Airline Guidelines for Flying with a Portable Oxygen Concentrator

It's important that you are able to use your portable oxygen concentrator wherever you go and all models are approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for use on a commercial flight to or from the United States.

However, you will still need to do some planning ahead to make sure you don't run into any issues on your flight. Even though a portable oxygen concentrator is already FAA approved all airlines have a few requirements you will need to meet before your flight.

Some of the requirements for using a portable oxygen concentrator during a flight vary from airline to airline. This is why you should always check with the airline when planning your flight.

Sandy Wood, a Tennessee man who uses a Inova Labs ActivOx recently ran into a problem after boarding his flight. Shortly after sitting down in his seat the captain of the flight approached him and told he must put his POC in his storage compartment.

Wood's wife, Irene, showed them the boarding pass: “They knew he had the machine,” said Irene Wood. “It had to have a doctor’s permit, This is what they told us.” Sandy mentioned that on other flights, he never had to show a doctor's note.

It's never mentioned whether or not this was the same airline the Woods always used. US Airways said that a written statement from a physician is always required to be able to use a portable oxygen concentrator during the flight. A copy of the note can be found on the airline's official website.

This is why it's extremely important to carefully read the requirements on the website, or talk to a customer service person for the airline when planning your flight. Sometimes, the note must be typed or written on paper with the doctor's letterhead, or it must be printed out from the airline's website, and the lines filled in by your doctor.

There are some airlines that do not require a doctor's note, but all of them want to see a copy of your prescription. You are also required to notify the airline ahead of time that you will be bringing a portable unit along on your flight. If you don't have a doctor's note, you won't be able to use it, and would need to put it in the storage compartment.

One of the great things about a FAA approved POC, as well as the accessories, is that it won't be counted as part of your carry on limit. Following a few simple guidelines will make sure you can go wherever you need to go, while getting the oxygen therapy you need.

About Scott Ridl: Scott joined American Medical Sales and Rentals in 2008 as a Web Manager and Content Writer. He is a writer and designer. He is extensively trained on oxygen therapy products from leading manufacturers such as Inogen, Respironics, Chart, Invacare, ResMed and more. Scott works closely with respiratory therapists and oxygen specialists to educate the community about oxygen therapy products, COPD, asthma and lung diseases. He writes weekly columns and is passionate about educating the community on oxygen therapy and respiratory issues.

4 thoughts on “Airline Guidelines for Flying with a Portable Oxygen Concentrator”

    REBECCA HOLLIFIELD March 8, 2018 at 6:42 am

    please send me guidelines when flying on Delta Airlines. Thank you very much

    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman March 8, 2018 at 8:26 am

      Thank you for your comment, Rebecca. We suggest contacting Delta Airlines directly and asking them what is required to bring and/or use an oxygen concentrator on board the aircraft. Each airline has their own regulations and requirements; we find it's safest to contact them directly to avoid any mishaps or delays on the day of your trip! You can contact Delta Airline's Special Needs department at 800-221-1212.

  • Shari Mallon

    Are there any concentrators that are able to be plugged into mom is flying to australia to stay with us and just found out she needs 10 back up batteries or delta wont let her fly

    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman January 28, 2019 at 8:54 am

      Hi Shari, unfortunately, the airlines will not let you rely on the power supply in the seats. You will find that this is the rule for all airlines when you travel with oxygen. We do have a rental program, and you can rent the batteries from us for the trip instead of purchasing them. Give us a call at 888-360-4493 we would be happy to help.


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