Traveling With A Portable Oxygen Concentrator

March 3, 2020
Man on a beach with oxygen concentrator

While flight regulations are constantly changing and at times confusing, patients requiring oxygen therapy should not have to live a restricted lifestyle. Portable oxygen concentrators give you the freedom to make all your vacation plans without worries. You can take sightseeing road trips, hop a flight to see friends and family, and even travel abroad all while maintaining your oxygen therapy. You just need to know a few tips to make your trip easier and hassle-free.

Traveling by Car with an Oxygen Concentrator

Portable oxygen concentrator technology makes cross-country road trips effortless. Most portable oxygen concentrators come with DC power supplies so you can plug in at your convenience, directly from your car’s DC port or cigarette lighter. You can even recharge your batteries at motels or rest stops with the included AC power supply. 

Be prepared. Know how long your trip will take and how many stops you have planned. You can estimate how much battery life you have between stops, but it might not hurt to bring a backup. Also, never leave your unit in the car in extreme hot or cold temperatures as this can compromise performance.

Traveling by Airplane with an Oxygen Concentrator

Traveling by air is easy with a portable oxygen concentrator if you follow some essential tips to prevent delays. 

Things to Consider Before the Flight

Make sure your portable oxygen concentrator is FAA approved. You may even notify your airline to see if your unit meets compliance. Some airlines may require a physician’s note for oxygen therapy. If you are going on a long flight, you may wish to contact your airline about charging ports. Airlines may or may not have them, so it’s best to depend on a robust battery source. It doesn’t hurt to bring extra batteries as well. 

Things to Consider During the Flight

Be sure to store your oxygen concentrator properly while in flight. Under the seat in front of you is the best storage strategy. You can hear and see any alerts from your unit and a long cannula lets you use your oxygen concentrator without inconveniencing other passengers.

Be sure to bring your unit’s manual in case there is a technical issue that you have never experienced before. Having the manual handy lets you troubleshoot. 

Things to Consider After the Flight

Be sure to recharge or replace your batteries once you step off the plane. You want your oxygen concentrator to continue delivering a consistent supply of oxygen without delay at your travel destination. 

Traveling Internationally with an Oxygen Concentrator

The standardized outlet in the United States makes it easy to recharge your oxygen concentrator anywhere. That’s not always the case outside the U.S. Check your manual to see if you will need an international adapter when traveling to other countries. 

Choosing The Best Portable Oxygen Concentrators for Travel

Select a portable oxygen concentrator that is lightweight and compact. You want a unit that is easy to carry and easy to pack. Choose one with long battery life that is easy to charge so you can keep your portable oxygen concentrator working effectively on every type of trip. Having a unit that is FAA approved prevents air travel delays. One that works at high altitudes also ensures reliable oxygen therapy while flying. 

Here are some top picks for travelers who need oxygen therapy.

Philips Respironics SimplyGo Mini Portable Oxygen Concentrator

  • Up to 12 hours of use with the Extended Battery, depending on treatment
  • Only 6 lbs. with the Extended Battery
  • Works at an altitude of up to 10,000 feet.

Inogen One G4 Portable Concentrator

  • Only 3.3 lbs. with the Extended Battery
  • Treatment up to Pulse 3
  • Quiet; only 40 dbA

DeVilbiss iGo Portable Oxygen Concentrator with Wheeled Case

  • Pulse and Continuous Flow options
  • Works at altitudes of up to 13,123 feet
  • Delivers oxygen of 91% ± 3% for all flow settings

Still have questions about traveling with oxygen therapy? Our knowledgeable team is available by phone or email to answer any questions you may have and to help you find the right equipment for the best therapy solution for you!

Chris Vasta

Chris Vasta is the president of The CPAP Shop and an expert in sleep and respiratory therapy. He often provides insights on product design and functionality on various manufacturers’ prototypes and is frequently tapped to provide reviews on new releases.