasts about 30 minutes and, among other tests, simulates the reduced oxygen level on aircraft. Talk to his GP/Consultant/respiratory Nurse about it!

  • You need a fitness to fly test authorized by your consultant or GP. Its not just about Oxygen but cabin pressures and altitudes. Please seek further advice.

  • In late July I had an op for lung cancer which involved removing some of my lung - I also have COPD (3). I asked my consultant when I would be fit to fly & was told after 3 months. I had a check up following the op & another last month at which I asked again would I be fit to fly in mid-October & was told fine. I queried with the airlines whether they needed a fit to fly letter from my consultant & was told no. So I have flown - only shorthaul -3 hrs - fine - no prob. Just ask your consultant.

  • I had the same procedure - just out if curiosity, what are your sats normally?

  • Sorry, no idea - left all my hospital info at home in England. Have my medication + the 'emergency pills' - I'm not worrying about anything, just enjoying life while I'm in the sun!

  • Sorry younginmind been away for a few days. Thank you for this. No one has EVER mentioned him needing a fit to fly check in all the years of having it so I am loathed to ask but on the other hand I dont want him to be ill in flight!! Can I just as did you have a lung condition before the cancer and if so how did you know it was something more? Cos this is my concern with my dad as it's just worsened all of a sudden :-(!

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