Patients requiring oxygen therapy are now able to take full advantage of traveling because of the advances in portable oxygen technology. No longer are they limited to quick domestic flights or short road trips.
Oxygen therapy patients are able to enjoy traveling via international flights, cruises, car, bus, and train by keeping these 10 tips in mind.
1. Contact the Travel Company/Airline
This is incredibly important and best to do several weeks before your trip, if not at the time your trip is booked. Each company/airline is different and may have their own policies and procedures when it comes to traveling with oxygen concentrators. So be sure to thoroughly understand their specific rules and requirements.
2. Extra Battery/Battery Life
When it comes to flying, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that you have enough battery life for your concentrator for at least 150% of your flight time. So if your flight is 4 hours, you must have at least 6 hours of battery time. It is a good idea to carry an additional backup battery (or two), just in case there are issues with the first battery. This isn’t nearly as critical with car travel, but best practices include extra battery life.
3. Charge It While You Wait
It’s a good idea to keep your unit plugged in and charging as long as possible. While you wait to board your flight (initial or during a layover), find an outlet and charge your unit. Keep your AC power supplies with you, packed in your carryon luggage.
4. Charge As You Go
Many portable concentrators come with a DC power supply that plugs into a cigarette lighter. Most units will charge when plugged in this way. While driving, keep your unit plugged in for a full battery. Keep your DC power supplies with you.
5. FAA Approved Equipment
If you are traveling by plane, it is required that you have (purchased or rented) an FAA approved oxygen concentrator. Because of safety reasons, oxygen tanks and liquid oxygen are prohibited on flights.
6. No Smoking
It is absolutely imperative that there is no smoking in the car (or other means of transportation) with your oxygen equipment. Including any other passengers in the vehicle. This can lead to detrimental, even fatal, injuries.
7. Take It With You
When traveling via car, bus, and train, it is important to not leave your unit in the car. In warm summer months, cars can easily reach 100˚ F or warmer. Many units, manufactured nowadays, have sensitive technology that can be damaged by intense heat.
8. Crack a Window
Keeping a window cracked in the car, bus or train allows airflow to keep moving, preventing oxygen from building up. This is very important for oxygen tank and liquid oxygen users.
9. Research Your Route
Be sure to research oxygen suppliers along your route and around your destination. Keeping their information on hand in case of an emergency.
10. Bring Along Your Prescription
In order to travel with your oxygen concentrator, you may be required at some point to show your prescription and potentially a doctor’s note. Verify you have the correct documentation prior to your travel day.