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EA CO AS
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DOT Proposal - Provide Medical O2 For Free

Thu Sep 15, 2005 1:47 am

There is a rule change being proposed by the DOT that would require all air carriers to, from or within the U.S. to provide supplemental inflight medical oxygen to customers at the air carrier's expense.

http://dms.dot.gov/search/searchForm...e.cfm?CFID=806608&CFTOKEN=54438349

Docket number is 22298 for those who are interested.

I for one am FIRMLY against this proposal. Conditions such as Emphysema, COPD and other afflictions that restrict a person's ability to breathe normally are NOT disabilities and are not covered under the ACAA (Air Carrier Access Act, the airline equivalent to the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA).

It's regrettable that the additional cost of supplemental O2 keeps some people from flying, but let's face it - travel by air is a SERVICE, not a right, and air carriers should not be required to absorb the additional cost of providing inflight medical oxygen. Much like the price of the ticket itself, if you can't afford it, you just don't go.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
HikesWithEyes
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RE: DOT Proposal - Provide Medical O2 For Free

Thu Sep 15, 2005 1:54 am

As if the airlines didn't have enough to worry about, especially
the cost of fuel.
This is crazy for the DOT to even consider.
Rather than adding costs to the industry, they should relieve
some of the taxes currently imposed on the carriers to give them
some breathing room (pun intended).
First, benzene in my Perrier, and now this!
 
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RE: DOT Proposal - Provide Medical O2 For Free

Thu Sep 15, 2005 1:59 am

What's crazier are some of the comments being written in support of the proposed rule changes - just about all of which come from people with an entitlement mentality, demanding that medical oxygen be made free of charge to them.

Whatever happened to personal responsibility?!? Why is it people are so willing to make their problems someone ELSE'S burden?  banghead 
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
zvezda
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RE: DOT Proposal - Provide Medical O2 For Free

Thu Sep 15, 2005 2:05 am

This is a private matter between the carrier and the passenger. It is none of the government's business.
 
dtwclipper
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RE: DOT Proposal - Provide Medical O2 For Free

Thu Sep 15, 2005 2:06 am

When I took my mother to LAX two years ago on NW I think we paid about 200 USD extra on top of the F/C tickets.

I really don't have a problem paying for this, and don't think the airlines should be forced to cover the cost of it. We chose to fly, and that's that!

Sorry, but what is next, patients who need IV fluids are to be supplied by the airlines?!!!
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FI642
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RE: DOT Proposal - Provide Medical O2 For Free

Thu Sep 15, 2005 2:13 am

..... not to mention it's considered Hazmat when it's time to send the used O2 bottle back.

Bad Bad Bad idea..... I can smell the abuse already. (not to mention the law suits from folks expiring in flight that never should be flying)

Big Brother watching out for us again...........
737MAX, Cool Planes for the Worlds Coolest Airline.
 
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RE: DOT Proposal - Provide Medical O2 For Free

Thu Sep 15, 2005 2:37 am

Quoting FI642 (Reply 5):
I can smell the abuse already. (not to mention the law suits from folks expiring in flight that never should be flying)

As a matter of fact, some carriers - my own included - no longer take the customer's word for how much O2 they use, since they have a vested interest in keeping their own costs low and tend to under oxygenate themselves, sometimes resulting in emergency medical diversions of the aircraft.

The result is that air carriers that provide supplemental medical O2 frequently rely on screening via companies like MedAire to speak directly with the patient's physician to go over their medical history and get their O2 saturation levels before agreeing to a certain flow rate for the customer.

It removes the customer's desire to save a buck from the equation, and ensures their safety and comfort when requesting supplemental O2 onboard.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
dtwclipper
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RE: DOT Proposal - Provide Medical O2 For Free

Thu Sep 15, 2005 2:47 am

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 6):
The result is that air carriers that provide supplemental medical O2 frequently rely on screening via companies like MedAire to speak directly with the patient's physician to go over their medical history and get their O2 saturation levels before agreeing to a certain flow rate for the customer.

I believe that is exactly what we had to do, as well as provide an Rx from her doctors to NW.
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Ken777
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RE: DOT Proposal - Provide Medical O2 For Free

Thu Sep 15, 2005 3:41 am

Actually the proposal also covers medical equipment that needs to be plugged into a power supply. For me that is an autopap (enhanced cpap) that I have used for years on QF with no problem at all. Now I can sleep without it, but you don't want to be on that plane - I have sleep apnea and without the autopap I'll snore loud enough to crack the windows. People around me would have no chance of sleeping.

While QF is the only airline I know of that actually allows the autopap to be plugged into a wall outlet BA allows use with a power inverter (the teleadapt is approved & sold by them) plugged into a seat power point.

AA does not allow any medical equipment to be plugged into their electrical systems. While they cite possible interference with navigational and communication systems I believe it is simply their lawyers who are keeping the ban in place, based on QF and BA policies. All that means to me is that I fly BA over the Atlantic in Business instead of AA, where I have almost 3 million FF miles.

In terms of medical equipment I see no reason not to allow approved equipment to be used in flight. QF has a very simple process of getting approval and simple policies to ensure there is no problem flying. It's as simple as taking care of those that use a wheelchair and easier to implement.

In terms of oxygen, I believe that the airlines shot themselves in the foot by charging $100 per segment. That's a rather profitable business, but was politically foolish and now they are faced with the reaction.
 
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RE: DOT Proposal - Provide Medical O2 For Free

Thu Sep 15, 2005 3:48 am

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 8):
In terms of oxygen, I believe that the airlines shot themselves in the foot by charging $100 per segment. That's a rather profitable business, but was politically foolish and now they are faced with the reaction.

FWIW, my company charges $75.00USD per BOTTLE per segment - and the reason is because that is actually in line with our cost from the distributor! We also pay a fee to MedAire to assess the patient - a cost that we absorb entirely.

I'm sorry, but onboard medical O2 is actually a very costly proposition to the airlines, even with the fees they currently charge. No one is taking money home in wheelbarrows from it.

The only thing this proposed rule change will do is cause airlines to lose even MORE money - and ultimately pass the costs along to everyone else in the form of much higher ticket prices.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
DeltaMIA
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RE: DOT Proposal - Provide Medical O2 For Free

Thu Sep 15, 2005 3:49 am

I agree that in no way should the expense be absorbed by the airline. Most insurance companies cover the costs of a passenger requiring oxygen use in flight for the passenger anyhow. If the DOT passes this then airlines just will refuse to transport oxygen period, such as many smaller LCC's do anyway.
It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now.
 
Ken777
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RE: DOT Proposal - Provide Medical O2 For Free

Thu Sep 15, 2005 4:17 am

EA CO AS,

I think that the central issues the airlines failed to address is the use of medical equipment during flights. The ability to use approved O2 concentrators would have solved a lot of problems in the area of oxygen. For these pax a Rx from the doctor should be sufficient and it would remove the costs associated with MedAire.

With the baby boomers growing older you are also going to see a lot of sleep apnea patients flying long haul and US airlines should be able to handle this situation as easily as QF or BA does.

For longer, more expensive, flights I'll stick with airlines that are able to effectively address medical equipment needs. For me it is the same as providing power points for laptop computers.
 
searpqx
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RE: DOT Proposal - Provide Medical O2 For Free

Thu Sep 15, 2005 4:22 am

Quoting DeltaMIA (Reply 10):
If the DOT passes this then airlines just will refuse to transport oxygen period, such as many smaller LCC's do anyway.

I couldn't bring myself to read the entire docket, but based on my skimming it looks like refusing to carry oxygen isn't an option under the new rule. So not only will airlines have to absorb the cost, airlines that have never offered it before will now need to.

Yet another example of the growing nanny state we find ourselves in.
"The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity"
 
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RE: DOT Proposal - Provide Medical O2 For Free

Thu Sep 15, 2005 4:28 am

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 11):
With the baby boomers growing older you are also going to see a lot of sleep apnea patients flying long haul and US airlines should be able to handle this situation as easily as QF or BA does.

The problem is that airlines should not be REQUIRED to accomodate these customers, though.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
Ken777
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RE: DOT Proposal - Provide Medical O2 For Free

Thu Sep 15, 2005 5:35 am

I tend to agree with you to some degree - especially when I can choose international carriers that know how to address the issue I face. I'm quite happy with the BA business seat over the Atlantic so in that case I could care less if the US carriers are in the dark.

I believe, however, that it was the failure of the airlines to address the issue in a cost effective manner that has resulted in the DOT proposal. Many of the issues, such as pap use, should not be a big deal if the lawyers had kept out of it. (My autopap is like a laptop with a larger fan - it is really that simple.) the failure to take a proactive approach has left the airlines in a reactive position.

At this time the airlines should be looking at getting approval for the aaproved medical devices with a Dr's Rx AND release of liability. Ensuring that the pax has a power outlet that works would be the only task related to taking care of the pax at the airport - and that can be easier than several wheelchair patients.

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