Exemptions to Mask Wearing on Flights

45 replies

holden

Member since 06 Dec 2014

Total posts 18

I was wondering what the medical exemptions to wearing a mask on a flight were. I suffer from severe sleep apnea and anything that begins to restrict my breathing can be a problem. A mask is likely to cause this to happen and while it won't incapacitate me, trying to breathe through a mask will be a traumatic experience. I discovered this issue when I went in for an eye check and the optometrist asked me to wear a mask (for obvious reasons) and I happily complied. It wasn't a great experience and he eventually said I should lower the mask to only cover my mouth.

Can anyone direct me to a website that will list the conditions that are considered exempt. Twenty minutes with an optometrist is nothing like a six hour trip to Perth.

GoRobin

Member since 07 May 2020

Total posts 70

Just ask your GP for a brief letter stating your condition as "not recommended to be forced to wear a mask for any extended period". This will satisfy the definition of a reason for exemption under the Health Orders being made by each state. It is a chaotic legal statute anyway and such a letter from your doctor will give you a good defence from prosecution in case any idiotic beurocrat wants to give you a fine.

tommygun

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

Member since 16 Oct 2017

Total posts 176

It's more than having a defense against prosecution. Airlines will not let you fly without a mask, unless exempt. VA is clear that if you have trouble breathing with a mask you can be exempt. They suggest you complete and email a Medical Clearance form, signed by your doctor, at least 72 hours prior to travel. This makes good sense, crew will know in advance and no discussion needed. See VA website. Qantas probably has a similar process.

GBRGB

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 21 Jan 2014

Total posts 267

Just wear it until the plane takes off and then remove it down around your neck, like half the people on the plane do anyway, the flight attendants don’t say anything, I was on a flight last week, half the pax didn’t have their masks over their face.

Steladon

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 13 Jun 2018

Total posts 5

Holden - I don’t think you will find a website that’s list the conditions. As someone who has a similar condition to yours I suspect your GP will be aware of your condition and can write you a letter.

I sympathise with you as sleep apnoea or other breathing conditions are not visible to others.

You might consider getting a badge that says you are exempt but that is more for the benefit of curious other passengers. A good example can be found here: https://www.ideas.org.au/blogs/mask-exemptions.html

I have found VA to be great. I was nervous first time with the GP letter but once they are aware it is a genuine condition you won’t have a problem. Haven’t tried Qantas to see what they are like but I would expect they are similar.

Your GP is likely to give you a good interrogation though before signing off on it. I don’t think someone would succeed in getting the exemption unless there is an existing underlying condition based on my experience.

Hopefully the mask mandate won’t last too longer and we can slip back into obscurity.

rckjiang

Member since 16 Jun 2017

Total posts 40

I’m sorry, but do you plan on sleeping on that flight without your CPAP on? Because that’s the only way that’s going to affect your breathing whilst in-flight, mask or no-mask....

tommygun

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

Member since 16 Oct 2017

Total posts 176

Originally Posted by tripleplatinum2

How does having sleep apnoea prevent you from breathing with a mask on when awake?

I believe the OP has already said they had difficulty breathing during the day while masked at the optometrist.

Jono777

Member since 10 Jul 2020

Total posts 9

I work for VA and you don't need any proof of being exempt. Just let the staff know at check in that you're medically exempt (don't even need to give a reason) and they'll record it on your file. There's a number of reasons that count as exemptions, even feeling claustrophobic with a mask on. Even if someone isn't exempt, staff have no right to deny boarding or remove a passenger from the aircraft, again this gets noted on the pax file and authorities "may" be notified (unlikely).

Hope this clears this up.

TheFreqFlyer

Member since 05 Oct 2017

Total posts 58

Originally Posted by Steladon

Holden - I don’t think you will find a website that’s list the conditions. As someone who has a similar condition to yours I suspect your GP will be aware of your condition and can write you a letter.

I sympathise with you as sleep apnoea or other breathing conditions are not visible to others.

You might consider getting a badge that says you are exempt but that is more for the benefit of curious other passengers. A good example can be found here: https://www.ideas.org.au/blogs/mask-exemptions.html

I have found VA to be great. I was nervous first time with the GP letter but once they are aware it is a genuine condition you won’t have a problem. Haven’t tried Qantas to see what they are like but I would expect they are similar.

Your GP is likely to give you a good interrogation though before signing off on it. I don’t think someone would succeed in getting the exemption unless there is an existing underlying condition based on my experience.

Hopefully the mask mandate won’t last too longer and we can slip back into obscurity.

The mask mandate on board aircraft will likely last as long as it does internationally. Last May or thereabouts, European airlines were saying it would last until the end of August, but that has since been extended indefinitely.

I think it's safe to say the mask mandate on board aircraft (and airports) will last until at least a semblance of normality returns vis a vis international travel, so probably at least until October, and possibly even early 2022.

Anyway, good to know your medical exemption was accepted.

Ted Douglas

Member since 23 Jul 2020

Total posts 19

Originally Posted by GBRGB

Just wear it until the plane takes off and then remove it down around your neck, like half the people on the plane do anyway, the flight attendants don’t say anything, I was on a flight last week, half the pax didn’t have their masks over their face.

What an irresponsible and dangerous comment 😡😡

Ted Douglas

Member since 23 Jul 2020

Total posts 19

What an irresponsible and dangerous post.

I hope this person realised the death stares he will get.

It may be inconvenient for him, but imagine if we were all this lazy


Last editedby Ted Douglas at Apr 02, 2021, 06:28 PM.

s4172249

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 18 Feb 2018

Total posts 37

One day back on this website and the whinging, self-entitlement and selfishness of its members has already annoyed me. I am a doctor (dual specialty in infectious diseases and acute care general medicine) and there is no way sleep apnoea or any respiratory condition should classify as a medical exemption from wearing a mask. Sleep apnoea shouldn’t even cause any issues when you’re awake, unless you have co-existing obesity hypoventilation syndrome with daytime hypoxia, and even then wearing a mask doesn’t affect your oxygen levels. If you have a respiratory condition you’d think you’d want to wear a mask all the more, as a respiratory infection (covid or not) would make you a lot more sick than the average person. My good friend from uni is a specialist respiratory physician and hasn’t ever granted a medical exemption from wearing a mask. With the rate you lot seem to think a mask is harmful, half the world’s surgeons and theatre nurses would’ve died years ago.

rckjiang

Member since 16 Jun 2017

Total posts 40

Originally Posted by s4172249

One day back on this website and the whinging, self-entitlement and selfishness of its members has already annoyed me. I am a doctor (dual specialty in infectious diseases and acute care general medicine) and there is no way sleep apnoea or any respiratory condition should classify as a medical exemption from wearing a mask. Sleep apnoea shouldn’t even cause any issues when you’re awake, unless you have co-existing obesity hypoventilation syndrome with daytime hypoxia, and even then wearing a mask doesn’t affect your oxygen levels. If you have a respiratory condition you’d think you’d want to wear a mask all the more, as a respiratory infection (covid or not) would make you a lot more sick than the average person. My good friend from uni is a specialist respiratory physician and hasn’t ever granted a medical exemption from wearing a mask. With the rate you lot seem to think a mask is harmful, half the world’s surgeons and theatre nurses would’ve died years ago.

I wear a mask for a living. I must have so few brain cells left because I don’t understand why people would think that they should be exempt from mask-wearing.

davidthomson_98

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 06 Oct 2016

Total posts 4

Most people experience slight anxiety when using a mask for the first time. Nothing to do with sleep aponea or asthma or any other condition. You will get used to it. Use if to avoid infecting the rest of us please! With that said, IF it really were a health issue, I am sure your GP would write you a letter, though judging by all the medical excuses I have to read ("in my opinion is suffering from a medical condition!" sigh) from the few staff who are determined to burn sick leave as it accrues, I have my doubts as to some GPs not being a pushover when asked from exemptions or excuses....

davidthomson_98

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 06 Oct 2016

Total posts 4

Most people experience slight anxiety when using a mask for the first time. Nothing to do with sleep aponea or asthma or any other condition. You will get used to it. Use if to avoid infecting the rest of us please! With that said, IF it really were a health issue, I am sure your GP would write you a letter, though judging by all the medical excuses I have to read ("in my opinion is suffering from a medical condition" sigh) from the few staff who are determined to burn sick leave as it accrues, I have my doubts as to some GPs not being a pushover when asked from exemptions or excuses....

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