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Travel Guide

It’s never been easier to travel as an oxygen patient. The Department of Transportation allows passengers to carry on and use certain FAA approved portable oxygen concentrators (POC’s) on flights under certain conditions; oxygen tanks (compressed gas and liquid gas) are not allowed on any flight. Prior to this ruling, some airlines did not provide onboard oxygen and other airlines would charge prohibitive prices for oxygen and be coordinating between airlines and suppliers was difficult. As a result, many oxygen users chose not to travel.

Travel by Airplane:

  1. Check with your airline. Not all airlines allow passengers to carry on POC’s. Please check with your airline to make sure they will allow you to carry on your POC device. Many airlines require advance notification (often 2-10 days in advance of your flight) that you intend to bring a POC onboard your flight. In addition, some airlines require your physician to fill out a form regarding your oxygen use. Airlines may also require proper storage of extra batteries. Spare lithium batteries are not allowed in your checked luggage. Be sure to not book your seat in an exit row; POC’s are not allowed in exit rows and additional seating restrictions may apply with your airline.
  2. Check your battery life. Airlines have different requirements for battery life (often 150% of the flight time) requiring that you travel with enough battery life to last beyond the duration of your flight and accounting for unanticipated delays. Consider purchasing an additional battery if your battery won’t last the entire flight and your airlines do not provide DC or AC power. In addition, conserve battery use by using DC (cigarette lighter) battery use en route to the airport and finding a plus at the airport to preserve battery life. Be sure to pack the appropriate adapters if you will be traveling outside of the country.
  3. Check for FAA approval. A POC is FAA approved if it has a label which bears the following language in red lettering: The manufacturer of this POC has determined this device conforms to all applicable FAA acceptance criteria for POC carriage and use onboard aircraft. In addition, you can check the FAA’s list of approved portable oxygen concentrators at https://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/cabin_safety/portable_oxygen/
  4. Pre-plan for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Screening. Check with your physician to see if you can disconnect from your portable oxygen concentrator in order to go through the TSA imaging detectors or walk-through metal detectors. If you cannot disconnect from your portable oxygen concentrator, the TSA agent will conduct a pat-down procedure.
  5. Consider getting a TSA Disability Notification Card. This card will notify TSA staff that you have a medical disability; this card does not exempt you from TSA screening.
  6. Obtain a Physician Statement. Some airlines require a Physician Statement (ask your airline or check their website). Always carry copies of medical documentation including prescriptions, list of medications, and other information relevant to your particular medical condition.

Travel by Car:

  1. Be sure to have your AC?? Adapter available and make sure it works on your portable oxygen concentrator (POC) prior to leaving.
  2. Be sure your battery is charged prior to leaving in case of unexpected delays or car trouble during your trip.
  3. Bring copies of your relevant medical documentation including prescriptions, medications and other information relevant to your particular medical condition. It’s particularly helpful to have a prescription that includes your diagnosis and oxygen dose in liters per minute.

Travel by Train:

  1. Check with your train operator to find out their requirements for bringing portable oxygen concentrators on board. Amtrak requires advance notice for bringing POCs or tanks onboard.
  2. Bring copies of your relevant medical documentation including prescriptions, medications and other information relevant to your particular medical condition. It’s particularly helpful to have a prescription that includes your diagnosis and oxygen dose in liters per minute.

Travel by Cruise Ship:

  1. Call your cruise ship operator to ask them about their requirements for bringing oxygen onboard.
  2. Bring copies of your relevant medical documentation including prescriptions, medications and other information relevant to your particular medical condition. It’s particularly helpful to have a prescription that includes your diagnosis and oxygen dose in liters per minute.