British Lung Foundation
34,789 members42,140 posts

Struggle to breath on flights

Morning was wondering how you sufferers of copd cope on flights when going on holiday. Last year i had the worst time ever During the flight my breathing gets very laboured and when i tried to walk the isle for the toilet i was gasping had to use my spray and the hostess was concered and got me some water When we landed it went down hill from there to the point where the air hostess had to send for a wheel chair Im going on holiday soon very scared what can i do to help my breathing. Family said dont go but i look forward to my holidays

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Hi

I would seek assurances from your GP. Inflight Oxygen can drop 4% or more at altitude, although not a problem for a healthy person, not recommended for people with heart or lung condition.

webmd.com/heart-disease/new...

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Stone-UK, can you tell me what doctor would base advice on, re flights?

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Hi

As we are all individuals, it would depend on a person health history.

Referral to the respitory term for oxygen assessment may be in order.

Any previous instances will need to be discussed to resolve any other underlying issues.

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Thanks. I'll discuss with doc then.

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You may need supplemental oxygen for your flight. Check with your GP or respiratory nurse to arrange a fit to fly test.

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Thanks, this interests me too.

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And be abolutely sure that you have disclosed any mecical conditions to your Travel Insurer.

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Good point. New to this - thanks.

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Hi, here's a link to previous posts from members about flying with lung illnesses that might be useful.

healthunlocked.com/search/f...

You may have to wait ages for a 'fitness to fly' test through the NHS depending where you live and you have to be referred by your GP. Best to apply a couple of months before flight.

BA supply oxygen free but you have to have a declaration signed by your GP that you need 'in flight oxygen' and it costs £25 payable to your medical practice.

The form MEDIF1 can be downloaded from BA site.

britishairways.com/jba/ba/f...

Here's list of airlines and their oxygen policies

europeanlung.org/en/lung-di...

With airlines that don't offer free oxygen, you can hire a 'portable oxygen concentrator' from a company like PureO2

healthoxygen.com/rental-inf...

Good luck

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Just go and see your doctor and get his advice, I had the same happen to me years ago and when I saw my GP afterwards to explain what had happened I was told off in no uncertain terms telling me I could have suffered a heart attack. Since then I have never been allowed to fly without oxygen its extremely dangerous to do so if you need it. I no longer have holidays abroad and make do with holidays in the UK now

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Yes, this issue can become a real problem, once you either self-diagnose or are diagnosed with, for example, COPD. Because once you have the condition or need supplemental oxygen then you face the problem that you will need to tell your insurers as well - who may, just may increase your premium by one or two hundred percent! If they are prepared to cover you at all! Of course, if you fail to notify your insurer of a medical condition and you need to claim (for anything) but especially medical help, then you could find yourself with no cover at all (although you might be lucky if you work hard with them). So as well as the hassle of fitness to fly assessments, doctors appointments, and other administration, you end up with: Extra charges from your doctor, the airline, and the insurers. These can easily make many flights completely uneconomic, and impossible to arrange at short notice. If anyone on the forum has experience of an approach that makes any of this easier, then I'm sure I'm not alone and would love to know the details. Thanks to James48 for your info and links on the subject. Good luck with your holidays.

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Hi thanks you seem to know all the ins and outs its a mine field

My insurance will not insure me we have used used them for the past 16 years but i got a good deal from the post office

I dont need oxygen so thats 1 thing not to have to worry about

I havent got a fit to fly cert im just going to go and hope for the best it was supposed to be a late cheap deal not so cheap now

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Good luck and enjoy a great holiday. I haven't really had problems myself, yet, but I can see them coming when I next want to do a long-haul flight. My breathing is pretty poor, which worries me - even though I'm not a worrier, and after having a spinal tumour I've been lucky to have had some great holiday in the UK for a couple of years,- so I haven't had to worry about declaring 3 or more ongoing conditions to my insurers. Yikes!!! But Like you I want to get away from the UK and I can imagine them rubbing their hands with glee at the premium they could charge me!!!

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