Traveling with Oxygen: Flying
YES! You can fly with portable oxygen!
The Federal Aviation Administration does NOT allow passengers to use portable oxygen tanks or liquid oxygen on flights, but they do allow Portable Oxygen Concentrators.
Most portable oxygen concentrator models are approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for use on commercial flights to, from or within the United States. However, there are some important points you may want to keep in mind.
1) Call your airline: Requirements for using a portable oxygen concentrator during a flight may vary by airline. You should always check with the airline when planning your flight. It’s extremely important to carefully read the requirements on the airlines website, or talk to a customer service representative for the airline when planning your flight.
2) Talk to your doctor: You must have a prescription with you. In some cases you will need to provide a written note by your physician on their letterhead indicating your medical needs. Most airlines request that you notify them ahead of time that you will be bringing a portable oxygen concentrator on your flight.
3) Batteries: Make sure you have enough battery power for your device. Do not rely on the aircrafts power to charge your portable oxygen during a flight. Airlines and the FAA require at least 150% of the expected maximum flight duration. For example, if your flight is scheduled to be 2 hours long, your batteries should be charged enough to last at least 3 hours. Make sure you have a spare battery. Spare batteries are prohibited from being carried in checked baggage on an aircraft. You will need to carry it on the plane with you . Ensure you have your user manual for your portable oxygen concentrator with you on your flight in case you need to troubleshoot a problem during your flight.
Be sure to charge your batteries after your flight and in between flights.
4) During Flight: 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. The FAA requires that when flying, the tubing for the portable oxygen concentrator must be at least seven feet in length, which is long enough for the concentrator to be used while stored under your seat. You may want to put your concentrator below the seat in front of you so you can see and hear any potential alarms. If you have a long cannula, make sure to place your tubing beneath the chair neatly, so no one trips over it.
To prevent your portable oxygen from overheating, make sure the air intake filters on your portable concentrator are not covered
A pressurized airplane cabin may affect your oxygen flow rate. It’s possible you may need to increase your flow rate during the flight to maintain your oxygen saturation. If you do need to increase the rate of your oxygen flow, it will deplete the battery quicker.
5) FAA Compliance: If you would like to read details on the FAA regulations regarding portable oxygen concentrators, visit: Cabin Safety