For those dependent on supplemental oxygen, traveling poses more challenges than for the average traveler, especially when flying is necessary to arrive at the final destination. Certain conditions require a patient to use supplemental oxygen at all times; other conditions may only require its use when flying, due to the decreased amount of oxygen available in the pressurized cabin of a plane. Suffice it to say, for those with breathing- and lung-related considerations, travel by air requires some extra planning and preparation.
Determining if you Require Supplemental Oxygen In-Flight
When flying, passengers are exposed to decreased air pressure and lower-than-normal oxygen levels. For the average person, these changes are noticeable, but not problematic. For those with conditions or diseases that cause low oxygen levels, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), oxygen supplementation may be required in-flight – even if the passenger does not use oxygen regularly. The best way to determine a need for in-flight oxygen supplementation is to consult a doctor or health care provider. Tests are readily available to assess pulmonary fitness for decreased-oxygen environments.
Understanding Airline Guidelines and Restrictions
The Airline Oxygen Council of America, a coalition of individuals and organizations whose objective is to ease air travel for those who require supplemental oxygen, have compiled a host of information on their website. Here, you will find not only a list of Department of Transportation-approved Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POCs), but also general travel tips, airline-specific guidelines, and a printable Physician Statement, which may be required by the airlines.
While all flights that either take off or land in the United States must allow DOT-approved POCs to be carried on and used in flight, there are considerations and preparations to make in advance. In addition, many airlines require notification of this type of carry-on – at least two weeks notice is widely suggested.
What to Expect from TSA
In the past several years, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has developed the program TSA Cares to better assist travelers with disabilities and medical conditions. To most easily expedite the pre-flight screening process at the airport, TSA recommends passengers call 72 hours ahead of their intended departure time for information about what to expect. TSA Cares can be contacted prior to traveling at (855) 787-2227 with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint.
Symbius Medical provides a wide variety of respiratory products and services to our customers from oxygen concentrators and related supplies throughout Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah. We work with a variety of manufacturers to provide you with the best products available on the market today and our Respiratory Therapists and clinical staff are trained to provide you with the education you need to use your equipment to improve the quality of your life.
Our highly trained Respiratory Therapists or Patient Service Technicians will provide you with:
- Free at home evaluation
- Free delivery and set up
- Explain how to use the medical equipment you have been prescribed
- Make sure you are comfortable operating your prescribed equipment
- Understand how to clean and care for your medical equipment
- Answer any questions you or your caregiver may have
Our customer service department is available to answer your questions and we will even take care of processing your insurance claim with your primary or secondary insurance provider.