Under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) US airlines are required to accept approved models of portable oxygen concentrators for use on their flights that operate on aircraft with 19 or more seats. This also applies to foreign air carriers on aircraft of the same size, on flights to and from the US. And although flying with a portable oxygen concentrator is much easier than arranging for airline-provided oxygen, there are still a number of rules and regulations to follow. With that in mind, here’s a brief rundown on the accepted models, as well as the procedure for flying with a portable oxygen concentrator.
As of May 13, 2009, the ACAA requires covered airlines to accept portable oxygen concentrators that have been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The device must include the following statement 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 on board aircraft.”
That said the following models are acceptable even if they lack a FAA label.
- AirSep Focus
- AirSep FreeStyle
- AirSep FreeStyle 5
- AirSep LifeStyle
- Delphi RS-00400
- DeVilbiss Healthcare iGo
- Inogen One
- Inogen One G2
- Inogen One G3
- Inova Labs LifeChoice
- Inova Labs LifeChoice Activox
- International Biophysics LifeChoice
- Invacare Solo2
- Invacare XPO2
- Oxlife Independence Oxygen Concentrator
- Oxus RS-00400
- Precision Medical EasyPulse
- Respironics EverGo
- Respironics SimplyGo
- SeQual Eclipse
- SeQual eQuinox Oxygen System (model 4000)
- SeQual Oxywell Oxygen System (model 4000)
- SeQual SAROS
- VBox Trooper Oxygen Concentrator
If your POC isn’t on the list, or labeled as FAA-approved, check with the manufacturer to determine the status of the unit. And if you are thinking of purchasing a POC, make sure the model you intend to buy is on the list, if you plan to fly in the future.
Flying the Friendly Skies
As with all types of accessible travel, advance planning is a must when flying with a portable oxygen concentrator. Passengers are required to give the airlines 48 hours advance notice and check-in one hour prior to the general boarding requirements.
It’s best to give the airline as much advance notice as possible though, if you plan to travel with a portable oxygen concentrator. Some airlines require customers to fill out time-consuming forms regarding their portable oxygen concentrators, and many airlines also require medical clearance for use aboard the aircraft. Contact your airline for specific details on the pre-trip requirements.
It’s the passenger’s responsibility to make sure the portable oxygen concentrator is in good working order and free of grease and oil. Additionally, passengers must travel with enough batteries in their carry-on luggage to ensure uninterrupted operation of the portable oxygen concentrator for at least 150 percent of the expected maximum flight duration. The batteries must either have recessed terminals or be packaged so that the terminals do not come in contact with metal objects.
Passengers who use a portable oxygen concentrator cannot occupy an exit row seat. Some airlines have specific seating requirements; however the portable oxygen concentrator can never encroach on another passenger’s space.
Although the whole procedure seems a bit complicated, once you’ve done it a few times it will become old hat. In the end, portable oxygen concentrators present a viable option for many travelers, so check with you doctor to see if one will work for you. In the long run, it will give you much more freedom.