There are 3 main elements to flying with Portable Oxygen Concentrators. The equipment must be FAA Approved, bring enough batteries to meet the airlines requirements, and having a signed airline specific physician statement.
- FAA Approved Device: Currently there are 12 FAA Approved Portable Oxygen Concentrators. Most have a label stating it is FAA approved for in flight use. There are a few machines awaiting approval. Compressed gas oxygen tanks or liquid oxygen portable units are forbidden on commercial flights. An FAA approved portable oxygen concentrator is only allowed to bring on and use.
- Batteries: Most airlines require 150% of the flight time to equal your battery time. So, if its a 4 hour flight, 6 hours of battery time is needed to meet the airlines requirements. Each portable oxygen concentrator has different settings for different liter flows. Higher flows mean less battery time. Click here for a battery duration chart of all the current FAA Approved Portable Oxygen Concentrator’s. Some airlines like United & Continental have different rules regarding the batteries. There rule is travel time plus 3 hours. So, a 4 hour flight requires 7 hours of battery time. Other airlines may not count a stop somewhere, United & Continental do. Travel time includes any stops along the way. Ensure you check with your airlines website regarding there specific battery requirements.
- The Physician Statemet: Each airline has there own specific Physician Statement, check your airlines website for a PDF to download and have your doctor review and sign. This one page document must be carried with you on the plane. It states that the patient can use a Portable Oxygen Concentrator for various or all stages of travel. There is a place for the doctor to establish a Liter Flow or LPM for the flight. Some people use the same flow rates in the air as on the ground. Some people need higher flow rates in the air than on the ground. It is important to know exactly what your needs are for the trip. Some airlines like Delta, have a 3rd party to review your statement that was signed by your doctor. Delta and this 3rd party require a 48 hour notice to approve your document is filled out correctly. You may be flying on multiple airlines, ensure you have each airlines specific physician statement about using a portable oxygen concentrator with you, one for each carrier your flying on.
Planning is key to a successful trip while using a portable oxygen concentrator. Advanced Aeromedical is a great source for information about traveling with oxygen. Advanced Aeromedical rents and sells FAA Approved Portable Oxygen Concentrators. Call us at 800-346-3556 or check out aeromedic.com