How to travel with oxygen

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Traveling with oxygen can be complicated. Our travel coordinators help people that are traveling across the state or around the globe. Just fill out this form and we’ll contact you with specific details of what is needed for your trip!

 


What to know:

If you’re planning a trip, and you use oxygen, there are some things you’ll need to know. How and where you’re traveling will determine the equipment, number of batteries, and paperwork that you will need. 

At a minimum, you should know the following:

  1. If you’re traveling by air the airline will require that you have extra batteries with you. Airlines vary in their specific requirements. Generally speaking, you will need to have enough battery life to last 1.5 times the duration of your trip. So, if you have a four-hour flight you will need six hours of oxygen (See our detailed section below on air travel).
  2. You should have a copy of your oxygen prescription with you for TSA and other security checkpoints.
  3. If you’re planning to rent oxygen equipment, allow enough time for us to obtain a prescription from your physician (unless you already have it). 
  4. Not all oxygen equipment is approved for air travel. The equipment that we rent and sell is. However, if you’ve landed on this page and did not receive your oxygen concentrator from us be sure to check whether your device is FAA approved. 

    Airline Travel with Oxygen

  • You’ll need to have enough battery life to last 1.5x your trip.
  • You should have your prescription with you
  • Your oxygen concentrator must be FAA approved
  • Oxygen cylinders are not permitted onboard airplanes
  • Keep your oxygen concentrator with you at the TSA checkpoint (do not check it as a bag)
  • Notify the airline 24-48 hours ahead of your departure by calling their customer service line.
American Airlines

During your flight, you can only use portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) approved by the FAA. You must notify AA Reservations at least 48-hours before your departure, and a special assistance coordinator will contact you before your flight to verify your device.

Before you board, check in at the gate so an agent can:

  • Test that you can operate the POC and respond to its alarm
  • Explain the phases of the flight when the POC will be operable
  • Check your supply of fully charged batteries to power the POC no less than 150% for the duration of the flight and ground connection time (including unanticipated delays)

Additional requirements:

  • POC must fit underneath the seat in front of you
  • You can’t sit in an emergency exit, bulkhead or any seat that blocks another passenger’s aisle access if you have a POC inflight
  • You may use your POC while moving about the cabin as long as the “fasten seatbelt” sign is not illuminated
Onboard power for medical devices

You’re required to bring any necessary, fully-charged batteries to power your medical devices throughout your flight. Don’t depend on the availability of a power outlet to support your device.

  • If available, power outlets may be used for approved POCs and breast pumps
  • The use of onboard power might require a DC power adaptor

AA Plane types and power availability (For referrence purposes only, this is not a guarantee that power will be available)

Delta Airlines

Delta no longer provides compressed medical oxygen. However, Delta does allow passengers to use approved Portable Oxygen Concentrators with advance notification. Personal oxygen systems containing liquid oxygen are not accepted on board any Delta or Delta Connection flights.

Your own FAA approved portable oxygen concentrator — or a rented, approved POC — is allowed in the aircraft cabin.

If you have your own equipment, you may use that equipment by completing the steps below:     

  • Complete your travel plans and purchase your ticket.
  • Verify that you or your FAA approved portable oxygen concentrator supplier will have the FAA required 150% of battery time for your cumulative flight times. (Note: If you carry the POC on board but do not intend to use it while in flight you are still required to follow the FAA battery requirements.
  • At least 48 hours before travel, you must have complete the POC Battery Approval Request form and fax/email it to OxygenToGo at the contact information listed on the statement. Failure to submit the POC Battery Approval Request at least 48 hours before travel may result in delays or refusal to board.
  • You will receive a telephone confirmation from OxygenToGo when they have received the completed POC Battery Approval Request form. Contact OxygenToGo if you do not receive a confirmation call within 24 hours of submission.
  • You must bring the completed POC Battery Approval Request form to the airport to confirm you are traveling with the required number of batteries to last the duration of your flight. Carry the Statement with you, rather than in checked baggage.

 

Southwest Airlines

Conditions that must be met in order to use an approved POC during flight:

  • The POC may only be used in its battery-operated mode. Southwest Airlines does not have electrical outlets onboard the aircraft for commercial product use.
  • The Customer must have a sufficient number of fully charged batteries to cover no less than 150% of the expected maximum flight duration, which is based on the scheduled flight time and factors such as weather conditions, traffic delays, and any other conditions that may delay travel. We recommend carrying at least one extra battery. Extra batteries must be packaged for carryon in a manner to prevent short circuit. Battery terminals must either be recessed or packaged so as to prevent contact with metal objects, including terminals of other batteries. Extra batteries must be carried on and cannot be inside of checked luggage.

A Customer may transport a POC that has not been approved for use inflight, but cannot use the device onboard. Although not required, we encourage Customers to bring documentation specifying that he/she will not need the device inflight. If a Customer is not planning on using a POC during the flight but our Employees have reason to believe that oxygen may be required to complete travel, additional medical documentation requirements may apply.

Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POC) may be brought onboard our flights in accordance with Federal Regulations 14 CFR Parts 121 and 382.

Effective August 22, 2016: POCs intended for use during flight must bear a label on the exterior of the device containing the following certification statement in red lettering, “The manufacturer of this POC has determined this device conforms to all applicable FAA acceptance criteria for POC carriage and use on board aircraft.” 

Making Reservations

  1. Customers may indicate the intended use of a POC when booking travel via Southwest.com by using the “Add/Edit Disability Options” (situated on the Enter Traveler Info page). This can be done by clicking on the “Add/Edit Disability Options” link located in the Passenger details section.  After you have selected the applicable option(s), click “Continue.” If a reservation has already been created, Customers should click on the “FLIGHT | HOTEL | CAR” link located on the top of our home page. Then, select “Manage Reservations” from the “Flights” column, input the required information, and select “Continue.” From that page, click on the “Add/Edit” Disability Options link. Once the option(s) have been added , click “Continue” and the information will be saved to the reservation.
  2. If the reservation is made by telephone or the Customer would like to advise us of their intended POC use by telephone, the Customer should inform our Customer Representative of the intended use of the POC and either note the model of POC to be used or verify that the POC includes the label described above. This can be done by calling 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792) prior to travel.
  3. If booking through a travel agent, the Customer should call 1-800-I-FLY-SWA(1-800-435-9792)  after the reservation is made.

 

At the airport

  1. The Customer using the approved POC must check with a Customer Service Agent and have their device verified. To do so, the Customer should arrive at the departure gate no less than 45 minutes prior to departure. If the Customer wishes to preboard, the Customer must then see a Customer Service Agent to receive a Preboarding Document (if he/she has not done so already).
  2. Prior to boarding each flight associated with the Customer’s itinerary, the Southwest Airlines Operations Agent will verify the POC model, phases of flight (taxi, takeoff, cruise, landing) during which the Customer intends to use the device, and number and packaging of batteries.
  3. We strongly suggest that Customers using POCs in the aircraft board with the preboarding group. Note: Customers who do not make themselves available for preboarding in order to secure an aircraft seat that meets FAA safety requirements may be denied boarding or rebooked on an alternate flight to their destination in order to be seated appropriately. While we will make every attempt to accommodate a Customer using a POC who does not preboard, we will not delay the aircraft to reseat Customers.

 

Onboard the aircraft

  1. In accordance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Safety Regulations, the Customer using an approved POC must be seated in a seat closest to the window than any other Customer in that row. In many situations, the Customer using the approved POC must be seated in a window seat to comply with the Safety Regulations. Consistent with federal safety regulations, a POC that will be used inflight must be able to fit completely under a seat in a space that is 19” D x 11” H x 10.75” W.  (Some POCs must be positioned on its side in order to fit underneath out aircraft seats.)
  2. Approved POCs that will be used during any phase of flight should be stowed completely underneath the seat in front of the Customer using the POC. As a result, most Customers using POCs may not be seated in the first row (bulkhead).
  3. Pursuant to FAA Safety Regulations, a Customer using a POC may not occupy an emergency exit seat.
  4. No maximum weight applies to POCs except in the following situations: 
    1. Any abnormally heavy item that appears to exceed the structural limitations of a designated carryon stowage area must be checked and carried in the cargo hold.
    2. POCs that are not being used inflight that are placed in an overhead bin should not exceed the maximum placarded overhead bin weight limits.
United Airlines

Customers wanting to use a POC on board must provide a minimum 48-hour advance notification to United. The Accessibility Desk at the United Customer Contact Center (1-800-228-2744) will help you determine whether the device you’re planning to use is FAA-approved and will provide guidance on the number of batteries you’ll need for your flight.

POC models that have a manufacturer’s label stating in red lettering: “The manufacturer of this POC has determined this device conforms to all applicable FAA acceptance criteria for POC carriage and use on board aircraft” will be accepted. Other appropriately labeled POC brands and models may be carried in the cabin with the batteries removed if they meet United’s carry-on size and weight requirements, or may be transported as checked baggage.

Please note that aircraft in-seat electrical power is available on a limited number of aircraft, and there is no guarantee that the in-seat power will be operative. Therefore, customers must have an ample supply of fully charged batteries for the full duration of their flight and any ground connection time where the POC will be used, plus three hours of extra battery time in case of any flight delays or other disruptions.

POCs are considered assistive devices and do not count toward carry-on baggage limits, whether or not they are used on board. They must be able to fit underneath the seat or in an overhead compartment. Some seating restrictions may be necessary to comply with certain FAA safety rules.

Customers wishing to use a POC on board must satisfy the following requirements prior to boarding the aircraft:

  • The customer must notify United that he or she is planning to use a POC on board the aircraft.
  • The customer must have a signed written Medical Certificate for POC Use. United suggests printing the Medical Certificate for POC Use available on this website.
  • The Medical Certificate for POC Use must:
    1. State whether or not oxygen use is medically necessary for all or a portion of the flight(s) listed on the customer’s itinerary.
    2. Specify the maximum oxygen flow rate in liters per minute corresponding to the pressure in the cabin of the aircraft under normal operating conditions.
    3. State that the expected total operating time (duration) of the POC extends the entire length of the flight plus three hours.
    4. Be kept by the customer and provided upon request to United personnel at any time during travel.
  • The customer must ensure that he or she has ample batteries to power the POC for the duration of the flight, any ground connection time where the POC will be used, plus three additional hours to allow for unanticipated delays. United does not have electrical power available for customer use on all of its aircraft. In-seat electrical power is available on only a limited number of aircraft, and there is no guarantee that any available in-seat power will be operative. Flights operated by United Express do not have in-seat power.
  • The customer must ensure that all extra batteries are properly protected from short-circuiting by having recessed battery terminals or by packaging the batteries so they do not contact metal objects, including the terminals of other batteries.

Medical Certificate for POC Use

Customers wanting to use a POC on board should advise United when making reservations. Customers using a POC who make reservations with a travel agent or on the internet need to contact the United Customer Contact Center at least 48 hours in advance of travel to ensure that United has all of the necessary information and can assist the customer in meeting travel requirements. Failure to meet the requirements will result in a denied use of the POC during travel. Customers in the U.S. or Canada can contact the Accessibility Desk directly at 1-800-228-2744.

Cruise Ship Travel with Oxygen

In general, all cruise lines will allow you to board and travel with a portable oxygen concentrator. However, there are some things you should keep in mind:

  • Keep a copy of your prescription with you
  • Ensure that you have enough battery life for your shore excursions and return to the ship
  • US-based cruise lines will have standard power adapters. However, if you are leaving from a foreign port you may need a different power cable.
  • Ensure that you have at least one extra tube/cannula set with you. 
Carnival

Per Carnival’s website:

The Medical Center is equipped with oxygen for emergency use ONLY. If you require the use of oxygen during your cruise, you must arrange for an adequate supply to be delivered to the ship on your sailing date. Please contact Guest Services once onboard for proper storage of your oxygen. Guests are responsible for the pickup and delivery of their own oxygen. Please have your medical supply company contact us, otherwise, port clearance may not be granted. 

If you choose to bring your own personal supply of oxygen, you must hand carry it with you.  Packing oxygen cylinders and/or tanks in your checked luggage is strictly prohibited, as is putting them through security x-ray machines. Please hand-carry your oxygen machines (BiPAP, CPAP, Concentrator, Nebulizer, etc.) and not place them in your checked luggage. 

Royal Caribbean

If you are dependent on oxygen or require oxygen therapy, you must supply your own oxygen, and meet certain requirements prior to boarding the ship. Please contact our Access Department at 866-592-7225 for additional information.

Guests taking an oxygen cylinder or concentrator while on tour should provide in advance the dimensions of the device (Length x Width x Height to Accessible Shore Excursions. Please include this information in the Accessible Shore Excursion Form and sent to shorexaccess@rccl.com.  This information will ensure special accommodations are in place.

Princess Cruises

If you will require oxygen supplementation during your sailing, please contact our Fleet Medical Department at (661)753-2680. You will be asked to send a letter or prescription from your doctor. You will also be required to let us know the type of equipment you will be using and whether you will be bringing your own supplies or if you will be having the equipment delivered to the ship.

Disney Cruise Line
  • Due to safety and storage concerns, there are limitations on the types and quantities of tanks permitted onboard. Oxygen concentrators are acceptable; however, liquid oxygen and other large-tank systems are prohibited. We strongly encourage you to contact Disney Cruise Line Special Services as soon as possible to discuss your individual needs.
  • If you book air travel through Disney Cruise Line and require oxygen on your flights, please contact Disney Cruise Line Special Services as soon as possible. This will allow us to expedite the delivery of flight tickets and airline contact information so you can make arrangements for the use of oxygen during flights. Guests who book flights on their own are responsible for notifying their air carriers of any oxygen requirements.
  • Also, be aware that you are allowed only one oxygen tank onboard the ground transportation offered by Disney Cruise Line. Guests bringing more than one tank must make their own arrangements for transportation between the airport, the Resort and the cruise terminal.

Disney Cruise Line Special Services 
Phone: (407) 566-3602 
Fax: (407) 566-3760 
TTY: (407) 566-7455 
Email: SpecialServices@disneycruise.com

Disney Cruise Line Special Services 
P.O. Box 10210 
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0210

Car & RV Travel

Your portable oxygen concentrator will come with an auto adapter that will plug into any standard vehicle auxiliary port (cigarette lighter). 

Generally, this will power the concentrator and charge your battery. However, on some vehicles, there may not be enough to both power and charge your oxygen concentrator. In these cases you may be able to add a second auxiliary port to provide more amperage to your device. Contact us for more information.