Traveling while you are on oxygen therapy usually is
possible if you plan ahead.
Start by seeing your doctor several weeks to months before your travel date. Ask him or her to:
Figure out how much oxygen you will need.
Give you the medical forms that are needed for travel.
Recommend a doctor in the places where you will travel, in case you need medical care during your trip.
Travel by plane
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved several
models of portable oxygen concentrators that can be brought on an airplane. Whether you rent the device or use your own, it must be FAA-approved. Make sure that you bring enough batteries to power your device before, during, and after your flight. And bring extra batteries in case you have travel delays.
You cannot take your own oxygen tanks
on an airplane. You may be able to pack empty oxygen tanks in your checked luggage. You
can get these filled at your destination. The airline will supply oxygen while
you are in flight but may charge you for it. You will likely have to pay for
oxygen for each leg of a trip. And airlines usually do not supply oxygen during
layovers, so try to book a direct flight.
At least 2 weeks before your
flight, notify the airline that you will need oxygen. You will need a medical
release from your doctor stating that you are able to fly. You will also need a
prescription that lists the flow rate and amount of oxygen you use. If you use
a portable oxygen concentrator, you will need to be able to respond to any
alarms on the device.
If you need oxygen during a layover, you
should arrange for your oxygen supplier to bring tanks to the
Think about asking a friend or relative to travel with you. He or she can help you with all the details.
For more information, go to the Airline Oxygen Council of America website at www.airlineoxygencouncil.org. Or call the Transportation Security Administration TSA Cares helpline at 1-855-787-2227 (toll-free).
Travel by cruise ship
You can take your own oxygen tanks or concentrator on a cruise
ship. Or you can arrange for a supplier to deliver oxygen to the ship before it
leaves the dock. You should take enough oxygen to last the entire
About 2 to 3 weeks before you travel, notify the cruise
line about your oxygen needs. Bring a medical release from your doctor stating
that you are able to take a cruise. You will also need a prescription that
lists the flow rate and amount of oxygen you use.
If you plan to
leave the ship to go sightseeing, you may want to have an oxygen supplier bring
a tank for you to use while you are onshore.
If you need to have a
supplier deliver oxygen for your cruise, it is best to leave from and return to
the same city. If you don't, you may have to pay to ship the oxygen equipment
back to the city where the ship originally departed.
Travel by train or bus
You can take your own oxygen equipment on a bus or
train. But there may be a weight limit. You may need to bring extra batteries. Be sure you learn the rules before you travel.
Notify the train or bus company that you will be traveling
with oxygen. Bring a medical release from your doctor stating that you are able
to travel. You may also need a prescription that lists the flow rate and amount
of oxygen you use.
Make sure that the bus or train stops at cities
where you can get your tanks refilled, if needed.
You may not always have electricity available, so bring a battery backup
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.