September 10, 2018 at 7:03 am #14354Charlene MarshallKeymaster
Hello Forum Members,
I’m excited to say that over the next few days (until Monday, September 17th) I will only be online sporadically as I am leaving for vacation in the very early morning tomorrow. While travelling with supplemental oxygen does give me some anxiety and worry; the excitement of going on vacation far exceeds any negative feeling associated with travelling.
Since my diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in early 2016, I have been privileged to travel to various destinations of my choosing either via plane or car. I have been down to Australia, NYC, California, Vancouver and Calgary, all with supplemental oxygen in tow. Tomorrow I depart to the east coast of Canada and I couldn’t be more excited to spend time oceanside in Halifax and Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
Back in November 2017, I wrote a Pulmonary Fibrosis News column on travelling with supplemental oxygen. More specifically, I wrote about the conflicting feelings and fears of travelling with a chronic illness. This was in anticipation of my US-based flight to NYC, and I have to admit that I don’t have as many fears this time as I continue my 2018 domestic travels within Canada. I also feel very comfortable with the people I will be spending time with on the east coast, since one of them is an RN.
PF News columnist Kim Frederickson has also written some informative columns on travelling while requiring supplemental oxygen.
Please note that while I am away next week, I likely won’t be online much. I am going to soak up as much of the warm summer air as I can (now that it is tolerable, since the humidity is gone) and refill my soul by the ocean. I am excited to share snippets of my trip when I return, and I wish you all a wonderful, peaceful and calm week ahead. Thank you for being part of this wonderful community!
Have you travelled less or more since your diagnosis of IPF/PF?
Do you have any additional tips to share for travelling with supplemental oxygen?
September 17, 2018 at 11:13 am #14444Anne PhilibenParticipant
Before I was diagnosed with IPF I started to become ill every time I flew. It went from URI’s to Pneumonia. Flying just became a horror. I spent my 3 days in Sydney AU in the hotel room. I was going to take one last attempt at flying, first class with a face mask. Unfortunately I got in the wrong line and they wouldn’t allow me to board. So I haven’t attempted since. I now have a concentrator they say is FAA approved .but it is so big I would have to fly first class. Also the Bend/Redmond airport doesn’t have a loading platform…I’d have to carry that 20 pound concentrator up a flight of stairs. Wish I had some good tips.
September 20, 2018 at 7:56 am #14500Charlene MarshallKeymaster
Thanks for getting in touch and sharing a bit about your experience with travel post IPF diagnosis. That said, sorry it wasn’t a more positive experience for you! Did you travel with a mask when you went on a plane to try and reduce exposure/risk of pneumonia and URIs? I know that you likely did, but just curious as I won’t step foot into an airport / airplane without a protective mask on. The recycled air and germs just makes me shutter even thinking about it!
I travel often despite my IPF and usually have my POC in tow, which I agree isn’t the easiest thing as the one I use is pretty heavy, especially in addition to my luggage. Why wouldn’t the airline allow you to board the plane? I’ve never heard of that before, and unless they required medical documentation of your ability to fly safely; I don’t think they’re allowed not to permit you to fly. Is that why they didn’t allow you to board? There are some airlines (ie. AirCanada) who require documentation stating you can fly, even if you don’t need your oxygen on the flight but have to bring a POC along. Other airlines (my favourite ones – WestJet, Air NewZealand, Qantas) don’t require documentation as long as your POC is FAA approved. In terms of carrying your items, you wouldn’t have to do that in order to fly, this is why they have teams to help patients who require assistance. They even allow priority boarding now for patients who need a little extra time or assistance to get on the plane (when I’ve accessed this, its never costed me extra either) and they will carry your things for you. I had to do this just recently, up a ramp onto the plane and the flight crew carried everything for me so that I could focus on breathing and walking up the ramp. Not sure if this helps at all?
Feel free to write with any additional questions. I love to travel still, and do often 🙂
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