Each year, millions of travelers fly on commercial airlines in the United States and around the globe. As air travel has become more affordable, it has also become more accessible for people with serious medical conditions, including respiratory problems.
The Air Carrier Access Act, originally passed in 1986 and revised in 2009, prohibits airlines from discriminating against passengers based on disabilities.
While this legislation enhances the freedom of travelers, the varying policies of different airlines concerning the use of portable oxygen can cause confusion among travelers.
Adding to the challenge, some healthcare providers are not always aware that certain patients may require portable oxygen while traveling.
Moreover, they may not be familiar with the resources available for travelers who require oxygen therapy, and, therefore, are unable to advise their patients adequately.
- 1 Airline approved oxygen concentrator
- 2 How to travel with oxygen on a plane?
- 3 List of FAA-approved portable oxygen concentrators
- 4 Which airlines provide inflight oxygen?
- 5 Flying with oxygen concentrator
- 6 FAA Approved Oxygen Concentrator rentals
- 7 Portable Oxygen Concentrator FAA Approved
- 8 Portable Oxygen Concentrator continuous Flow
Airline approved oxygen concentrator
Regulations established by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) require that air pressure in commercial aircraft be maintained at a level equal to or lower than 8,000 feet above sea level.
For most passengers, this provides enough oxygen to breathe comfortably. For passengers with lung disease, however, this level may not be sufficient to meet their needs
How to travel with oxygen on a plane?
Will I Need Oxygen on My Trip? FAA Approved Oxygen Concentrator:
If you use oxygen on a regular basis, you will most likely need portable oxygen whenever you travel. Also, patients with certain types of lung disease may need oxygen therapy when traveling, even if they do not normally use portable oxygen.
When planning air travel, be sure to ask your doctor whether you will need portable oxygen for your trip if you have any of the following problems:
- Emphysema or “COPD”
- Pulmonary fibrosis or interstitial lung disease
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Have difficulty breathing with normal daily activity
List of FAA-approved portable oxygen concentrators
Air carriers with flights departing from or arriving in the United States now allow the use of FAA-approved portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) by passengers. Travelers who choose this type of equipment are responsible for supplying and operating their own POC unit.
As of January 2010, many portable oxygen concentrators have been approved by the FAA for use by passengers on commercial aircraft. They are the following FAA Approved Oxygen Concentrator:
- AirSep (R) FreeStyle™
- AirSep(R) LifeStyle™
- Delphi RS-00400 (Central Air)
- DeVilbiss Healthcare iGo®
- Inogen One™
- Inogen One G2™
- International Biophysics LifeChoice®
- Invacare XPO100™
- Oxlife Independence Oxygen Concentrator
- Phillips Respironics EverGo™
- SeQual Eclipse 3™
Several types of portable oxygen equipment are available for use when traveling; however, not all types are allowed for use during flight.
The system that is right for you depends on your travel plans, your health requirements, and your personal preferences.
Compressed oxygen is stored in pressurized aluminum tanks or cylinders. A regulator, or valve, is used to adjust the oxygen flow rate. Compressed oxygen units are simple to operate but they are often heavy. Some users may need assistance to move and position the units properly.
Compressed oxygen systems can be used on commercial aircraft only if they are supplied by the airline. (See “Use of Oxygen on Commercial Airline”)
Portable Oxygen Concentrators
These lightweight electronic devices extract oxygen from the air and provide it to users at a much richer concentration than the ambient atmosphere provides.
POC units were first approved by the FAA for use on commercial aircraft in 2005 and are now allowed on most flights. (See “Use of Oxygen on Commercial Airlines”) These devices are usually powered by batteries that must be regularly replaced or recharged.
Liquid oxygen systems consist of lightweight units with a small reservoir that contains liquid oxygen. One example is the HELIOS Personal Oxygen System.
Portable liquid oxygen units are re$lled from larger stationary reservoirs provided by the equipment supplier. Because liquid oxygen units do not require batteries or any other external power source, they are often preferred for patients in areas without access to electricity. Liquid oxygen is classi$ed by the FAA as a hazardous material.
For this reason, the use of liquid oxygen systems by travelers on commercial aircraft is prohibited. A portable liquid oxygen system can, however, be checked in along with a passenger’s luggage if the oxygen reservoir has been emptied.
Which airlines provide inflight oxygen?
Use of Oxygen on Commercial Airlines – FAA Approved Oxygen Concentrator:
Policies concerning the use of in-flight oxygen vary substantially among airlines.
Contact your airline or check your airline’s Web site to obtain its specific guidelines on oxygen use during flight.
Airlines require a minimum of 72 hours advance notice before your flight if you plan to travel with oxygen. For this reason, planning ahead is essential. Be sure to review procedures and complete all necessary paperwork required by the airline as early as possible.
Airlines generally require a “Physician’s Statement”—a written authorization signed by your doctor, that verifies your need for oxygen therapy. This document also outlines any specific oxygen delivery instructions that you and the airline need to know.
Many carriers have their own airline-specific medical forms that must be signed and dated within a certain period, (eg, 10 days or less) before travel. Be sure to check with your airline about its specific policies.
- Air carriers typically offer two basic options for oxygen therapy during flight:
- carrier-supplied compressed oxygen or
- use of personal portable oxygen concentrators.
Flying with oxygen concentrator
Carrier-Supplied Compressed Oxygen
Various airlines provide compressed oxygen during flight as a service to passengers who need oxygen therapy. Fees for this service vary based on the duration of the flight or the number of flight segments in the trip. Your insurance policy may cover some of the costs associated with your in-flight oxygen needs.
Check with your insurance carrier to determine the speci$cs of your coverage. Maximum flow rates and available equipment, such as masks, vary among airlines.
Be sure to clarify your specific oxygen requirements with your doctor and communicate your needs to the airline before your flight. Also, be mindful that oxygen provided by the carrier will be available only while you are onboard the aircraft.
Airlines do NOT provide oxygen for passengers when they are in the terminal either before or after a flight. If your trip includes connecting $ghts with a different airline, you must make separate arrangements with each carrier before your departure.
Remember that you are responsible for managing your own oxygen needs during any layovers in your trip and also during your stay at your destination. If necessary, contact your oxygen supplier, and ask to have a representative meet you with portable oxygen at the airport when you arrive.
If in-flight oxygen service is not available, in most cases you will be able to use a personal oxygen concentrator (POC) during your flight.
FAA Approved Oxygen Concentrator rentals
POC units may be rented or purchased from oxygen suppliers or medical device companies. The decision to purchase or lease usually depends on the anticipated length of use. All airlines require a Physician’s Statement from patients traveling with POCs. This document verifies that the patient is knowledgeable and capable of operating the POC unit. Not all FAA-approved POCs are permitted on all airplanes.
Some airlines only allow certain POCs on selected flights. Always check in advance that the POC you intend to use is approved by your airline for your specific flight. POCs o”er several advantages over other oxygen delivery systems for travelers. Unlike carrier-supplied oxygen, these devices can be used by passengers during long layovers or delays.
Travelers can also use this lightweight and convenient equipment at their final destination without making any additional arrangements.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not allow passengers to bring liquid oxygen or portable oxygen tanks on flights by any means. You can, however, bring your portable oxygen concentrator onboard with you.
The only oxygen equipment allowed on an airplane is the portable oxygen concentrator (POC). If you need oxygen in flight, you must take a portable oxygen concentrator with you, and, you must let your airline know ahead of time.
The Federal Aviation Administration generally prohibits the use of personal oxygen units during flights because they contain compressed gas or liquid oxygen, which are defined as hazardous materials.
The Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, has ruled that all passengers who require oxygen must be allowed to bring FAA-approved portable oxygen concentrators on all U.S. aircraft with more than 19 seats.
Instead of scheduling regular refills or replacements for tanks, a portable oxygen concentrator takes in ambient air and sends it through a filtration process to produce medical-grade quality oxygen.