British Lung Foundation
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New Poll

Hi all - just noticed the new poll that Mark has put up re oxygen for holidays abroad. I have to admit that i haven't travelled abroad since having copd - not so much because of arranging for oxygen, but simply because there is no way i could afford to travel abroad while living on benefits. That said, i did start my 'bucket list' savings last year, with my number one wish being to cruise up into Scandinavia and watch the Northern Lights. Actually i wouldn't mind going to the ice hotel for a night either.... now that will take a few years of saving ;) Will be interesting to read how folks have managed the 02 question on their various trips though. Parvati. PS anyone interested in joining me on a cruise five years from now (handsome doctors most welcome of course!) ;)

26 Replies

Yes, I have been abroad since having COPD. Husband and I flew with Virgin Atlantic and 02 on the flights was, and still is, free so no problems there. The 02 was ordered at the time of booking as the numbers of passengers requiring 02 are limited.

At the time, I didn't need 02 as long as there was a breeze and air conditioning but we went to the Caribbean and I found out prior to the holiday exactly where I could obtain 02 from and the costs etc. Their equipment was pretty basic - no LOX athough they eventually mustered up a concentrator if I required it. There was no 02 available at either airports but at that time, I didn't need it.

If I were lucky enough to be able to afford to go again then I think I would want to hire a Portable Oxygen Concentrator from a UK company and have a supplier contact wherever I am going - all options are then covered and hopefully no worries. Expensive to hire I know but my 02 supplier won't let the POC's out of the UK as far as I know.

I believe it is easier to get 02 supplied in Europe and on Cruises.


Hi Jemma, I have been toying with the idea of eventually buying my own portable concentrator. It would mean being able to make spur of the moment decisions to go away for a couple of days instead of always having to pre arrange everything. I have noticed when 'window shopping' on the net that they tend not to put the prices out there for you to see. I find this infuriating. It's how things used to be with adjustable beds etc. - you always had to ring for estimates and the prices were always criminally high. Thankfully that has all changed when it comes to beds and other 'disability' items. Lets hope it happens with 02 concentrators soon and perhaps then we will see price drops there too! P.


Hi Parvati

Yes, I too have been toying with the idea of buying a POC just to have a bit more freedom without having to plan weeks in advance. I think the US websites include prices which can be converted to £ but I think in the end it would cost a load more with shipping and taxes.

E Bay does very few used machines but loads from China with hardly any power in them. The other week I found the wesite and there were seven used POC's so worth taking a look there.

All the best


Sorry, I should have put


Thanks Jemma - wil certainly keep an eye on it :)


Hi, Parvati, I bought a portable in June for doing just that,having odd weekends away ,and for use on a cruise ship. It is very easy to arrange for a concentrator on board ship ,but not cheap.(cost me £295 for two weeks ,and about £20 per cylinder of portable oxygen) . Consequently I decided it would be better in the long run to buy one. If you send for a brochure from the companys on the net you can get an idea of the prices. Also there are second hand ones for sale .(Breathing Space magazine). Most of the machines are made in the states ,and i suppose import taxes make them expensive. I shall be cruising again in September, health permitting , bit apprehensive as it is for three weeks, but we need to grab what we can whilst we are still able. regards Viv


Hi vjay,

Do you stick with one particular cruise company? Would love to hear more about your experience of cruise hols, as it will all be new for me. I think i would go for the more casual rather than the formal 'dress for dinner' type, as i find it difficult to keep my eyes open for dinner some nights let alone getting glammed up for it first! Would love to hear more if ever you feel like starting a blog about it. P :)


Hi Parvati, We do tend to stick with one company, and we do the Formal nights, mainly because hubby likes to dress up (only chance he gets since retirement) .I have never liked it ,hate wearing make-up when its hot,but I tolerate it . You dont have to eat late, many of the companies have freedom dining or something similar,so you choose when you eat. You do not have to eat in the dining rooms, you can use the buffets. Basically food wise you please yourself, and there is plenty of choice. Formal nights are maybe 2 aweek, otherwise they are smart casual/semi-iformal. The smaller ships are friendlier,easier to make friends, as opposed to the ships with 3,000 passengers, and you dont get SOB as easily when exploring on board. We did the Ffjord trip last year ,where you could go to ice hotel(we didnt). there are trips up there for one week only which would be a cheaper option.

There is loads to do on board,cinema,theatre,demonstations,crafts,whist drives,dance classes,photography classes, talks by some celebrities, quoits table tennis are somee dif of the things that may be available.Different ships have different entertainment.

regards Viv


Thanks for the info Viv. I really like the sound of the Fjord trip. Also, i think for that, a short one week cruise would be just enough to see the sights without freezing for too long ;) .... it might leave me with enough for a second cruise to warm me up a bit afterwards too :) P.


hi to all

my brother was able to arrange for oxy concentrator and bottle oxy to our place in glasgow when he visited us from london in march 2012.

He is on oxy 24 / 7 I dont know the measures but he said it is high

He hopes to come to spain and visit us here in september 2012

He is not sure if he will be allowed to fly so will try and drive here with his wife as co driver.

I am panicky as to supplies of oxy etc

i so want him to do all he can while he can

I dont know if any of this is feasable or just a dream , a wish .an aim.

suggestions please



Your brother can arrange to use oxygen (supplied by the air company) on the flight. There are several companies which supply this without charge (Virgin, Thomson). I'm not sure how he would manage to drive so far, especially if he is using oxygen at a high rate. However, I admire his spirit and agree that he should "do all he can while he can". Good luck to him. :-)


Hi brujapatsy

Well, first your brother needs to see his GP or Respiratory Team if he wants to fly. They will be able to say what levels of 02 he will need on a flight. The airline will also want a form (a form Med1 in Virgin's case) from whoever has assessed him for the flight.

On the previous British Lung Forum I read that lady had stayed in Spain and all 02 was sorted out for her and it was free of charge. Perhaps BLF can help on this one? Afraid that I didn't take a copy but it shows that it IS POSSIBLE.

Driving there would also be a possibility but the Portable Oxygen Concentrators may not give out a high enough volume for your brothers needs but at least they can be plugged into a cigarette lighter.

Perhaps your brother could ask his UK 02 supplier for information and possible help?

I'm sure that if all is well planned then your brother could join you and the air would be much better for him too.

All the very best.


Would love to go abroad but havent done so since i was first diagnosed as on benefits and cannot afford it, i didnt need oxygen at the time (5yrs ago) but did find the rushing from one part of the airport to another a problem! i guess there must be options available (wheelchairs) etc how has everyone else found that part? xx


Wheelchair assistance can be booked through your travel agent. Once you arrive they provide a wheelchair right up to the aeroplane door and meet you with one too. Where there are no "tunnels" to the aeroplane they will use an ambi-lift. No need to worry at all. Or you can of course take your own chair. If not, most resorts have them for hire.


thank u for that, i was so exhausted and stressed it put me off, now just need to save hard! not easy at the moment xx


I have heard it's almost like having VIP treatment - guess we should make the most of it girls! P;)


lol sounds good doesnt it! xx


Hi Junegirl

As Parvati said getting a wheelchair is real VIP stuff!! I arranged one with Virgin and it was there awaiting for me, with a very nice porter, at the doors to Gatwick. We did phone to say our ETA about 15 minutes before.

Our luggage was all checked in and off we went to the departure lounge and sat in a small area with other disabled passengers. When our flight was due to board an electric buggy took all us passengers to the plane and we were the first to be boarded.

On arriving at our destination we were the last to disembark BUT we flew through the customs in a wheelchair and outside to a waiting car - absolutely no problems at all and nothing to stress about.

Arriving back in the UK a porter and wheelchair met us and took us to the luggage carousel and another porter took care of that. There was no charge for this service but we did tip the men.

Hope this helps


Hi thank u for that all seems really good with virgin are they expensive to fly with? was wondering if other cheaper airlines would be a good?



Hi junegirl

I don't think Virgin fly to Europe just long haul etc but we always waited until they had a sale on which was normally every quarter. You can join their Flying Club, it costs nothing and you should get regular emails.

The mot expensive part is the Flight Taxes!!!! No sale on that.


lol thank u i appreciate hat, i will have a look when im all saved up i did find an older leaflet that cops nurses had printed out when i went to the rehab, that has list of different airlines and charges but like everything prices change so would need to contact them nearer the time, just somewhere nice and sunny would be good at the mo! xx


We have lots of family in Italy and i would dearly like to go and see them all once more but my husband worries more than I do about supplies. I know once i got there i'd be stuck for long periods in the house because of the heat and location. Its a small village on the side of a mountain so i wouldn't be able to walk anywhere except within the house. I could take my POC but i would need cylinders and a backup because they often had power cuts when they had a thunderstorm. All the things we used to take for granted we no longer can rely on.

Parvarti I love the sound of the Aurora Borealis and the ice hotel :). Put me down for 2 tickets please ;-)



think we'll be needing our thermals for that one Mo - long johns, or dare i say it - combinations lol :)


For advice on Portable Oxygen Concentrators take a look at:


Travel with a concentrator in my RV have the freedom that comes with going where you please with backup supply stowed in the locker. Lungs aint up to flying so have to go the best way you can.


That has to be the ultimate freedom coors! To go away when you want, where you want with no 02 supply headaches! There are a number of copd'ers in the USA who have sold up and bought RV's. They literally follow the sun - travelling North in summer to avoid extreme heat, and then back down through the Southern states through Autumn and Winter. They do that 'geo caching' thing too and leave messages for each other in the camp sites and wilderness areas they visit. I would love to live like that for a year or two! (bit of a middle aged hippy ;). Best wishes Parvati.


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