How to Fly with a Portable Oxygen Concentrator

Oxygen therapy patients can fly to their vacation destination with the use of a portable oxygen concentrator. You'll have to be sure that your portable oxygen concentrator is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which means it can be used during a commercial flight, to or from the United States. To do this successfully, it's very important to follow these easy steps, to make sure that your flight with your portable oxygen concentrator is as safe and as convenient as possible.

Steps

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    Notify your airline and arrange your flight. Call the airline's customer service number at least two weeks in advance, to notify them of the oxygen concentrator you have. The guidelines each airline has might differ slightly from one to another, so follow the specific guidelines they give you. They may require a letter from your physician or your most current prescription, which you will need to provide on the day of your flight.
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    Pack extra batteries. Your airline might even require you to have a certain extra percentage of battery power when you board. Follow this requirement. If the airline doesn't specify, FAA guidelines require that you have 150% of the battery power you would normally need for the duration of your flight. If you have to order extra batteries for your flight, do so right away.
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    Pack your extra batteries safely. Pack them each in their own sealed plastic bag, to prevent the battery terminals from touching each other, or from touching any corrosive surfaces that could damage the batteries. Make sure you can easily access them in your carry-on bag, if you need one during the flight.
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    Charge up the battery in your portable oxygen concentrator to 100% while you're waiting to board your flight. There are outlets you can use to charge your concentrator in the lobby at the airport. On your way to the airport in your car, use the DC power cord to run your concentrator. You need to conserve as much battery power as possible, because you will need to solely rely on the batteries while on the plane.
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    Have your physician's note, a copy of your oxygen prescription, or any other necessary documents ready when you get to the airport, and bring them to the customer service desk. They will look over the forms and if they have been properly issued, you will receive your boarding pass.
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    When you board your flight, ask if it's possible to get on before other passengers in your seating area. This will give you the time needed to store the concentrator. Most should fit under the seat in front of you but if not, ask the flight attendant for help in stowing it safely, securely and in a way that you can use it.
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    Done. You're now good to fly.

Tips

  • When arranging your flight, try to take a direct flight to avoid having to transfer you and your in-flight baggage from one flight to another.
  • Ask to board the plane first, so it will be easier for you to get situated in your seat with your oxygen concentrator.
  • It will help to read up on the FAA's regulations, to keep you informed.

Article Info

Categories: Air Travel