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.
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 do 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
For a complete list of concentrators that are FAA approved for in-flight use click HERE.
Be sure to always double check with the airline itself for their individual rules and regulations regarding in-flight oxygen concentrator usage.
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:
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.
- Respironics SimplyGo Manual
- Inogen One G3 Manual
- Respironics SimplyGo Mini Manual
- SeQual Eclipse 5 Manual
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.
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.
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.
Updated: January 31, 2020
Published: August 28, 2019