If I remember correctly, commercial airplanes are designed to release oxygen masks if the oxygen level drops too low, or if the cabin is too depressurised while in high altitude, and the chemical reaction within the mask should produce oxygen for the next 5 minutes.

Since masks can only be worn on the face, I tried searching if there was any special procedure for when you have a tracheotomy and a life support device/breathing apparatus (oxygen intakes don't come from the nose when you have a tracheotomy). And so far, I wasn't able to find anything.

Do airplanes have special procedures for that kind of situation?

  • 5
    The first thing to do would probably be to ask your doctor if you are actually fit to fly in that condition, and what extra equipment you would need if you are.
    – jcaron
    Dec 5, 2023 at 12:38
  • @jcaron I personally don't have a tracheotomy but I know someone who does. She had taken the plane 4 times which went as usual. But I'm quite curious as to whether or not there is an emergency procedure if it does go wrong.
    – Clockwork
    Dec 5, 2023 at 12:40
  • 1
    Presumably the source of oxygen is not in the mask; otherwise they would not tell you to pull the mask sharply to start the flow of oxygen through the tube to which the mask is attached.
    – phoog
    Dec 5, 2023 at 12:50
  • 3
    @Clockwork In addition to getting doctor's approval, notifying the airline would probably be a good idea, there are sometimes additional oxygen ports at some seats, or additional oxygen tanks can be provided. See for instance Air France: wwws.airfrance.fr/en/information/passagers/… and wwws.airfrance.fr/en/information/passagers/… or Delta delta.com/us/en/accessible-travel-services/…
    – jcaron
    Dec 5, 2023 at 13:24
  • 1
    @phoog I actually meant the oxygen mask system as a whole (including the generator) when I wrote "the mask should produce": en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_oxygen_system#/media/…
    – Clockwork
    Dec 5, 2023 at 13:42


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