People with COPD who need oxygen therapy face incredible difficulties when they have to cross boarders. The European Commission Memo (guideline) on “Passengers rights: what passengers with reduced mobility need to know when travelling by air” published on 14 June 2012 may help to clarify the situation but underlines the lack of harmonisation between Member States and airline companies in this field.This is an extract of the memo:
“I need oxygen on-board. Can I take my own supply or will oxygen be provided by the air-carrier?
What is the problem?
Air carriers apply different rules on the transport of oxygen which leads to confusing situations for passengers who need oxygen onboard.
What is the guidance?
Airlines are required to carry medical equipment free of charge, subject to any relevant dangerous goods requirements.
For example, if you need oxygen during the flight it is important to clarify directly with the air carrier whether you can bring your own oxygen supply. For safety reasons, the air carrier might not allow this or decide to provide the oxygen itself (although it is not obliged to do so).
There are currently no standardised rules on the carriage of oxygen in the EU. The guidelines therefore underline that airlines are entitled to set their own requirements for the carriage of oxygen based on safety reasons. However, this information must be clearly available to passengers. If the air carrier provides oxygen, the guidelines state that this should be done at a reasonable price.”
European Commission Memo – full text
European Commission press release