Christmas and Holiday Flying with a Portable Concentrator

Are you visiting family or going on vacation over the holidays this year? If you use a portable oxygen concentrator, it could be stressful to plan your trip with oxygen, as there are many things you should be aware of before you head to the airport for your flight.

Even though it might seem daunting to travel with oxygen, it’s vital for many people. "Oxygen can decrease shortness of breath when you are active and allow you to do more". By carrying oxygen, it can help you do the things you love, such as travel to see your loved ones.

This holiday season, we’ve put together a checklist to help you plan and know what to expect when flying with an oxygen concentrator:

  1. Find the right oxygen concentrator for you and your needs.

    If you don’t use an oxygen concentrator day-to-day and need to get one for your travels, it’s important to understand the differences between the oxygen machines we offer. The first thing you should know is that every portable oxygen concentrator we offer is FAA approved — which means they’re approved for flying. Your doctor might suggest a specific type of oxygen concentrator, but if not, we have an expert team of oxygen specialists that can pair you with a concentrator that’s right for you and your health needs.

  2. Call the airline when you purchase your ticket.

    If you are taking and using an oxygen concentrator on your flight, you should call and let the airline know as soon as possible [3]. Some airlines offer special accommodations for those who use oxygen, so you’ll want to set that up ahead of time.

  3. Read the airline’s oxygen concentrator requirements.

    Most airlines have specific guidelines for portable oxygen concentrator machines. For instance, some airlines require a doctor’s note that will allow you to use oxygen on board. Each airline also has specific requirements for battery life, as they may not have a way to charge your oxygen machine on the plane.

  4. Be sure to pack everything you need for your oxygen machine.

    There are a few things you’ll need to bring along with your portable concentrator. First, you’ll need to bring the prescription from your doctor if your airline requires it. Be sure also to pack additional batteries for your flight, depending on what’s required by your airline. A pulse oximeter will help keep an eye on your oxygen levels. Finally, make sure you pack your charger.

  5. Charge your concentrator at home and the airport.

    Speaking of your charger, you’ll need to prep your machine before you take off. Fully charge your oxygen concentrator, as you’ll need every bit of battery to last through your flight, plus some extra time just in case; the requirements vary per airline. After you’ve checked in, you should plug in your charger for as long as you can to ensure your battery is topped off.

  6. Inform the airline once you arrive at the airport.
    When you check in for your flight, be sure to mention that you’re traveling with a portable oxygen concentrator. You may need to show your prescription from your doctor at check-in. They may also provide special accommodations, such as letting you board the plane early.

Have more questions about for traveling with oxygen?

Page last updated: October 29, 2018


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.

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