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oxygen travel help PLEASE!


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Hi, we are travelling with our Mom who uses oxygen. We have never traveled with oxygen. We are leaving from FLL and visitng the Eastern Caribbean.


I have called many oxygen providers looking at service vs cost regarding oxygen while on the cruise ship and have found a company that seems to fit the bill.

We didn't realize traveling with oxygen was so EXPENSIVE!


I called the airline (Delta) yesterday about oxygen on the plane trip. Delta quoted me $400 round trip for oxygen use while on the plane only (not in the airport)!!! We don't have a straight through flight. Is this a normal price?


Does anyone have any hints or suggestions as to what they have done while traveling with oxygen? Ways to keep the price down while having dependable oxygen providers? The cost of the oxygen is way more than the whole cost of the cruise + airfare! Thanks.

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My sister and I went on a cruise to Alaska with our mom last month. Yes, it's very expensive to travel with O2. We went with CARE Vacations and they were wonderful. We stayed in Vancouver the day before and the day following the cruise so it would be easier on Mom (age 87). We also rented a wheelchair (to lessen the number of suitcases, etc, that we would be taking) and a scooter (because she has difficulty walking long distances) and O2 tanks and a concentrator for the hotel before and after the cruise and the cruise.

If you get to the airport in plenty of time and get permission from the airline, they may allow someone to come with you to the gate to bring back the tank that she's using at the time and to bring her O2 to the gate when she returns.

CARE Vacations (http://www.carevacations.com) had someone with an O2 tank meet us at the plane and we left the wheelchair and the tank that mom was using at the gate when we left Vancouver. Airplane O2 is very expensive because the airline are leary of flying with O2. United had everything set up for mom on the plane and she had no problems there. Please be sure to remind the airline that there has to be enough O2 incase there's a delay on the ground or in the air. Let your mom's doctor know also that he should put that in his letter to the airlines.

The cost to CARE Vacations was almost $2,000. but we felt that it was worth the cost as mom enjoyed the cruise so very much. The airline amount was comparable.

Hope this helps. If you have addtional questions, please ask.

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Yes the price Delta quoted you seems normal. Airlines are not required to provide oxygen services, (some don't like Southwest) and they can charge for it (all US airlines that provide the service do charge for it.) You are not allowed to bring your own equipment on board on US airlines.


Prices range from $75 -$150 per flight leg (a flight leg is one take off and landing) so the Delta price sounds within the ballpark. You said you have a connecting flight, so I’m assuming at least 4 flight legs which will be between $300 and $600 for the oxygen.


Of course the best way to keep the cost down is to get a direct flight, even if it perhaps means driving to a nearby gateway city. You might also want to consider cruises that have home ports within driving distance (more and more new home ports are being added by the cruise lines). Also, you should inquire about the cost of airline-supplied oxygen before you book your ticket. (that won't do you any good this time, but it's something to keep in mind for the future). Different airlines charge different amounts. Be wary -- Alitalia charges a whopping $1500 per flight leg!! (something to keep in mind if you every fly to Italy!)


And yes, I agree with the Care Vacations referral. It's expensive, but again, it's just an expensive service (not somebody trying to rip you off).


Also don't forget -- you will have to make arrangements for in terminal oxygen use for your connecting flights and also at your arrival city. Check with Care Vacations for this.



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Thank you judyfssw and Queenie2 for your input. We had no idea traveling with oxygen was so expensive! At least we now understand what we were quoted was not unreasonable.


Our cruise and airfare were purchased long before Mom had to start using oxygen. She became very ill in May and is just now getting back on her feet some.


I think what irkes me is that (now that WE are traveling with a disabled person ourselves) the travel industry should be glad disabled people are willing to travel at all. Instead, it seems as though the travel industry makes it as difficult and expensive as they can. Maybe because my family is new to this quandry and find it really frustrating and that irritates us all the more.


Delta also mentioned that some insurance co. pay for airline oxygen--ever heard that? Mom's insurance was closed and not open until Monday, we will ask them and see what they do or don't cover. Thanks.

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Yes Joby I agree that it is more expensive for *some* PWDs to travel -- more specifically those who use supplemental oxygen like your mom. And yes, some airlines really don't want to deal with it at all, hence the high price (to dissuade customers). I mean I think the Alitalia price tag is more than a bit outrageous.


I actually don't find that true for wheelchair-users though, as they are not charged extra for wheelchair-assistance or for an accessible room (by law they can't be, but the ACAA states specifically that the airlines can charge for oxygen if they provide it).


As for insurance covering airline oxygen - well, it depends on your carrier and your policy. The airlines do not take insurance assignments or bill the company though -- it must be paid by the customer in advance (and the customer must then file with the insurance company). And usually they don't cover the full amount. But still, if you can recover anything, go for it.


The fact that your mom started using supplemental oxygen after you made your travel arrangements, pretty much puts you between a rock and a hard spot (you basically don't have much choice to pay the additional fees), but you already knew that. I hope you have a nice cruise.



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Thanks so much for your replies. We are feeling a little better now that the initial sticker shock of the oxygen is over.


We are really looking forward to this cruise! It will be a once in a lifetime experience for us. We have never been anywhere together--we will have lots of fun and new experiences.


If you have any hints to pass along--feel free to do so! Thanks again.

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While wheelchair users may not pay more on the airlines, the cruise lines do manage to stick it to us.


Rarely can you get a free upgrade as the wheelchair accessible rooms are rarely available. You cannot go with the cheapest cabins as there are rarely accessible cabins in these categories. You may have to book a second cabin for a party of 3 or 4 as there are so few accessible cabins that allow 3 or 4 passengers. You may have to spend more for privately arranged tours since the cruise lines do not make any effort to find you accessible tours. It goes on and on. As a man says in the film "Survivors", not only is a disability great fun, it is very expensive!

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Hi, our Mom only uses a wheelchair to go longer distances, say 100 yards or more. She gets by with a quad cane. We are lucky in that respect, she is able to transfer, walk shorter distances, etc. We are thankful for the blessings we have--just a little shocked with the prices!

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  • 1 month later...

JOBY - I just read your post and don't know if you've taken your cruise yet or not. We're leaving 11/15 and the company that supplies our oxygen to our home (which our insurance pays for) furnishes us with whatever we need for our trips or cruises. Hope this little bit of info is helpful to you or someone else. It's worth looking into.

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Can you please explain on this more, We are taking my parents next August to Alaska and shortly after making all the reservations, my father got ill and now needs Oxygen. The company he goes with supplies him at home as well, but I need to find out about flights and cruises and what ins. if any, will be acceptable. I am just started doing some research and I would appreciate any helpful information.

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He can use his own oxygen to your own airport, but then must leave his supplies and equipment behind as he cannot take it on the plane. Only certain airlines allow in-flight oxygen (for example, Southwest does not), and you MUST purchase the oxygen supply from them. It is not cheap, and must be arranged well in advance.


There are certain companies that will then deliver oxygen to you at the final airport and ship. Going home you must reverse the process.


The only way you can take your own equipment is if you drive to the port, which is probably not possible for Alaska for you.


Read all the messages above for more details, or do a search using the word "oxygen" on this forum.

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ggourmet65--thanks for the reply. We have just returned from our Celebrity Century cruise. We had a marvelous time. Everything was beyond our expectations.


As it turns out the Pulmonary Dr. released Mom from her oxygen about 1 week before the cruise! Saved her about $900 +.


We did have it all set up to go--Delta charges $100/leg for inflight only and we had the ship oxygen set up with Randle Medical out of Miami. Randle Medical people were very good to work with and very flexible. I found them to be as or more reasonable cost wise than most providers. I would certainly use them when and if we needed oxygen on a ship again.

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