Flying with Oxygen

by | Jul 19, 2014 | COPD, Lifestyle

Many people diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or other lung diseases assume they’ll never be able to travel again – but that is not true. In fact, a large number of our patients at Lung Health Institute fly in to receive treatment. We have had patients from all over the United States including New Jersey, New York, and Arizona, and patients from the Caribbean, Lebanon, and Canada come to our Tampa, FL location. Flying with oxygen is feasible, but it does require some planning ahead. First things first – air travel has been deemed safe for people with COPD in most cases. No matter what stage of COPD you have, you should consult with your doctor before traveling, especially by plane. Make sure to get clearance to fly from your doctor. You should go over your destination and plans with your doctor, and work with them on securing medicine for the trip, before you try flying with oxygen. Tips for flying with oxygen:

  • Consult your doctor – Before you leave, call or see your doctor and make sure you have an adequate supply of medication, and ensure you are cleared to fly.
  • Fly direct – It’s not always possible, but whenever you can, take a direct flight. It will make your journey much easier.
  • Call the airline – At least a month before your trip, call your airline and ask them about oxygen onboard. They will probably require documentation from your doctor for the oxygen. If you need to use oxygen while on the flight, the airline may charge you extra, but you should ask about it.
  • Bring a portable oxygen concentrator (POC)– Click here to see the Federal Aviation Administration list of approved portable oxygen concentrators. If you do bring a POC, you must also bring fully charged batteries to last 150% of the predicted flight time.
  • Arrive early at the airport – This is a must when traveling with oxygen. People traveling with oxygen tanks should be at least two hours early for their flight.
  • Call the hotel – If you need a handicap-equipped room, or if you want to get details on having oxygen delivered.
  • Contact your oxygen supplier – They can most likely deliver oxygen to the hotel where you’re staying.
  • Bring a list of contact information and medicines – Make sure to have your doctor’s phone number, your oxygen supplier’s phone number, and a list of your current medications. These are all good to have just in case.

Remember, using oxygen doesn’t mean you can’t travel, it just means you need to plan ahead whenever flying with oxygen. If you or a loved one has COPD or other lung disease and want to learn more about treatment options, contact us or call 888-745-6697.

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