Travel with oxygen

Can i take oxygen on a plane? Can i fly with oxygen?

Can i take oxygen on a plane?

Air carriers conducting passenger service must permit someone with a disability to use an FAA-approved portable oxygen concentrator (POC) on all flights (on aircraft originally designed to have a maximum passenger capacity of more than 19 seats).

The device must meet applicable FAA requirements for medical portable electronic devices (M-PED) and display a manufacturer’s label that indicates the device meets those FAA requirements.

Is my Portable Oxygen Concentrator approved for flying?

Rules about liquid and compressed oxygen in airplane

Liquid oxygen is prohibited for use on commercial airlines; the only aircraft permitted to carry or utilize liquid oxygen are helicopters serving as air ambulances

Improper transport of either liquid or compressed oxygen can present significant safety risks resulting in operators being liable for large civil penalties

Passengers may not carry their own oxygen (compressed oxygen or liquid oxygen) in checked baggage, in carry-on baggage or on their person. Products such as “canned oxygen,” “recreational oxygen” and “flavored oxygen” are also prohibited.

Compressed oxygen used in the aircraft cabin must be provided by the airline in accordance with 14 CFR 121.574 or 14 CFR 135.91.

Contact your airline for instructions on arranging oxygen service.

Airlines are not required to provide oxygen service and many do not.

Passengers may carry portable oxygen concentrators (POCs). See separate entry in this table.

Though allowed in checked and carry-on baggage by international (ICAO/IATA) regulations, oxygen cylinders are not allowed in baggage in the U.S. Personal compressed oxygen is prohibited and must be supplied by the air carrier.

Note: The following information is offered for informational purposes; check your airline’s policy.

Airlines are allowed to carry a passenger’s oxygen cylinder in the aircraft cabin in accordance with 49 CFR 175.501(e) but the passenger cannot use it. However, because a special overpack, written pilot notification, and additional hazmat training and manual documentation are required, most (if not all) U.S. airlines do not offer this service. Check with your airline before planning on carrying your own oxygen cylinder to your destination

There are guidelines about which portable oxygen containers are permitted onto flights.

Obtain a letter from your physician, stating that you require a supplemental oxygen prescription, and ask for an additional copy to keep with your records.

Contact the airline to inform them that you’ll be needing supplemental oxygen during the flight. That way they can check to see if your model of supplemental oxygen container is approved by the airline and FAA.

Each airline has different rules so get familiar with your airline’s policy ahead of time.

Make sure to bring an ample amount of batteries or charged power supplies to keep your supplemental oxygen powered. The FAA requires that the charge should be able to last 150 percent the length of the trip.

Get to the airport as early as possible and inform the ticket agent that you’ll be traveling with supplemental oxygen.

During the security screening by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), inform them that you are unable to be disconnected from supplemental oxygen and ask for an alternative screening process.

The only approved oxygen device allowed on-board flights is a portable oxygen concentrator (POC), a smaller, lighter, and easier-to-carry variation of a home oxygen concentrator. No other personal oxygen systems can be used on board, and filled oxygen tanks (liquid or compressed gas) cannot be brought on board—or even checked as baggage—on any airline. Some airlines may allow empty oxygen equipment to be stowed in baggage, but it must be verified as empty, and the regulator must be removed. Check with your airline ahead of time to see if it allows empty tanks to be checked.

Travel with oxygen

Can i fly with oxygen?

Patients for Whom Air Travel Is Contraindicated

Certain patients with pulmonary disease should be instructed not to fly.

These include patients who pose risk to others such as those with active infectious diseases (e.g., tuberculosis or influenza), or those in whom air travel would pose a risk to themselves: hemoptysis, unresolved pneumothorax, and a sea-level supplemental oxygen requirement in excess of 4 L/minute.

Additional Considerations When Evaluating Patients for Air Travel

It is important to highlight the following points in assessing patients for air travel:

1. Even at 35,000 feet, different types of commercial aircraft will have widely differing cabin altitudes, ranging from an equivalent of approximately 5,400 to 8,000 feet. In addition, commercial aircraft may also vary their cruising altitude several times during the flight, which in turn can alter cabin pressure.

2. Respiratory symptoms may occur even despite having a preflight assessment. One study found 18% of patients with COPD developed respiratory symptoms despite having a preflight evaluation.

3.Flight duration is another important factor to consider. Longer flight durations are associated with increased symptoms, particularly when lasting over 3 hours.

4.The levels of activity of the patient during the flight should also be considered. Patients with COPD, restrictive lung disease, and cystic fibrosis demonstrate significant worsening of hypoxemia at simulated altitude with a workload equivalent to that of walking around the aircraft cabin.

Flying with portable oxygen

  1. Booking a flight in order to travel with oxygen

  2. Before your flight with a portable oxygen device

  3. Arriving at the airport with portable oxygen

  4. During the flight. 

fly with oxygen

Booking a flight in order to travel with oxygen (airplane)

1) Try to find a direct flight.

2) Make sure you inform the airline about your oxygen needs early.

3) Some airplanes have power supply on board. Ask if your airplane has power supply and if it does book a seat next to it.

4) Most of the airlines have their own physician statement that must be filled in by your doctor. You can find it on the airline’s website.

5) Check with the airline the maximum limit of batteries you can carry. If there is someone travelling with you ask him/her to carry some extra batteries for you.

6) A lot of airlines provide extra assistance at the airports, to people with disabilities. In case you need assistance, especially if you are travelling alone, inform the airline. Some airports also might provide this kind of assistance, regardless of the airline you’re travelling with.

The FAA requires that the charge should be able to last 150 percent the length of the trip.

You should also factor in time needed to travel to the airport, waiting to board, layovers, and traveling from the airport to your destination after arrival. Ensure that you have sufficient battery power for the duration of your flight, including a conservative estimate of unanticipated delays. Fly non-stop if possible. This eliminates the hassle of arranging for oxygen deliveries to the airport which results in extra charges.

Before your flight with an oxygen device

1) Visit your doctor to inform him/her about your trip. The oxygen needs on a flight might be different from the needs when you are on ground, because of the difference in the air pressure. Take a new prescription if necessary. Also inform the doctor if there are extreme weather conditions at your destination (high humidity, extreme cold, extreme hot, high altitude, air pollution). Weather conditions can make breathing even more difficult or/and can worsen your symptoms.

2) Make sure you have all the medicine you need.

3) Take at least one copy of your medicine and oxygen prescription and always have it on you.

4) Do a research for doctors and hospitals at your destination in case you need it.

5) We suggest you to have an oximeter on you to check your oxygen levels.

6) If you ‘re travelling abroad, check if your insurance covers you in case of emergency.

7)  Make sureI that your Portable Oxygen Concentrator  it has a FAA* approval.

8) Fully charge all your batteries.

9) Be sure you have the right power convertors/adaptors.

10) Take your cpap or bipap machine with you, even when you’ re not planning to stay the night.

11) Be prepared for possible delays and have extra batteries with you.

12) If you don’t have your own oxygen device or oxygen tanks/cylinders, you can always rent. There are companies that can supply you with oxygen devices or tanks almost everywhere in the world.

Arriving at the airport with supplemental oxygen:

1) Ask from your companion to help you with your luggage.

2) In case you have require the airline’s or airport’s assistance, inform them for your arrival.

3) Arrive to the airport early because getting a Portable Oxygen Concentrator (POC) device through security may take some time.

4) Try to avoid the lines and remember that you have priority.

5) During the check in and boarding inform the staff that you are travelling with a Portable Oxygen Concentrator (POC) device.

6) Always take your Portable Oxygen Concentrator (POC) device on board, even though you are not planning to use it. Never put your device, batteries, medicines, tubes or any other fitment in your checked in luggage, because sometimes luggages can be lost.

7) Airlines usually don’t provide oxygen during the waiting time at the airports and layovers, so you must have your device while you are at the airport. During that time try to use an electrical outlet to save battery life. While waiting to board your flight, you may be able to conserve battery power by powering your POC from an electrical outlet in the airport terminal.

8)Be prepared for possible delays and have extra oxygen/batteries with you.

9)During the security screening by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), inform them that you are unable to be disconnected from supplemental oxygen and ask for an alternative screening process.

During the flight with a portable oxygen device

1) Take all your medicines and prescriptions with you on the plane.

2) Ask the cabin crew to assist you with your handbags during boarding and debarkation.

3) Adjust the oxygen supply at your needs.

4) Check your oxygen levels with your oximeter regularly during the flight.

5) If you ‘re using your Portable Oxygen Concentrator (POC) device, take extra fully charged batteries on board.

6) Ask for a power supply use it as much as possible to save battery.

7) Place the device properly, and make sure that the air filters are not blocked. The POC should be placed underneath the seat in front of the POC user so that the user or the user’s attendant can see the warning lights and/or hear the audible warning. Placement directly under the POC user’s seat and placement in a closed compartment would prohibit the user from seeing the warning lights, as well as possibly prohibiting the user from hearing audible warnings. Other placement locations may be acceptable.

The FAA prohibits any person using a POC from occupying any seat in an exit row.

Stowage During Movement.

During movement on the surface (pushback from the gate and taxi), takeoff, and landing, the POC must be stowed properly and in such a manner that it does not restrict passenger egress to any exit or the aisle in the passenger compartment.

During movement on the surface, takeoff, and landing, the tubing that is used to dispense oxygen from a properly stowed POC to the user’s mask/nasal cannula may stretch across the row in such a way as to restrict passenger egress or become a tripping hazard in an evacuation.

The POC user must not restrict another passenger’s egress during these phases of flight. In this case, a seating restriction may be required to comply with an FAA safety rule. For example, if all seats in the row are occupied, the appropriate seat for the POC user would be a window seat.

However, if there are no other passengers in the row, or if there is one other passenger in a row of three seats and that passenger is seated in the aisle seat, or if the POC is stowed in such a way that the tubing does not block another passenger’s egress, then other seats in that row may be appropriate as long as no other passenger’s egress is restricted by the tubing.

An operator can only establish seating restrictions based on an FAA safety rule.

Cabin Depressurization and a POC oxygen.

There is no danger posed by a POC that is operating during a loss of cabin pressure.

In the case of loss of cabin pressure (rapid or slow), POCs typically will not continue to meet the oxygen needs of the user at cabin pressure altitudes above 8,000-10,000 feet. This is because the lower ambient air pressure at higher altitudes makes the concentration of the oxygen output of the POC too low to meet the POC user’s oxygen needs.

In cabin depressurization, the POC user should be instructed to discontinue use of the POC and use the oxygen masks that deploy to provide supplemental passenger oxygen until the aircraft descends below 10,000 feet cabin pressure altitude.

FAA Approved Oxygen Concentrators

List of Portable Oxygen Concentrators that meet FAA specifications for inflight use.

Which POC are authorized for use during the flight?

POC Acceptance Criteria.

Rather than continuing to approve POCs on a case-by-case basis, the FAA established acceptance criteria for POCs used on aircraft.

The criteria are:
1. The POC is legally marketed in the United States in accordance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements as stated in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR).
2. The POC does not radiate radio frequency emissions that interfere with aircraft systems.
3. The POC does not generate a compressed gas.
4. The POC does not contain any hazardous materials (hazmat), except as provided for in 49 CFR part 175, § 175.10 for batteries used to power PEDs, and that do not require aircraft operator approval for carriage as is the case for certain larger batteries.
Required POC Labeling.
All POCs that satisfy the acceptance criteria and are not previously identified in SFAR 106 must also bear a label with the following statement in red lettering: “The manufacturer of this POC has determined this device conforms to all applicable FAA acceptance criteria for POC carriage and use on board aircraft.” Figure 2. Example of Required POC Labeling

Note: POCs identified in §§ 121.574, 125.219, and 135.91 may be used on aircraft without bearing a label.

Prior to the flight, both a passenger intending to use a POC on an aircraft and the operator of the aircraft on which the POC is intended to be used are responsible for determining whether the POC satisfies the FAA acceptance criteria.

POCs With Manufacturer’s Labels.

The passenger and the aircraft operator can determine whether the POC conforms to the acceptance criteria through a visual inspection of the device to locate the manufacturer’s label indicating such conformance.

POCs Without Manufacturer’s Labels.

If the device does not bear the required label, the passenger and the aircraft operator may determine compliance by identifying the manufacturer and model name and confirming that the POC appears on the list of devices contained in §§ 121.574, 125.219, and 135.91.

Some airlines disclose a list of POCs and confirm the possibility to use them during flight. Some they provide contact information to confirm if your device is permissible. 

Is my Portable  Oxygen concentrator approved for traveling by air?

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