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The Complete Checklist for Flying With a Portable Oxygen Concentrator

The Complete Checklist for Flying with a Portable Oxygen Concentrator


If you're flying with a portable oxygen concentrator, this checklist has everything you need to cross off your list before, during, and after your flight!


Traveling with a portable oxygen concentrator (POC) can sometimes be a daunting task, especially considering all the extra rules and regulations associated with bringing one on your flight. We’ve created a handy-dandy, detailed checklist for you so that you’re able to travel with peace of mind and have a stress-free trip. We’ve even got a printable version of this checklist available to download at the end of this post so you can stay on top of things! You really don’t need to spend hours searching the web to prepare yourself. It’s all laid out for you here— everything you need to do before, during, and after your flight to ensure that you’re taken care of every step of the way.

Oh yes, we heard that sigh of relief!

Before Your Flight


If you're flying with a portable oxygen concentrator, this checklist has everything you need to cross off your list before, during, and after your flight!


Check your airline’s POC user guidelines and consult your doctor to make sure you are fit to fly.

Each airline is unique and will list different specifications and requirements for boarding their plane with your portable oxygen concentrator. Go to your airlines’ website for all the details, or browse Liberty Medical’s travel oxygen blog to find articles that list the specific POC regulations for every major US airline. Many airlines will require you to obtain a written note from your physician listing the details of your diagnosis and oxygen prescription. Have this note on your person when you board your flight. You’ll want this statement to include:

  • When you need oxygen. Only at certain times? When specific conditions worsen? For your whole flight?
  • The oxygen flow rate you require. While you’re in the air, what is the maximum flow rate (LPM) you need to feel comfortable? Does it need to be a continuous flow or are you able to use the pulse dose setting?
  • Record how well you respond to your POC. Can you see and hear your portable oxygen concentrator’s alarms and respond to them without assistance?

Many airlines will even include a medical form on their website that you and your doctor must fill out and submit to the airline 48-72 before your scheduled flight. To make this process easier on you, we’ve taken it a step further and will gladly fax this form to your physician to be completed on your behalf. Be sure to obtain a physician’s statement for each different airline you will be flying on for the duration of your trip if any other airlines require it.

For a few additional tips, remember to pack enough medication in your carry-on to last you your entire trip. Always take your emergency contact information with you and wear emergency medical identification when necessary.



Make sure your specific POC device complies with FAA standards.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not allow passengers to bring liquid oxygen or portable oxygen tanks on flights by any means. You can, however, bring your portable oxygen concentrator on-board with you. Check out the FAA’s list of approved POC machines so you can make a purchase or rent one with Liberty Medical that fully complies with this list. Some airlines offer supplemental medical oxygen on their flights, but this is not guaranteed and cannot be reserved. So make sure your trusty POC is approved and can come with you!


Understand the battery requirements your specific airline requests.

Once you have an approved machine, look over your airlines’ in-flight POC usage regulations once more to determine how much battery life is required for the duration of your flight. Some airlines will allow you to charge your device aboard their flight, but it is far better to come prepared with all the battery juice you’ll need. Charging any device on a plane is often a slow and cumbersome process that should be avoided.

Most airlines advise passengers to have their POC prepared with 150% battery life for a flight. So, say your flight is four hours long. You will need six hours of battery life to meet the requirement. Remember that every airline is different and check if their rule for battery life is different from this. Be sure to add any foreseeable delays and layover times to your needed battery life, just in case! Feel free to charge your device during layovers if needed. Keep in mind that booking a direct flight is best when traveling with a POC.

If you need to bring extra batteries onto your flight, you must safeguard them against short circuiting by taping over their terminals or leaving them in their original packages. However, the easiest way to do this is to place each of them in separate plastic bags. Make sure you bring these onto the plane with you, as extra batteries are never allowed to be transported in checked baggage under the aircraft. Always bring at least two batteries on every flight in case one loses its battery life or malfunctions.


Know how to get through TSA with your device easily and quickly.

If your doctor permits you to pack your portable oxygen concentrator in your checked baggage (meaning you won’t need it on your flight), you can do so to make the TSA screening process easier. Also check with your physician if it’s alright for you to disconnect from your device during screening. If you’re given the official OK, you will be able to pass through the metal detector, send your device down the conveyor belt to the X-ray, and you’ll be on your merry way. In the case that you cannot disconnect from your POC device during the screening process, TSA will instead use a pat-down procedure to ensure nothing sets off the metal detector’s alarms. Your travel oxygen device and extra batteries do not count against your allowed carry-on baggage.


During Your Flight


If you're flying with a portable oxygen concentrator, this checklist has everything you need to cross off your list before, during, and after your flight!


Board your plane early to get situated with your POC without too many passengers around you.

Make sure you ask the airline desk if you can be one of the first to board the plane (if you aren’t guaranteed it already) so that you don’t have to deal with navigating a crowded plane with your device in tow. The best place to store your POC is under the seat in front of you with the cannula neatly placed next to it. We wouldn’t want you or another passenger to trip on anything! Don’t put anything on top of your machine so that the air intakes aren’t blocked, which could lead to overheating and system shutdown.


Know your machine and carry its user manual.

You never know what technical issues might arise, so always carry your portable oxygen concentrator’s user manual in case you need to sort out a problem. Some FAA approved units have user manuals on their websites that can be downloaded and printed. Take advantage of that if you don’t already have your manual. Always bring a pulse oximeter on your flight with you so your oxygen levels can be measured as the altitude changes.


Change your seating arrangement if necessary.

If you are assigned to sit in an exit row, ask a flight attendant if you can switch seats with someone. The FAA prohibits POC users from sitting in exit rows in case of an aircraft emergency.


After Your Flight


If you're flying with a portable oxygen concentrator, this checklist has everything you need to cross off your list before, during, and after your flight!


At the end of your trip, recharge all your batteries.

This can take some time! Once your awesome trip starts to come to a close, begin charging your portable oxygen concentrator’s batteries and any spare batteries before your scheduled return flight. If you have some time at the airport while you wait for your flight, you can charge your batteries there too.


Make sure you stay organized during your trip.

Keep all your manuals and documents in case you need to present them before your return flight, especially if the airline is different from the one you left on!


Have a Safe Flight and a Fun Trip!


You are now fully equipped to travel with your portable oxygen concentrator in a completely safe, smart, and efficient manner! Follow these guidelines and be sure to notify your airline(s) well in advance about your medical conditions and travel plans to ensure that your trip goes as smoothly as possible. You can relax knowing you’ve taken care of everything without experiencing the unnecessary extra stress that travel can sometimes bring. Your trip, whether for business or pleasure, is going to be the best.

To stay organized, we’ve created a printable checklist for you to help you prepare for your trip!

Download My POC Pre-Flight Checklist

My POC Pre-Flight Checklist - Liberty Medical


Remember, our technical support team is available 24/7 to help you in any way they can! Call us at 1-800-375-6060.

Have a safe and enjoyable flight while you travel!


1 Comment

  1. Anonymous on August 2, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    I luv this!!

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