Going on holiday

Flying with a lung condition

Your lung condition doesn’t necessarily prevent you from flying. Discuss your travel plans involving flying with your doctor. Most people with a lung condition, even if they use oxygen, can travel on planes.

If you are planning a long-haul flight and use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to treat the sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), think if you might need to use your machine during the flight. Some airlines have restrictions on what machines are permitted for use on board. Others may require you to fill in a form before you travel.

If you use an electric mobility aid such as an electric wheelchair or a scooter, contact the airline in advance to let them know. Also check if your airline has any restrictions relating to equipment – this can vary between airlines.

Many airlines have a medical officer or dedicated unit for disabled passengers or those with special medical requirements. Contact the airline before you book to discuss your needs.

When you contact the airline, find out what help is available at the airport as well as on the plane.

Important things to know include:

  • the airline’s policy on carrying and using oxygen, including portable oxygen concentrators, and medical devices such as CPAP machines
  • the exact length of the flight, and if delays are likely
  • how you confirm your fitness to fly
  • the facilities available at the outgoing and incoming airports. These might include assistance to get you from the airport lounge to the departure gate and on to the plane; the use of wheelchairs, and whether oxygen is available at the airport

Find more information about:

“The airline was brilliant when we went to Tenerife last month. I was allowed to ride my scooter all the way to the plane. Then they loaded it on and when we arrived they got it out of the hold for me to ride through the airport.”

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Last medically reviewed: March 2018. Due for review: March 2021

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.