Hi Godot and BIENVENUE to the forum.
I am an English lady living in France, and like you, travel by air using not only legacy carriers but LCCs like Easy and Ryan.
I am not a heavy apnoea sufferer - for instance I would never think of using my machine on a plane,
I think most of us who use our CPAPs in flight are flying long haul or medium haul overnight.
I travel regularly on Ryanair and Easyjet and have never been asked to account for why I have two pieces of hand-luggage; perhaps the staff recognise my case, but I suspect they have just missed the two pieces.
Easyjet recognises that CPAPs are medical equipment and allow a second carry on for it. BUT you should contact the airline to advise them beforehand. As regards Ryanair, you've just been lucky ... up till now. Don't count on this for the future ...
Ryanair seem to be getting a lot stricter, for instance weighing hand-luggage just prior to boarding, and I wonder if they might start to insist on passengers complying with their CPAP machine requirements which, in my opinion, are onerous.
Ryanair have always been contentious about baggage issues ... partly to recoup costs from their 'cheap' tickets . They have no policy about CPAP machines. As far as they are concerned, it is ONE PIECE OF HAND BAGGAGE ONLY ... this is from their website.
Your handbag, briefcase, laptops, shop purchases, camera etc must be carried within your permitted 1 piece of cabin baggage. It should weigh no more than 10kg and not exceed the maximum dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm
I repeat. They have no ruling about CPAPs ... I don't think 'they' know what it is, why one needs it and frankly I don't believe that it would interest them at all unless they could make money from it.
I live in France but they want me to contact their centre to tell them about my machine. They want a letter from my French doctor, in English, to say that I am "fit to travel". Have any of you travelled with them and complied with these instructions?
I think you have worried them ... and they're looking for a way to extract money from you!! I too live in France, but all I carry is a doctor's letter from my généraliste in French to say that I need this machine for medical treatment and that it must be in my personal possession at all times when travelling and a letter from the company who provide the machine to say that it belongs to them, is on loan to me through a service of the French Government's health system, and is their property so cannot be confiscated. This letter also contains the model, make and serial number of my machine as proof that it's the one I've got in my possession. Both letters are on headed notepaper, but the one from my doc is in handwriting and in French. I carry both an original letter in French from my CPAP provider and a copy in English that I provided them with (based on their original) which they kindly typed up for me.
If you require an example of this letter, please contact me by pm.
I am minded to carry on as before, but some of the staff can be very bloody-minded.
Very succinctly put, and absolutely 100% correct!! However those who work at Karlsruhe-Baden are charming and completely in the loop. Very nice folk ... but then they're regular airport staffers and only under contract to Ryanair for their flights ...
Now, as you seem to have alerted them to the fact that something is 'different', you may have something against your name in their computer so that when you come to check in/pass their gate security, something may get flagged up on their computer ...
so ASK YOUR DOC for a letter to say that you require CPAP when sleeping, but that you are fit to fly. Also add that your machine for medical treatment and that it should accompany you as hand baggage when travelling. I'm sure your doc will do this when you see him/her for something else ... and that your généraliste's letter will do, you don't need something from your lung doc or sleep centre. It's only to cover the airline's back against insurance claims ....
Next time you travel on any short haul flight, don't bother mentioning it to the airline unless you think you'll need to use it in flight, in which case buy a battery and don't rely on an aircraft power point ... at least not in economy class.
Please note that you will NEVER get permission from Ryanair to carry a second bag. And if you have two, you risk one being taken away from you at the boarding gate and paying £30 for the privilege of it travelling in the hold. They could send you back to the ticket desk landside which would guarantee you missing your flight, and having to pay for another ticket as well as inconveniencing you with a time delay. Don't even risk it. It will do your blood pressure no good at all.
Should you wish to chat about CPAP use in France, don't hesitate to pm me. It's always good to know that one is not alone!!