Got travel plans? If you use supplemental oxygen, preparing ahead of time can help make your trip safer and less stressful. First, be sure to check with your provider to make sure it’s OK for you to travel. And consider the following guidelines before taking a trip by air or land.
On a plane
Most airlines do not allow the use of personal oxygen units containing compressed or liquid oxygen. Certain approved portable oxygen concentrators may be permitted, however. Some airlines may require you to use oxygen provided by the airline at an additional charge.
If you need to make special arrangements for using oxygen on the plane, many airlines require you to do so at least 48 hours in advance. Before you buy a ticket, call your airline to see what their policy is and which oxygen devices are approved for use.
Don’t forget to plan for your time in the airport, too. Anyone assisting you through security will need a valid pass from your airline that shows they have permission to help you. If you will be using oxygen provided by the airline while in flight, you’ll need to have someone who can take the oxygen from you at the gate area when you board the plane.
Also arrange for someone to meet you with oxygen once you arrive at your destination. If you don’t have a direct flight to your destination, arrange for a local oxygen supplier to meet you at the airport during your layover. Airlines don’t provide you with oxygen while you are on the ground.
In a car
You’ll need to stop for oxygen refills along the way, so check with your regular supplier before your trip to find out where this service is available. If you plan to stay overnight in a motel, call ahead to let them know you’ll be using oxygen in the room.
Once on the road, it’s important to travel safely with your equipment. Keep the tank upright and away from heat and flames. Don’t store oxygen in the trunk or leave it in the car, where it may get overheated.
Call the bus line in advance to find out about its rules. If you need to travel with someone to help you with your oxygen, some companies will allow a companion to travel for free with a letter from your provider. Be sure to ask about this policy when you call.
Most train lines will require you to give advance notice if you’ll be traveling with oxygen, and your equipment must meet specific requirements. In addition, your oxygen equipment cannot rely on the train as its only source of power. It must be able to operate on its own without power from the train for at least four hours.