Travel With Portable Oxygen

Traveling With Oxygen Tips

Get all of your questions answered about traveling with oxygen below.

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Travel with Portable Oxygen »

First you must Buy or Rent a POC »

then prepare in advance by using this POC travel checklist. Call or visit your travel carrier, internet site, or travel agency about your travel plans. You must provide information about your intent to use a portable oxygen concentrator (POC) during your travels. The carrier will let you know if you will be permitted to use your POC during your travel and if there are any restrictions for use.

Note: If you are not permitted to use your POC on the airline of choice and still want to take it with you:

  • Carry it and any disconnected supplemental batteries on board with you
  • Ensure the unit is turned off
  • Stow it properly for the flight
  • Do not place the POC or any supplemental battery modules in your checked baggage

2. notify the airline in advance

You must notify the airline in advance that you will be flying with an FAA approved POC on the aircraft. Check with the airline to see if they have seats with a power outlet that you can use to run the POC during the flight. If a power outlet is not available, be sure to bring enough supplemental batteries to last the entire duration of your travel plans. Plan your flight times, plus enough time to cover any unexpected delays beyond scheduled flight times. Carry your power adapters with you so you can recharge batteries before and after the flight. I recommend you bring a copy of the FAA approved POC letter from their website

3. Purchase an Oximeter, and test yourself.

4. Signed physician's Statement

You must have a licensed physician's signed statement on a standard form, the doctor's letterhead or an airline-approved form with you at all times during your trip that contains the following information:

  • If you need oxygen during taxi, takeoff, flight times, landing, or the entire time you are traveling.
  • The flow rate(s) that you will use during your trip.
  • Your understanding, or that of your travel companion, of all the cautions, warnings, and alarms of the POC and what to do if there is an alarm situation with the device.
  • Your personal information such as name, date of birth, and the model name or number of the POC.
Upon Arrival at the Airport
  1. When you check in at the travel desk or check-in counter, explain that you will be traveling with a POC. Allow inspection of the POC or your physician's statement, and FAA letter, if asked.
  2. When going through the security checkpoint, the Security Agency will inspect your device, even if you are using it. They are required to allow you to travel through the checkpoint with your device, but they must inspect it for security reasons.
  3. Use your AC power adapter while you are in the airport, if possible. This will keep the batteries at full charge and give you the most battery powered operating time on the aircraft.

When Boarding the Plane

  1. You must show the pilot and, if requested, the flight crew, your signed physician's statement regarding your use of the POC. They need to know the flow rates and times that you will be using the device.
  2. The flight crew may want to inspect the POC to confirm that it is FAA approved for use on the flight. They need to protect your safety and the safety of all other passengers on the flight.
  3. You are not permitted to sit in an exit row if you plan to use your POC at any time during the flight.
  4. If you are not planning to use your POC during taxi, takeoff, or landing, you must stow it in an approved area so it does not block the row or aisle access.
  5. If you are going to use your POC the entire time you are on the plane, you cannot sit in any seat that blocks access to an emergency or regular exit or aisle way.
  6. No smoking or open flame is permitted within 10 feet of the row you are sitting in.

While On the Plane

  1. You can only use your POC unit during those times that your physician has listed on your travel approval form. It must be turned off and stowed when you are not authorized to use it.
  2. Do not use any lotions, creams, or salves that are petroleum based. Use only products that are approved for use with oxygen. Do not use airline supplied products unless they are specifically marked for oxygen use.
  3. You must stow a supplemental battery either securely connected to the POC or in your carry-on baggage. Any and all supplemental batteries must be protected from damage and shorting out the external power connector.
  4. When the pilot turns off the "Fasten Seat Belt" sign, you may use your POC when moving about the cabin if you are authorized by your physician's statement.
  5. If the POC alarms during the flight, you or your traveling companion must turn the unit off, unless the alarm resets itself. If the alarm does not reset, the POC must be turned off and stored in an approved storage area.
  6. If an AC power outlet is available on the flight, connect the power adapter to the POC first before plugging the power adapter into the airline power outlet. If you have any trouble making the connections to the plane's power outlet, contact the flight crew for assistance.

When Deplaning

  1. Recharge the batteries as soon as an AC power outlet is available. This will ensure you have enough power to run your POC while leaving the airport. Refer to RECHARGING THE BATTERY in the POC Concentrator owner's manual.

Travel Tips

  • Check with each airline at least two weeks in advance regarding their policies for use of POCs.
  • Inform the airlines that you are traveling with a POC when making your reservation.
  • Confirm your reservation and fax all necessary documents to the airlines well in advance of your flight. However, some airlines require a specific Medical Information Form (MEDIF). Also, airlines may require your Physician form to be signed on the physician’s office letterhead.
  • Bring all documentation with you. Many airlines require you to carry a prescription for oxygen and the signed letter from your physician during travel.
  • Print out POC travel checklist and use to get ready.
  • Allow extra time to pass through security checkpoints
  • Inform the airline at check-in and boarding that you are traveling with a POC.
  • Inquire about using an electrical outlet while you wait to board the plane, to conserve battery power.
  • Make sure you travel with adequate battery supplies for the duration of your scheduled flight, including layovers or possible delays.
  • Once you arrive at your destination, remember to recharge your batteries for your return trip.

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