Flying with a lung condition
What happens to my body if there's less oxygen in the plane?
The air pressure within the cabin of an aircraft in the air is not the same as the air pressure on earth, meaning that when you fly, oxygen will not enter your body as easily as it normally would. You may feel breathless and your chest may feel a little tight, especially on long-haul flights. But, fewer people face issues when travelling with the correct medical advice and precautions.
Can I fly with an oxygen tank?
No, not with an oxygen tank as for safety reasons liquid oxygen and oxygen tanks are prohibited onboard any commercial aircraft. In order to fly with oxygen, most airlines accept a portable oxygen concentrator, just remember to charge those batteries before your flight. You should inform your doctor before you fly and the airline you’re flying with in regards to their policy on this.
Inform Alternative Airlines that you need to carry oxygen on your flight in advance an well before your day of departure. You should state that you intend to use your own POC during the flight and clearly specify the approved manufacturer and model.
Do I need to take a prescription or doctor's note?
If you require additional oxygen onboard your plane, some airlines may ask you to show them a prescription or doctor's note at the airport. These documents show that you are healthy enough to fly. If you do not have the satisfactory documentation, the airline is prohibited from allowing you to board. A copy of your prescription and doctor's note are required for you to fly with oxygen. Some airlines have a pre-made form you can print and have your doctor complete. You must carry your concentrator with you and show it to the airline employees as required.
The FAA doesn't require passengers travelling with POCs to who a prescription or doctor's note, however, some airlines still want you to provide one, and others want you to also show before boarding that you can respond to your POCs alarms and use it correctly. Passengers using POCs must not sit in exit rows, and POCs shouldn't block another passenger's access to seats or to the cabin aisles. Some airlines such as Southwest Airlines, are more specific and require passengers with a POC to sit in a window seat. If you're flying with the following airlines Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines make sure to check their websites as they update their rules quite often.
Do I need to keep smoke away from my equipment?
Absolutely, when you're carrying your POC to and from the airport, there shouldn't be any smoking near the equipment. Oxygen is flammable and can cause fatal injuries.
What do I need to consider when buying or renting a POC?
You must carry an FAA-approved POC. The label must have the following in red text: “The manufacturer of this portable oxygen concentrator has determined this device conforms to all applicable FAA requirements for portable oxygen concentrator carriage and use onboard aircraft.” Airline staff can look for this label to decide whether or not the POC may be used on the plane.
How much POC battery life should I fly with?
The FAA on nearly all domestic flights wants you to have 150% of your flight time in battery life which includes time spent on the aircraft, as well as at the gate, take-off, in-air, landing and other delays. Most airlines want you to have enough batteries to power your POC for flight time plus three hours. Other airlines don't need to let you connect your POC into an electrical system on the aircraft.