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.
Commercial airlines must provide a cabin pressure altitude of no more than 8,000 feet of altitude. Your pulmonologist can determine if air travel is safe for you. Your pulmonologist may order an altitude simulation test to help determine your ability to fly safely at this cabin pressure.
If you are going to need oxygen in flight, you must make arrangements with the airline well ahead of time. You can use either the on-board oxygen supply.
The airline will require a physician’s statement. The airlines generally have their own form for the doctor to complete.
Some tips for air travel with POCs:
- Start making arrangements with the airline well ahead of time to find out which POC is allowed. Many airlines list accepted manufacturers and brands on their websites.
- Allow plenty of extra time for check-in.
- Carry several extra battery packs. FAA regulations require enough battery time to cover 150 percent of the flight time.
- POCs and battery packs can be rented for travel, along with your POC.
- Carry an extra three-way plug for recharging your POC in the airport. People often need to recharge their electronic equipment in the airport during layovers, and this will help assure that you will be able to recharge yours.
- POCs are exempt from the carry-on count.
- Carry a prescription for oxygen, signed by your doctor.
For more information about POCs and air travel, go to www.oxygenworldwide.com