One of the most common excuses for not wanting to use CPAP is that “I travel a lot.” Even after I explain that many people travel just fine with their CPAP machines, some people are still reluctant. With advances in technology and increased awareness by the lay public, government officials and medical professionals about the importance of using CPAP for obstructive sleep apnea, traveling with CPAP, although initially a challenge, can be done with relative ease. People use CPAP on planes, and even go camping with it. With the FAA’s recent ruling and instructions on carrying and using CPAP on airlines, it’s become even easier to travel with CPAP machine. I know there are various types of PAP devices, but for the sake of simplicity, I’ll call these devices the generic name, CPAP.
Flying with Your CPAP
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently ruled that airline passengers must be allowed to use respiratory assistive devices, such as a CPAP machine (Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel – May 13, 2009). However, don’t think that you’ll just breeze by security checkpoints at the airport. Here are some common tips that are recommended when you fly with your CPAP machine: chin straps for cpap
1. Never check your CPAP machine.
2. Always have with you a prescription for your CPAP machine and your latest sleep study. You never know if your unit gets lost or stolen, or breaks down.
3. Attach a medical equipment tag, identifying the contents as such.
4. Let the TSA security agent know that you have a CPAP machine. Remove it from the back and have it scanned separately.
5. Request that security agents change gloves and wipe down the table before inspecting your machine. Wrap your device in a clear bag while being scanned to prevent contamination with germs and other chemicals.
6. Keep a record of the model and serial number in hand, just in case.
7. If you’re going to use your CPAP machine in-flight, check beforehand if there’s an outlet next to your seat, and if you have the right adaptor.
8. If the flight attendant says something about your CPAP being another carry-on, let him or her know that it’s a CPAP machine and under the Americans with Disability Act, it’s not counted as an added carry-on.