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Traveling by Air with portable oxygen

  • Portable Oxygen From

More and more people are traveling by air with portable oxygen concentrators, making it important to have available the information needed, so that the oxygen user and their caregiver do not arrive at the airport without the nesessary information allowing them to board the plane.  Philips Respironics SimplyGo Mini Portable Oxygen Concentrator

On May 24, 2016 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published in the Federal Register revised rules for the use of a portable oxygen concentrator aboard all flight that originates from a U.S. airport or ends at a U.S. airport. The purpose of this rulemaking was to eliminate redundant operational requirements, paperwork requirements and allow passengers to use a POC that satisfies certain acceptance criteria. The main points that you need to be aware of if you do intend to use your portable oxygen concentrator during air travel are:

  • You must notify the airline you are flying, that you intend to use a portable oxygen concentrator during flight.
  • The FAA revised regulation removes the requirement that you must have a physician's statement to use a portable concentrator however the airline can require one if they so desire. This makes it very important that you contact your carrier prior to departure as to be aware of your particular airline's policies.
  • The FAA only requires you to have enough battery power to get you through your flight/flights including any layovers between change of planes.  However each airline does have the right to require you to have enough battery power to last beyond the number of hours of your flight. Currently most airlines require you to have enough batteries to last 150% of the flight time including any layover time you may have.Inogen One G3 Portable Oxygen Concentrator
  • Airlines are not required to allow a passenger to use an AC outlet that may be located at their seat to power a portable oxygen concentrator. Most airlines will not allow you to use it and even if they do, they will not reduce the amount of hours you need battery power.
  • FAA regulations prohibits a person using a portable oxygen concentrator from sitting in an exit row.
  • FAA regulations state that during movement on the surface, takeoff, and landing, the POC must either be stowed under the seat in front of the user, or in another approved storage location, so as not to block the aisle way or entry way into a row.
  • FAA requires that a POC user have at least 7 feet of tubing, which is long enough to allow a passenger to use a device stowed under a seat.
  • All spare Lithium batteries must be carried in the cabin in carried-on baggage and not packed and checked in with baggage.
  • All portable oxygen concentrators that come to market from May 24, 2016  and forward must carry a label stating "The manufacturer of this POC has determined this device conforms to all applicable FAA acceptance criteria for POC carriage and use on board aircraft". This label requirement does not apply to the following POCs approved prior to May 24, 2016:
    • AirSep Focus
    • AirSep FreeStyle
    • AirSep FreeStyle 5
    • AirSep LifeStyle
    • Delphi RS-00400
    • DeVilbiss Healthcare iGo
    • Inogen One
    • Inogen One G2
    • Inogen One G3
    • Inova Labs LifeChoice
    • Inova Labs LIfeChoice Activox
    • International Biophysic LifeChoice
    • Invacare Solo2
    • Invacare XPO2
    • OxlifeIndependence Philips Respironics SimplyGo Portable Oxygen Concentrator
    • Oxus RS-00400
    • Precision Medical EasyPulse
    • Respironics EverGo
    • Respironics SimplyGo
    • SeQual Eclipse
    • SeQual eQuinox
    • SeQual Oxywell
    • SeQual SAROS
    • VBox Trooper

Oxygen patients should be aware that aircraft are pressurized to an altitude of 8,000 feet.  Many patients that are use to using their oxygen concentrator at sea level will find that they need to increase their flow rate in flight in order to maintain their oxygen saturation. You should be aware that as you increase the flow rate on a portable oxygen concentrator the length of time a battery will last will decrease and plan on this event when computing the number of batteries needed for a flight. 

Some airlines will require a passenger using a portable oxygen concentrator to sit in a seat next to a window so as not to block a fellow passengers ability to exit a row.

As stated the FAA does not require that you have a physician statement to bring a portable oxygen concentrator on board and use it.  This is left to the discretion of each airline.  We find that most do require a physician's prescription. Please check with your airline when you book your flight.  Many airlines have a specific prescription form that they require.  You will find below, links to print off the required prescription used by many airlines.

Oxygen Prescriptions Required by Certain Airlines

AeroMexico, Air France/KLM, Air India, Alaska Airlines, Alitalia, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, Delta, EL Al, Finn Air, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Air, Jet Blue, Korean Air, Lan Air, Malaysia Air, Philippine Airlines, Qantas, Qater Airways, SAS, Saudia Air, Singapore Air, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Air, Swiss Air, United Airlines, Virgin America, Virgin Australia

If your airline is not listed above you should be able to use the Standard Medical Information Form (MEDIF) listed below.  We encourage you to check with your airline to confirm it is acceptable.

Standard Medical Information Form (MEDIF)

If you would like to read the entire FAA Regulations for Portable Oxygen Concentrators as printed in the Federal Register you can download it here:

Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) May 24, 2016 Acceptance Criteria for Portable Oxygen Concentrators Used On Board Aircraft

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