Traveling With Lung Disease
Chronic lung disease rarely presents a problem in air travel as the cabin of an airliner is usually pressurized to an equivalent of 5000 or at most 8000 feet. Most experts feel that if a person can walk one block or up one flight of stairs without severe shortness of breath, then they can safely fly without supplemental oxygen. Another test of fitness for air travel is that if one's blood oxygen saturation on room air (pO2) is 70 or more then additional oxygen is not needed. If supplemental oxygen IS needed then arrangements with the airline will need to be made in advance. For safety reasons, a passenger may not take their own oxygen supply aboard an aircraft but must use oxygen supplied by the airline. This usually requires at least 24 hours notice and costs more than $50 per flight. The time notification and cost may be more on international flights.
Two other considerations to keep in mind are dust and dry air. In order to protect delicate electronic equipment, the air about airliners is kept abnormally dry. This may be irritating to the air passages of those afflicted with chronic lung disease. Extra oral fluid intake or some prescription medications may prevent this problem. Also, when traveling in some climates dust can be a serious problem. Sometimes one has the option of traveling by air-conditioned car or bus, but when this is not possible it is advisable to wear a mask or scarf over the nose and mouth.
||"Requirements for Traveling With Oxygen"--
American Association for Respiratory Care