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New Air Canada Medipak oxygen policy and fees

New Air Canada Medipak oxygen policy and fees

Old Apr 29, 13, 10:16 pm
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New Air Canada Medipak oxygen policy and fees

http://www.aircanada.com/en/news/130429.html

Effective June 11, 2013, Air Canada is revising its Medipak oxygen policy and fee structure for international flights and flights between Canada and the U.S.

For details on the new policy and fees, we invite you to contact the Air Canada Medical Assistance Desk:

1-800-667-4732 (Toll-free between Canada and the U.S.)
1-514-369-7039 (long distance charges apply)
Monday to Friday: 8am to 8pm (ET)
Saturday and Sunday: 9am to 6pm (ET)

Remember that, if you require the use of medical oxygen while travelling on an Air Canada flight, you can:
•bring your own approved Personal Oxygen Concentrator on board, or
•purchase Air Canada’s oxygen Medipak service.

Please also remember that, regardless of the option you choose, you will need to provide advance notice and obtain medical approval for travel.
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Old Apr 29, 13, 10:33 pm
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But people of size get an extra seat for free?

I know that oxygen carries a cost and all but this seems a little odd to me given that it doesn't seem to be used that much (at least on the flights I've been on). I wonder how much the cost will be?
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Old Apr 29, 13, 11:47 pm
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We're telling you there are changes but we want to make it difficult for you to find out 'cause we're too embarassed/ashamed/afraid to tell you directly.
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Old Apr 29, 13, 11:49 pm
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Originally Posted by RCyyz
But people of size get an extra seat for free?

I know that oxygen carries a cost and all but this seems a little odd to me given that it doesn't seem to be used that much (at least on the flights I've been on). I wonder how much the cost will be?
I wonder why they just don't include that info in the PR. What are they hiding?
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Old Apr 30, 13, 7:13 am
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Originally Posted by KenHamer View Post
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I wonder why they just don't include that info in the PR. What are they hiding?
Not exactly a case of full disclosure.
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Old Apr 30, 13, 9:32 am
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Originally Posted by airbus320 View Post
Not exactly a case of full disclosure.
Got some free time so I'm on the phone with AC now.

$150 flat fee (currently) moving to cost based on approved litres per min * flight duration. Approved rates are 2L/min or 3L/min. So the more you breathe, the more you pay.

Sample costs @ 2L/min:

0h - 2h flight time $220
2h - 4h $390
4h - 6h $390
6h - 8h $390
8h - 10h $560
10h - 13h $560

@3L/min:

up to 6h same price as 2L/min

6h - 8h $560
8h - 10h $730
10h - 13h $900

All these prices are of course, one-way.

Basically the message here is bring your own oxygen. If you bring your own oxygen, you must store it under the seat in front of you. Some models are not approved for use in pods due to limited storage space.


I still find this to be a little mean-spirited. I acknowledge that oxygen costs $$$, but it doesn't cost that much. A tank (empty) costs about $100 and that will last about 60h @ 1L/min. To fill the tank, I'm not sure how much it costs but I found indications that it's in the $100 range. So the prices AC is charging seem to be on par with fuel surcharge - i.e. Exorbitant. The $150 flat fee seems reasonable enough but the new pricing scheme is designed to pretty much make it so that the only viable option pax have is to bring their own O2 supply.

Oxygen concentrators are alternative devices to tanks. They basically take normal air and concentrate the oxygen on a continuous basis. These devices are quite expensive though - the ones I've seen are in the $4000 range.
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Old Apr 30, 13, 9:54 am
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This is unfortunate and its really poor AC did not publish the full information. The medical desk is often / usually very hard to get through to with typical waits of 20+ minites. About 3 to 4 years ago it was much easier.

The clear message is to bring your own O2 and you shoud be able to rent a portable concentrator through your O2 provider quite reasonably and OHIP and work insurance will cover some / all the cost. We always preferred to rent O2 from AC however as this seemed more reliable or at least less worrying in case of flight delays. With the portable concentrator depending on trip length you have to bring quite a few batteries and delays can be a problem. AC always used to provide an extra cylinder for this reason -- maybe not any more. We used to get approval for 4l/min, but if the note above is accurate that may not be allowed anymore.

Our family used to use the O2 service a lot as we went on 2 to 3 trips a year with a daughter who had to use O2. Whe i met the AC Prtesident at one of the SE cocktails they had i emphasized how grareful we were for the medical desk and the hope it would be maintained -- which it has. But the new O2 rates are really prohibitive.
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Old Apr 30, 13, 9:56 am
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Originally Posted by RCyyz View Post
The $150 flat fee seems reasonable enough but the new pricing scheme is designed to pretty much make it so that the only viable option pax have is to bring their own O2 supply.
You make it sound as if an airline doesn't even want to be in the medical equipment business at all!

AC does a lot of annoying things. This isn't really one of them. Buy your medical equipment from a company that specializes in it. Not an airline.
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Old Apr 30, 13, 6:44 pm
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
AC does a lot of annoying things. This isn't really one of them. Buy your medical equipment from a company that specializes in it. Not an airline.
As I said, I acknowledge that O2 costs $$$ so it's reasonable there's a fee for it.

The trouble is that the fee is at least doubling from $150 to $390+ (since there aren't really that many flights less than 2h). So it's a pretty hefty hike.

The other issue is that oxygen concentrators are battery powered. If you fly say, YYZ-HKG or YVR-SYD, that's a lot of batteries you'll need. (I'm not sure if the in-seat power is enough to power an O2 concentrator.) Even a simple hop across the pond to Europe could end up being a battery issue.

People of size get an extra seat for free but people who need O2 are SOL. There's something about that that just doesn't sit right with me.
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Old Apr 30, 13, 7:19 pm
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Can you use AE miles to buy it?
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Old Apr 30, 13, 10:17 pm
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Originally Posted by RCyyz View Post
As I said, I acknowledge that O2 costs $$$ so it's reasonable there's a fee for it.

The trouble is that the fee is at least doubling from $150 to $390+ (since there aren't really that many flights less than 2h). So it's a pretty hefty hike.

The other issue is that oxygen concentrators are battery powered. If you fly say, YYZ-HKG or YVR-SYD, that's a lot of batteries you'll need. (I'm not sure if the in-seat power is enough to power an O2 concentrator.) Even a simple hop across the pond to Europe could end up being a battery issue.

People of size get an extra seat for free but people who need O2 are SOL. There's something about that that just doesn't sit right with me.
AC's primary business is selling seats.

It is not selling medical equipment. Quite frankly, I'm surprised this is offered at all. From the increase, it seems like they want to get out of the business altogether, but can't just stop for some reason.
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Old May 1, 13, 12:53 am
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Originally Posted by RCyyz View Post
People of size get an extra seat for free but people who need O2 are SOL. There's something about that that just doesn't sit right with me.
This policy (for people of size) was imposed on Canadian airlines by the Supreme Court, with the caveat they need a doctor's certificate and you need to go through the medical desk.
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