Guide to Flying with an Oxygen Concentrator

If you need to use a portable oxygen concentrator for traveling by air, there are some special considerations you’ll want to make.The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) doesn’t allow passengers to bring portable oxygen tanks or liquid oxygen on board, so if you require oxygen during a flight, you’ll have to use a portable oxygen concentrator.

In a continuing effort to educate oxygen users about traveling and flying with oxygen, we’ve created this guide to assist in planning your next flight. By planning well, you can ensure you that you can have an enjoyable and successful trip.

Things to Consider Before Your Flight

There are four essential things to help you have a safe and stress-free flight with your oxygen concentrator, without any unnecessary delays: physician involvement, FAA compliance and approval, and battery requirements.

Guide to Flying with an Oxygen Concentrator - Things to Consider Before Your Flight

1. Physician Involvement

Your physician will play a significant role in your pre-flight preparation. Before your scheduled flight, discuss your oxygen needs with your physician. You’ll also need to get a physician’s statement expressing your medical requirement to use oxygen. Although the FAA doesn’t require you to obtain a physician’s statement, many individual air carriers may require this.

2. FAA Compliance

The FAA has a detailed document that outlines the on-flight compliance requirements for using a portable oxygen concentrator. Click here to view the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Requirements for the use of portable oxygen concentrators (POC) on board aircraft.

3. FAA Approval

Here is a complete list of portable oxygen concentrators that are FAA approved for in-flight use:

Continuous Flow Portable Concentrators

  • AirSep FreeStyle
  • AirSep FreeStyle 5
  • AirSep LifeStyle
  • Inogen One
  • Inogen One G2
  • Inogen One G3
  • Inogen One G4
  • Inova Labs LifeChoice
  • Inova Labs LifeChoice Activox
  • Invacare XPO2

Pulse Oxygen Portable Concentrators

  • DeVilbiss iGo
  • Invacare Solo2
  • Oxlife Independence Oxygen Concentrator
  • Oxus RS–00400
  • Respironics EverGo
  • Respironics Simply Go
  • Respironics Simply Go Mini
  • SeQual Eclipse
  • SeQual SAROS
  • SeQual eQuinox

Your device should have a FAA label for in-flight use. If your device doesn’t have a label, you can also determine compliance via model number and manufacturer to verify that the unit satisfies the FAA acceptance criteria.

4. Battery Requirements

One critical point to remember is having enough battery power for your device. The overall principle to follow is this: Never rely on aircraft electrical power to charge your device during a flight.

Airlines and the FAA require you to bring sufficient batteries to power your device for at least 150% of the expected maximum flight duration. For example, if your flight is supposed to be 10 hours long, your batteries should be charged enough to last 15 hours.

Spare rechargeable batteries carried on board must be individually protected from short circuit by either keeping them in their original package, insulating terminals by taping over the exposed terminals, or by placing each battery in a separate plastic bag. Spare batteries are prohibited from being carried in checked baggage on an aircraft.

Things to Consider During Your Flight

During your flight, there are some special considerations to keep in mind for your safety and the safety of other passengers:

Things to Consider During Your Flight - Guide to Flying with Oxygen
1. Device Storage

The important thing to remember with storage is that your device should allow other passengers to move around the cabin freely without tripping and falling. The best place to put your concentrator is below the seat in front of you so you can see and hear any potential alarms coming from the device. Also, if you have a long cannula, make sure to place your tubing beneath the chair neatly, so no one trips over it.

Also, the air intake filters on your device must remain free from blockage to prevent overheating and system shutdown. Be sure to leave your device open to air and don’t place anything on top of it.

2. Device Manual

Carry the user manual for your device with you on your flight in case you need to troubleshoot a problem. Below is a list of manuals for top rated units that can be downloaded and printed.

Click the following link to view manuals for all units..

3. Cabin Pressure

At cabin pressure, altitudes greater than 8,000–10,000 feet, may prevent your oxygen concentrator from providing sufficient oxygen to meet your needs. Make sure you know how to use the available oxygen masks in case you need to find an alternative solution.

4. Seating Requirements

The FAA prohibits any portable oxygen user from sitting in an exit row; if you notice your seat is in an exit row, please ask your flight attendant if you can change your seating arrangement.

Things to Consider After Your Flight

Once your flight is complete, there are a few more things to keep in mind, especially for your return flight home.

Guide to Flying with an Oxygen Concentrator - Things to Consider After Your Flight

1. Recharge Your Batteries

Before you board your return flight, make sure your batteries are fully charged, so you have maximum power during your flight. Most airport terminals have outlets available in waiting areas, so make sure to plug in your device to a power outlet while waiting for your flight.

2. Keep your Documents in a Safe Place

Keep your physician’s statement, user manual, and any other documentation in a safe place during your trip. You’ll need your documentation for the journey back, so make sure to keep everything organized just in case you need to present it again.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re taking a trip for pleasure or business, making sure you have everything prepared for a safe flight with your portable oxygen concentrator is essential. Following these simple guidelines will help you have a smooth trip with minimal delays.

5 thoughts on “Guide to Flying with an Oxygen Concentrator”

  • Carlton John

    Airlines insist that a POC user needs a window seat. Southwest doesn't require a physician's document

    Reply
    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your comment, Carlton. We have found that every airline differs and their policies can change frequently. To ensure you have no hold-ups or mishaps the day of your trip, we suggest always contacting your airline directly and inquiring with them. Additionally, be sure to indicate wether or not you will be using or simply transporting an oxygen concentrator.

      Reply
  • L.A. Malkin

    extremely useful and timely,as my son and I are planning a trip to California.

    Reply
  • Bobbie Jo Sanchez
    Bobbie Jo Sanchez October 18, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Do you have any forms for flying we can use to take to the provider?

    Reply
    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your comment, Bobbie. As we mention in the blog, you will want to reach out to your airline directly and inquire what is needed to utilize an oxygen concentrator during flight. Your doctor, who prescribed you oxygen therapy, should be able to provide you with any forms required for the airline.

      Reply

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