9 Tips for Using Travel Oxygen

Portable Oxygen Concentrators

Patients who require oxygen can now travel freely and comfortably due to recent advances in portable oxygen technology. For a long time, use of travel oxygen was limited to quick domestic flights or short road trips. Now, with longer-lasting batteries and portable, travel-friendly units, you can take oxygen on domestic or international flights, cruises, car, bus, and train rides.

Note: All the portable oxygen concentrators sold at The Oxygen Concentrator Shop are FAA-approved for air travel.

Traveling with oxygen has never been so easy and convenient.

If you are set to travel and need a portable oxygen concentrator, here are a few tips to ensure a smooth, stress-free trip:

Confirm your travel plans with your physician.

Before you book your next trip, talk to your physician and confirm that you are approved to use travel oxygen. Your physician would best know the specifics of your condition and can offer recommendations or outline limitations.

Expert Tip! If your trip takes you to an elevated area, check your portable oxygen concentrator’s maximum altitude restrictions to make sure it will work safely.

Contact your airline about requirements.

After you book your flight, contact the airline to review their specific requirements. Each airline may have their own set of policies regarding use of travel oxygen. You want to make sure that you understand what the airline will ask of you and come prepared with the appropriate paperwork. Keep that documentation together and easily accessible prior to your flight.

Bring your prescription.

As a rule of thumb, it is best to carry your prescription with you prior to flying on an airplane. In some cases, an airline may also require your doctor to complete an independent form outlining your need for the oxygen concentrator.

Confirm your battery life.

When it comes to flying, you should make sure that you have battery life to last you 1.5 times the duration of your flight. For example, if you are taking a 3-hour flight, your battery will need to last 4.5 hours while your machine is running at its prescribed setting.

Pack your AC and DC power cords and keep them handy. Try to keep your unit plugged in and charging as long as possible. As soon as you get in the car, keep your unit plugged into the DC power outlet. If you are waiting to board your flight, find an outlet and charge your machine. This ensures you are starting off your travel with a fully charged unit.

Expert Tip! It is a good idea to carry a back-up battery in case there are any issues with the first one. Make sure you are comfortable switching the batteries in your machine.

Stay charged.

Care on the road.

When traveling via car, bus, or train, do not leave your unit unattended while you step out. Vehicle temperatures can exceed 100° F in the summer months and the heat can damage sensitive technology.

Expert Tip! When traveling by car, bus, or train, keep a window cracked open to allow for airflow. This prevents oxygen from building up and is important for oxygen tanks and liquid oxygen users.

Pack well.

In addition to your power cords, be sure to pack all the other oxygen essentials. Pack extra nasal cannulas and filters, if your portable oxygen concentrator requires it. If you use a CPAP/BiPAP machine, pack an extra bleed-in adapter and oxygen tubing. Double-check that you have packed any other medication that you need and keep your doctor’s contact information with you in case you run into any issues. Finally, carry an emergency medical ID, especially if traveling alone.

Research your route.

Take the time to research your destination or the route you are taking to reach your destination. Make note of nearby oxygen suppliers and keep their contact information handy.

No smoking.

To reiterate, it is important that there is no smoking (by you or your travel companions) in the car or any other vehicle that is carrying your oxygen equipment.