Enabling Air Travel with Oxygen in Europe

EFA Booklet:  Stop discrimination against patients on board aircrafts!

For patients requiring oxygen on board planes, an ordinary flight can turn into a nightmare. The rules and prices regarding the use of oxygen on flights vary considerably between airlines in Europe, often leading to confusion for travellers. These common practices of certain European airlines make travelling by plane stressful, challenging or even prohibitively expensive for passengers suffering from respiratory diseases.

EFA believes current measures are clearly discriminatory and pose an unnecessary burden on passengers requiring oxygen therapy. With the booklet “Enabling Air Travel with Oxygen in Europe,” prepared in collaboration with European Lung Foundation (ELF) and featuring MEP Keith Taylor from the European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee, we aim at:

  1. informing and educating patients, their carers, the general public and air crews,
  2. bringing the issue to the attention of EU policy makers and the airlines themselves.

“As EFA President, it is my pleasure to present this booklet as a cornerstone for a movement to call out the discriminatory policies employed by certain airlines and call upon policymakers to improve the situation for patients with chronic respiratory diseases,” said EFA President Breda Flood.

As certain airlines, such as British Airways and TAROM have shown, it is possible to provide oxygen free of charge. Meanwhile, others continue to exploit patients with respiratory diseases and charge inexcusably high flat fees. For instance, as a healthy passenger, you would pay 100 Euro for a flight from Paris to Marseilles. However, if you require oxygen on board the plane, the cost of the ticket can go up to 700 Euro!

With this booklet, we argue that patients with respiratory disease and a need for oxygen during travel should have oxygen available at all times and free of charge – either in the form of airlines’ oxygen containers or their own portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) checked and approved by EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency).

EFA therefore calls on policy makers to ensure that charges for using oxygen on-board planes will be dropped and rules regarding the use of oxygen on-board aircrafts harmonized across the European Union. As the example of improved wheel chair accessibility shows, it is possible to address and solve the problem with the Commission’s mandate.

Travellers requiring oxygen should not be discriminated against any further and they should enjoy same rights of free movement as any other passengers on airplanes. 


The EFA Booklet

The booklet offers practical help for people who have to travel by plane with oxygen, while presenting patient testimonies and offering evidence which points to ongoing discrimination against passengers with oxygen therapy needs.

The booklet is available here.

Any inquiries related to the booklet can be sent to david.brennan@efanet.org. To request copies of the booklet, please call the EFA office at +32 (0) 2 227 2712.

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