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Traveling With Oxygen By Airplane

Tips for COPD Patients Traveling With Oxygen By Airplane

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Updated March 23, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Airplane Travel and COPD

Airplane Travel and COPD

Photo courtesy of istockphoto.com, user egdigital

Historically, oxygen-dependent passengers were met with many obstacles when they tried traveling with oxygen by airplane. Thanks to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), however, traveling with oxygen by airplane has never been easier.

Oxygen-dependent passengers may now carry their own portable oxygen concentrators on board all U.S. domestic flights and international flights beginning or ending in the United States. The only catch? The concentrators must be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

To date, there are 21 oxygen concentrators approved by the FAA to carry on board your flight. They include:

  • AirSep Focus
  • AirSep FreeStyle
  • AirSep FreeStyle 5
  • AirSep LifeStyle
  • Delphi RS-00400
  • DeVilbiss iGo
  • Inogen One
  • Inogen G2
  • Inogen One G3
  • Inova Labs LifeChoice
  • Inova Labs LifeChoice Activox
  • International Biophysics LifeChoice
  • Invacare XPO2
  • Invacare Solo2
  • Oxlife Independence Oxygen Concentrator
  • Oxus RS-00400
  • Precision Medical EasyPulse
  • Respironics EverGo
  • Respironics Simply Go
  • Sequal
  • SeQual SAROS

In light of the new ruling, passengers must still meet certain pre-boarding conditions, including advance check-ins, having a fully charged battery for 150% of the flight time, a doctor's statement of medical necessity and properly packaged extra batteries.

If you are planning a trip and are oxygen dependent, keep these tips in mind when traveling with oxygen:

  • Every airline is different. When making an airline reservation, ask about specific regulations and restrictions that may apply when carrying oxygen on-board your flight.
  • Always schedule a pre-trip medical exam before traveling. Discuss traveling with oxygen with your doctor.
  • Don't forget to obtain a letter of medical necessity from your doctor during your pre-trip medical exam. This must be carried with you and presented to the airline before you board your plane. Remember, the letter should include your oxygen flow-rate. You may want to make an extra copy and tuck it away in your luggage, in the event you lose your in-hand copy before your return home.
  • Remember that altitude may increase your oxygen requirement. Your prescription for oxygen should reflect this.
  • Don't forget to carry your medications in your on-board luggage and to carry an adequate supply of COPD rescue inhalers when you travel. It is wise to keep any medications in their original containers, and to bring a note of medical necessity from your doctor.

If you have COPD and are planning a trip for treatment, business or pleasure, you won't want to miss these 10 travel tips for people with COPD.

For more information about FAA requirements for traveling with oxygen by airplane, visit the FAA website. Compare Prices of portable oxygen concentrators.

Sources:

FAA Approved Portable Oxygen Concentrators - Positive Testing Results. http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/cabin_safety/portable_oxygen<</sub>

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