Patient Education - Traveling With Oxygen

Patient Education - Traveling With Oxygen

Traveling with oxygen has become much easier with the development of portable oxygen concentrators (POCs). These devices run on a battery pack, can be recharged, plugged into the wall or a cigarette lighter in a car, and can be taken on airplanes.

There are several makes and models, with widely differing features, so it is important to choose the one that is best for you, that delivers enough oxygen to keep your saturation 90 percent or greater at rest and with activity. 


Oxygen Needs and Air Travel

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. They may require a doctor’s letter to verify the need for the POC on the plane. 

Tips for air travel with POCs:

  • Start making arrangements with the airline well ahead of time to find out which POC's are allowed. Most airlines list accepted manufacturers and brands on their websites. Your POC will have a FAA Approved label attached to it.  When in doubt, call the airline directly to find out.
  • Allow plenty of extra time for check-in just in case you are delayed by security.
  • Carry extra batteries. The FAA requires all POC travelers have enough battery time to cover 150% of the total flight time.  That includes layovers.
  • Take your AC Wall Charger for recharging your POC in the airport. 
  • POCs are exempt from the carry-on count.  Use your carry-on to bring those batteries and accessories.
  • Carry a copy of your prescription signed by your doctor.