For many people receiving oxygen therapy, a portable oxygen concentrator is the preferred delivery method because of the mobility and freedom to travel they afford the user. One of the most popular questions oxygen users ask is whether they can travel by air with their portable oxygen concentrator or not. The good news is that the Federal Aviation Administration (or, FAA) allows some makes and models of POC's to accompany travelers on an airplane.
The FAA's decision to investigate whether travel by air with a portable oxygen concentrator was safe came in response to the intense pressure from Americans who rely on oxygen treatment daily. Portable oxygen concentrators have been approved for use on-board aircraft because, unlike their compressed-oxygen predecessors, they do not pose a risk to other passengers.
Some of the portable oxygen concentrators that are approved for use on-board planes include: Inogen One G2 Portable Oxygen Concentrator with the lowest weight at only 7.25 pounds, SeQual Eclipse Portable Oxygen Concentrator with 5 year warranty, Invacare SOLO2 Travel Oxygen Concentrator with 3 LPM continuous oxygen flow and 1.8 LPM pulse oxygen, Invacare XPO2 Portable Oxygen Concentrator with the lowest power consumption, Respironics EverGo with 4 hours of battery life before requiring a recharge, Oxlife Independence the first true 24/7 oxygen concentrator with the longest battery life (5.75 hours) and a durable metal cabinet, Lifechoice Concentrator with the smallest size, and the DeVillbiss iGo with an operating altitude of 13,123 feet above sea level.
It is important to note that despite these advances, not every airline allows portable oxygen concentrators on-board. To be sure you won't run into any trouble, passengers are advised to check with the airline no less than 48 hours before your flight is set to depart if you require a POC for travel.
Currently, the following airlines (in alphabetical order) allow travel by air with portable oxygen concentrators:
South West Airlines
West Jet Airlines
Even if the airline you intend to travel on is listed above, however, you still need to provide a signed doctor's note outlining that you require your portable oxygen concentrator. The note must indicate that you can adequately respond to alarms, to see and hear effectively, and whether your oxygen is required for all or part of the trip. In addition, your doctor should specify the required flow taking into consideration the pressure in the airplane cabin. You can find a template for a doctor's note for this purpose at the following link: Portable Oxygen Airline Use Physician’s Note. Simply ask your doctor to fill out and sign the form well in advance of your travel plans.
The FAA's decision to allow passengers to travel by air with their portable oxygen concentrators was largely based on the advances made in oxygen concentrator technology. Previously, compressed oxygen tanks were not permitted on aircraft because of the potential for them to explode under the variable pressures of the cabin. These days, however, it is possible for oxygen therapy patients to travel by air with their portable oxygen concentrators which pose a very minimal risk compared with compressed tanks. In fact, it's not only possible, it's easy.
If you are looking to travel by air in the future and would like to buy a Portable Oxygen Concentrator, consider buying from an Online Medical Supply source like Vitality Medical. They have a variety of choices that will have you traveling again by airline in no time!