Tips for Traveling with Portable Oxygen Concentrators
Portable Oxygen Travel Checklist
Wondering what steps you need to complete before traveling with a portable concentrator? Download our Portable Concentrator Travel Checklist to ensure a you have everything covered before you go.
Traveling with Oxygen
Oxygen patients can take advantage of our helpful tips when planning to travel with a portable oxygen concentrator. Whether you are making your next journey via plane, automobile or cruise ship, it is important to plan ahead to ensure you have a hassle-free adventure. In addition to the tips below, you will want to take into consideration changes in time zones and increased activity.
Contact the airline several weeks before your flight to obtain their policy and make arrangements for any special accommodations. The airline may require a letter from your physician, some medical history, and a current oxygen prescription. Making sure you have all of these documents before your flight will ensure a much easier transition.
Direct flights are recommended whenever possible. By doing this, you will not have to board and disembark from the airplane with your oxygen concentrator multiple times. Layovers may also increase your total flight time which will, in turn, require you to have more batteries.
Keep your unit charged on AC power while you are waiting for boarding or during any layovers. Most airlines do not have the ability to charge a unit (AC or DC power) while in flight. Typically, you can find an outlet to plug your oxygen concentrator into while you wait for your flight; this not only allows you to run the machine without using the battery, but will also charge the battery at the same time. If you are unable to locate an outlet, ask someone at the check-in counter for assistance or if they know of an outlet you could use.
Use your portable oxygen concentrators DC capabilities when traveling to and from the airport. By doing this you can still operate your POC without having to use the battery. If you are taking a cab or getting a ride from a friend, ask them if it is ok for you to plug your POC into their DC outlet (cigarette lighter). Keep in mind that some of the units do have restrictions when using DC power. Refer to your owner’s manual or simply give us a call with any questions.
Use pulse dose if possible. If you are able to use a pulse dose setting while sitting or resting, do so! Many of the machines we carry have increased battery duration while using a pulse dose setting over continuous flow.
Make sure that you always have a pulse oximeter with you so that you can keep track of your oxygen levels. Differences in altitude, increased activity and other factors can all contribute to your oxygen saturation. It’s very important that you know what your oxygen levels are while traveling.
It is also a good idea to board the plane first so you can store your POC properly without having to move around other passengers. Many of the units we carry simply slide underneath the seat in front of you, but sometimes other accommodations must be made. Just let the airline employees at the check-in counter know that you are boarding with a portable oxygen concentrator. Many airlines allow people with special needs to board before the rest of the passengers.
FAA guidelines require that you have enough battery life to power your concentrator for at least 150% of your flight time. (For example, for a 6 hour flight, you would need 9 hours of battery time). Check with your airline for additional battery requirements.
Carry at least two batteries on your flight, even if it's a short flight. An extra battery gives you a back-up in case something goes wrong with the first one.
Keep up to date with all the FAA Regulations in regards to oxygen concentrators.
Here is a list of some of the major airlines and links with their policies regarding portable oxygen concentrators:
Air Canada Airlines Travel Information
Alaska Airlines - 1-800-252-7522
Alaska Airlines Travel Information
American Airlines - 1-800-222-2377
American Airlines Travel Information
Delta Airlines Travel Information
Frontier Airlines - 1-800-432-1359
Frontier Airlines Travel Information
Great Lakes Airlines - 1-800-554-5111
Great Lakes Travel Information
Hawaiian Airlines 1-866-586-9419
Hawaiian Airlines Travel Information
Island Air - 1-800-388-1105
Island Air Travel Information
JetBlue - 1-800-538-2583
JetBlue Airlines Travel Information
Republic Airlines - 317-484-6000
Republic Airlines Travel Information
Southwest - 214-792-4847
Southwest Airlines Travel Information
Sun Country Airlines - 1-800-359-6786
Sun Country Travel Information
United Airlines - 1-800-864-8331
United Airlines Travel Information
U.S. Airways - 1-480-693-0800
U.S. Airlines Travel Information
West Jet - 1-855-547-2451
West Jet Travel Information
Virgin America - 1-877-359-8474
Virgin American Airlines Travel Information
Virgin Atlantic - 1-877-359-8474
Atlantic Airlines Travel Information
All of our portable concentrators come with a DC power supply that plugs into an automobile cigarette lighter. Several (but not all) units charge the battery under this DC power. Please ask our sales technicians or support department for specific information on your unit. Many (but not all) units charge the battery under this DC power. Please ask our sales technicians or support department for specific information on your unit.
One portable oxygen concentrator, the SeQual Eclipse 3, requires that you remove the battery from the unit while operating the device in the car. By leaving the battery in the unit, it can draw too much on the vehicle’s battery. This would result in a depleted battery upon arrival at your destination. Contact one of our sales technicians or refer to your manual if you have additional questions.
During the hot summer months, cars can get well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit inside. It is not recommended that you leave your unit in a hot car when not in use. Many of the portable oxygen concentrators have sensitive technology that could be damaged by being exposed to intense heat for a prolonged period of time.
Call the cruise line several weeks before your trip and let them know that you will be traveling with oxygen. Be sure that you understand any specific requirements that they may have. Like the airlines, cruises will not allow you to bring oxygen cylinders or tanks on board.
Confirm that the cruise line can accommodate the AC or DC power charging requirements for your unit. Be sure to still bring batteries with you in the event that you need an alternative source of power. The cruise ships typically do not supply any kind of oxygen and if they do, it would be in emergency situations only.
The cruise line will need:
- a letter from your physician
- some medical history
- a current oxygen prescription
Medical recommendations sourced in part from my.clevelandclinic.org
Here is a list of some of the major cruise lines with links regarding the policies on oxygen:
Carnival Cruises Travel Information
Disney Cruise Lines
Disney Cruise Lines Travel Information
Royal Caribbean Cruises
Royal Caribbean Cruises Travel Information
Princess Cruises Travel Information