A COPD diagnosis doesn’t mean you have to give up on all the activities you enjoy, including travelling. With some time and consideration, and proper management of your condition, you can continue living a fulfilling and enriching life.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a serious respiratory illness that makes it difficult to breathe. While a different condition, it shares some similarities with asthma. It’s also possible for someone to have both conditions at the same time.

COPD causes abnormalities in the small airways of the lungs and narrows them, restricting airflow. Symptoms can include wheezing, coughing, breathlessness, and fatigue. These symptoms are generally always present to a certain degree but become worse during flare-ups.  Without proper management, it can be difficult to go about daily life when you have COPD.

COPD Causes

COPD is a common and often preventable lung disease. It tends to develop slowly over time and is the result of exposure to:

●     Cigarette smoke (active and passive)

●     Indoor air pollution from wood or coal stoves/fireplaces

●     Frequent respiratory infections

●     Occupational exposure to fumes, chemicals, dust, and other particles

Those diagnosed with asthma at a young age are also more likely to develop COPD compared to the rest of the population. Some rare genetic disorders can also contribute to the likelihood of getting COPD.

There is no cure for COPD, but with advances in medicine, it is much easier to manage than it used to be. In many cases, you should be able to continue with a relatively normal quality of life- which includes travel!

Flying with COPD

Every corner of the world is made accessible with the widespread availability of air travel. People with COPD may be worried about access to air travel because of their condition. The inside of a plane cabin may increase the symptoms of COPD.

Aeroplane cabins are pressurised so you can travel comfortably at high altitudes. Pressurisation reduces the amount of oxygen and while this is usually fine for people with healthy lungs, people with COPD may not be able to cope with lower oxygen levels. You may need to travel with your supply of oxygen to compensate for pressurisation.


If you don’t have a wheelchair of your own, airports and airlines usually have one they can loan you to help you get to your departure gates. Airports are big places and if you have COPD, you don’t want to lose time and energy trying to get from one end of the airport to the other or standing for long periods in crowded security queues. You’ll need to make arrangements for a wheelchair before you get to the airport.

Speak to your healthcare provider before travelling to discuss your options and any precautions you may need to take. They might be able to do a high-altitude simulation test to see if you will need oxygen. Your doctor will also advise of any other medications you should take with you, like Spiriva respimat 2.5 mcg.

Travelling with Oxygen

If you’re on oxygen therapy or your doctor determines you need oxygen on the plane, you’ll need to make arrangements with suppliers both at home and at your destinations for an adequate supply of portable oxygen. Your local supplier is a great resource for finding suppliers abroad.

Be sure to keep a note of names, phone numbers, and information about your oxygen and suppliers. You should also contact the airline and hotel to discuss your needs in case they need to make accommodations.

To keep your oxygen running while you’re travelling, charge the batteries for your oxygen and have extras if needed. Bring charging equipment if necessary.

Tips for When You’re on the Plane

The air in aeroplane cabins can be very dry and humid so you need to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and avoid coffee, tea, and alcohol. You should also wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitiser to reduce your risk of infection. If you feel comfortable enough, wear a mask.

Bring sanitising wipes with you as well so you can wipe down your tray table and armrests. Airlines don’t always have time to give planes as deep of a clean as they’d like.

Keep Documentation Handy

In addition to information about oxygen suppliers, keep a record of all your medical information and any documentation you might think you need. This includes a list of your medications, a letter from your healthcare provider, a fit-to-travel certificate, travel/health insurance, and emergency contact information. It’s useful to have a digital and physical hard copy of this information in case your electronics run out of battery.

Other Modes of Travel

Travelling by train, car, or coach can often be an easier way for people with COPD to get around. This is because you can usually get around without as much hassle and you might have more room to get around. If you're bringing oxygen or other equipment with you, this is a plus.

Like with air travel, make any necessary arrangements ahead of time with the travel operator so that everything goes as smoothly as possible.


Before you leave, make sure you have enough of your medications- especially your prescriptions. If you run out, you may not be able to get refills while you’re travelling. If you’re travelling with COPD, Pharmacy Planet can help. People with respiratory conditions like asthma and COPD can get their prescription medications filled and shipped safely and swiftly with Pharmacy Planet.

Final Thoughts

Don’t let COPD stop you from living your best life. With a little planning and some discussions with your doctor and pharmacist, you can travel near and far!

Before your trip, visit Pharmacy Planet to buy your Spiriva inhaler online in the UK or to buy Clenil inhalers online in the UK. You can also speak to us about an Asthma and COPD Travel Pack or buy Salbutamol and Ventolin online in the UK.