Oxygen on an International Flight

Waiver: Please keep in mind when reading this, I am not a Doctor and all information I provide is from my own experience. It’s always best to check with your Doctor.

The whole lead up to my holiday had me in a ball of nerves, I so badly wanted a holiday with the family but the voice of fear kept advising me not to do it. It’s been 6 years now since I have had the courage to board an international flight.

I contacted Qantas (they seemed to be the only airline equipped for a flight to the US from Sydney, Australia) I arranged oxygen cylinders for the flight, I knew I would be getting 4 litres per minute of continuous flow of pure oxygen for the entire flight. That’s more than my portable oxygen machine could produce so it’s definitely a better option to have the pure oxygen despite the cost. (The department that looks after this is called Special Handling – Click Here )

This is what the box looked like to strap the cylinders onto the leg of the seat.


I have Pulmonary Hypertension and Pulmonary Fibrosis, My lungs suck at being lungs and my heart is carrying the load and getting tired… I use oxygen to get me by and avoid having a transplant…. The transplant issue is a whole other topic.

My normal oxygen readings on a good day are approx 93-94% on room air and on a day when I’m under the weather or struggling with the flu, its approx 85%. Normal oxygen readings are approx 98-99%.

On the flight I monitored my oxygen saturation with a pulse oximeter, the oxygen saturation was 96-97% which was great! I was very happy about this outcome.


When I landed I was escorted with a wheel chair right through to the front door to exit the airport, I also arranged this with special handling.

I was so happy with the crew on board the flight, they were polite, helpful and made the flight pleasant and they took alot of my anxiety away.

For such a long time I have held off going on a holiday with the fear that I wouldn’t be able to go, the fear that my lungs and heart wouldn’t handle the high pressures in the cabin. I was a little anxious after I landed and short of breath on my portable oxygen machine, I put this down to sleep deprivation because the tank had to be changed every 3-4 hours, I couldn’t sleep keeping an eye on the meter.

In a week and a bit I am due to re-board the plane and do another 14-15 hour flight back to Sydney. I will keep you posted on how I go.


About oxygen4thejourney

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6 Responses to Oxygen on an International Flight

  1. amommasview says:

    I hope you have a great time!

  2. I am so happy it was a good trip for you. Have a great holiday and a Merry Christmas.

  3. Great to hear that! You made it! Hurray! Aren’t you proud of yourself? You must!
    Enjoy Sidney and have a nice flight back.
    Happy holidays!

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