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Old 04-10-2021, 09:26 AM   #1  
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Default SYD Layover with CPAP - It ain't no worries!

I had a SYD layover last week - the 4th since the AU quarantine protocols have been in place. Being incarcerated for 24 or 48 hours sucks, but a new "program" has taken it to a new low for me. I wear a CPAP for sleep apnea; it's use is mandatory as a condition of issuance for my FAA medical certificate.

Thanks to zero heads-up from my company, I was blindsided during initial health screening at SYD. I was asked if I used a CPAP and said yes; I was immediately segregated from the rest of my crew. I was offered two options: 1) surrender my CPAP until departure and do a standard quarantine layover with my crew, or 2) be admitted to a hospital for "rest" if I insisted on using my CPAP. At this point, the cat is out of the bag and I cannot back-peddle, since publicly disavowing my CPAP could have bad consequences for my FAA medical. Mainly, I am dumbfounded and saying "wtf?" to myself, but I am polite and respectful to the people that are handling me (the main guy was an MD, moonlighting for COVID screening duties with the New South Wales Government - I interacted with no less than a dozen task-dedicated personnel before I left the terminal).

Given the shock that set in for being treated like a Leper, I'm not sure I was thinking rationally, but I felt the right call was to cling to my CPAP and deal with the BS that followed. So, when I stood my ground, I learned there was an option aside from hospitalization. I was taken in a medical transport vehicle (ambulance minus lights and siren with gurneys, defibrillator, O2, etc). I was allowed to sit in the patient attendant seat behind the driver. The destination was an apartment complex referred to as a "special health accommodation." At this point I realized I was classified as a patient and not a guest, and things were getting really weird. When I asked if there were COVID positive folks in the facility, there was not straight answer, only "you're floor is dedicated to CPAP users and there are no COVID positive cases on that floor."

My accommodations looked like a modern one bedroom apartment that had been modified to turn the bedroom into what seemed to be an ICU; glass panel walls, sliding glass door. The bedroom was actually a hermetically sealed chamber with a powerful HVAC system. I was allowed to roam the apartment, but I was not allowed to exit the apartment. If using the CPAP, I was required to seal the bedroom and never turn the A/C off. The kitchen was stocked with some packaged food and I was on my own to prepare meals. The food was not good, and outside delivery meals were prohibited. The kitchen also had a ginormous range fan, which was required to run for 5 minutes before opening the hallway door in order to create a negative pressure in the apartment. Windows and patio access were locked off. There were no entry door security locks on the inside. It was never established whether or not medical personnel could or would entry the apartment without notice.

I know this story is getting long-winded, and I could go on. But I'll try to wrap it up with this: I had a nurse assigned to me and she checked in periodically, usually by phone. I also had to communicate with the administration staff of the hospital that runs the facility. During my approx. 22 hours of incarceration, I had to field about 20 calls or knocks on the door. My rest was negatively impacted. For my entire stay, it was emphasized that I was not free to depart until formally discharged. It was never clear if I would be free to go at pickup time, and my transportation to the terminal was uncertain. It wasn't until 40 minutes after target pickup up time that an escort came to my room and released me to a waiting crew van. The uncertainty of my departure created stress and anxiety ... maybe that's just me, but I'm a planner by nature. Although I slept fairly well at night, I felt wiped out leaving the facility, since the process was mentally taxing the entire time.

The Aussies' perception of a CPAP as a COVID spreading threat is for another conversation, but it seems preposterous to me. Their reaction is a bit overblown. This was a miserable experience that I do not want to repeat.

Getting back to the U.S., I was told that I was the "Guinea Pig," at my airline - the first to experience AU with a CPAP. The extent of comfort I received was "sorry you had to experience that."

I have heard that Kalitta crews have arrived in SYD better informed than I was, and may even have a drop/pay protected option. Is that so? SYD is more or less the only current destination on my jet, so of course I am going to petition for some sort of relief. I know CPAP users are a small percentage of the pilot population, but I'm learning there are more than I had imagined. I'd appreciate hearing how Connie has handled it. Thanks!
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Old 04-10-2021, 08:43 PM   #2  
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Maybe email somebody where you work instead of posting this here? I don't know, just a thought
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Old 04-11-2021, 12:54 AM   #3  
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Maybe email somebody where you work instead of posting this here? I don't know, just a thought
No, Definitely Post It Here. Thank You Zippinbye for the clarification as many of us have a CPAP. You have solidified what I had heard from several of my fellow flyers at my company about 3 weeks ago. Information like this is crucial and while the SYD runs were normally senior folks before the pandemic, it mostly has gone to the junior folks due to the crackdown at the hotels. Us older folks need this information. Once again Thank You for posting and please ignore those who obviously have yet to experience such requirements as of yet and I hope they never do. I fully understand the situation.

Total Diamond Mine of information, just like those who have had experiences in China from the onset of the spread.
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Old 04-11-2021, 04:09 AM   #4  
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You posted the exact same thing in the United subforum.

https://www.airlinepilotforums.com/u...nsat-cpap.html

So which one is it? Kalitta or United?
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Old 04-11-2021, 04:50 AM   #5  
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If you read carefully he said he heard Kalitta crews had better information. So, no he doesn't work for Kalitta and probably not UA either. I believe he was just trying to query or inform crews from other airlines that serve Australia.

He is correct about Kalitta. At least 3 weeks ago and possibly up to a month we had information provided to us about CPAP's and the SYD overnight. The CPO asked those using CPAP's to contact them. What then happens I don't know as it is confidential between those pilots and managment and I don't use one of those machines. I haven't heard any horror stories though so I guess accommodations have been made.
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Old 04-11-2021, 07:10 AM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiredSoul View Post
You posted the exact same thing in the United subforum.

https://www.airlinepilotforums.com/u...nsat-cpap.html

So which one is it? Kalitta or United?
A simple search of Zippin's posts suggests he works for Delta.
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Old 04-11-2021, 06:08 PM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiredSoul View Post
You posted the exact same thing in the United subforum.

https://www.airlinepilotforums.com/u...nsat-cpap.html

So which one is it? Kalitta or United?
China Southern
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Old 04-11-2021, 08:55 PM   #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiredSoul View Post
You posted the exact same thing in the United subforum.

https://www.airlinepilotforums.com/u...nsat-cpap.html

So which one is it? Kalitta or United?
He doesn’t work for either one.. he was simply posting it on pages of companies who might go to SYD as an advisory to not get screwed like he did by his company.
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Old 04-12-2021, 08:03 AM   #9  
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Thanks for the intel, what a nightmare.
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Old 04-12-2021, 09:33 AM   #10  
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Quote:
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Maybe email somebody where you work instead of posting this here? I don't know, just a thought
Not sure I see any harm in posting here. Just trying to substantiate a rumour regarding how other carriers are dealing with the situation. Of course my first response was what you suggest; emails to company in the U.S., union reps, calls to SYD station folks, my chief pilot, etc. Since I seem to be the one guy in ranks of 12,000 or so that goes to SYD with this medical device, I am seeking change and relief for me. Selfish you say? Sure, call it what you can't, but the ****** ain't right. Knowing what steps are being taken elsewhere might bolster my case for a solution. We were one call away from a cancelled flight, as it was pure luck that I felt fit for duty after a less than optimum rest period.

Thanks for the suggestion.
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