PAL gives free inflight oxygen service to Fil-Am elderly with COPD

Goodwill gesture: PAL gives free oxygen service to Fil-Am elderly

By: - Reporter / @luisacabatoINQ
/ 01:54 PM January 27, 2024

PAL provides free inflight oxygen to Fil-Am elderly with COPD

Philippine Airlines (PAL) planes. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Airlines (PAL) has committed to providing inflight oxygen service to an elderly Filipino-American woman who was initially prevented from flying to San Francisco due to a medical condition.

In a statement, PAL recognized the desire of 86-year-old Jovita Domingo to return to her family in Florida but stood firm on its decision to strictly enforce a policy that would ensure her safety and comfort during travel.


Domingo is said to be suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD.


“As a gesture of goodwill, Philippine Airlines committed to [providing] the inflight oxygen service free of charge, given the unique and specific circumstances in Ms. Domingo’s case. This includes covering the associated fees and the cost of an additional seat required for the oxygen device,” it said.

However, PAL was quick to explain that “[t]his decision is made in the spirit of goodwill and support for her situation and does not represent a change in our policy regarding the necessity of inflight oxygen for our passenger’s safety.”

Domingo went to the Philippines in September 2023 to visit her relatives. She booked a December 5 flight to San Francisco but was eventually denied boarding permissions by the airline as she did not bring with her a portable oxygen tank and despite showing a doctor’s note saying she was “fit to travel by air” and that there was “no need for [her to have an] oxygen support.”

READ: PAL stops elderly Fil-Am with COPD from flying sans oxygen tank

PAL said the decision to not allow Domingo to fly “stems from a comprehensive review conducted by our aviation medical team.”

“While we acknowledge and respect the assessments provided by her personal physicians, our medical experts – who specialize in aviation medicine – take into consideration various factors unique to air travel, including concerns over variations in cabin air pressure and oxygen levels that occur once an aircraft is airborne. These may further complicate Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), particularly if a patient has other co-morbidities as confirmed by Ms. Domingo’s submitted medical certificates and laboratory results.”


According to the airline company, a portable oxygen device would help Domingo withstand difficulties of a long-distance flight from Manila to San Francisco and provide vital support in the event of a sudden emergency while in transit.

“Our medical team only had Ms. Domingo’s health and wellbeing in mind when they concluded that she could travel safely on a flight if she has the proper medical equipment – in the form of oxygen support – on board,” it noted. “In the interests of safety and Ms. Domingo’s welfare, we cannot waive the oxygen requirement as determined by our medical experts.”

READ: Revenge travel lifts PAL Holdings’ 9-month income to P15.2B

PAL said Domingo will be accommodated on its PR104 flight from Manila to San Francisco with the necessary medical support at no additional cost to her or her family.

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“This offer is contingent on compliance with other medical requirements on which we are coordinating. We will work directly with Ms. Domingo’s family to firm up the date for her return,” it added.


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