Your Complete Travel Oxygen Resource NOTE: Medicare lists travel oxygen as a non-covered service. In a recent release CMS plainly stated that they viewed travel oxygen cost as a patients responsibility. All private insurance companies we are aware of have followed Medicares' lead and do not cover travel oxygen.
Airline Travel with Oxygen
Travel oxygen on airlines became a reality in July, 2005 when the FAA approved travel oxygen concentrators for use during flight. A whole new world opened up for oxygen dependant patients to travel with oxygen.
As a travel oxygen user it is entirely your responsibility to make yourself aware of your airlines requirements regarding use of portable oxygen concentrators on-board the aircraft. Keep in mind that simply because a specific portable oxygen concentrator has been approved by the FAA doesn't mean each airline has approved that particular travel oxygen concentrator for use on their aircraft. For your convenience we have listed links to airline websites that list their specific oxygen policies. Please, do not wait until the last minute to notify the airline you will be traveling with oxygen. All the airlines require some advanced notice. All have their own specific requirements that must be met. Some even require a review of your prescription prior to travel. But with proper planning, traveling with oxygen need not be a daunting experience.
Some airlines may require that the prescription obtained from your physician be printed on his/her official letterhead. The prescription should answer all the questions below.
Your ability to see/hear alarms and respond appropriately
When oxygen use is necessary (all or portion of the trip)
Maximum flow rate
For your convenience we have included a downloadable sample "physicians statement" HERE.
This prescription needs to be kept with you at all times during your flight. A new prescription will not be necessary each time you fly, but the prescription should be available during every flight. Compressed gas and liquid oxygen are not permitted on-board or as checked baggage. Some airlines may allow you to check empty cylinders or liquid units.
Currently, the following airlines allow the use of the travel oxygen concentrators on board their aircrafts:
*Please let us know if you are aware of other airlines that allow the use of POCs in flight.
Cruise Ship Travel with Oxygen
If you are interested in taking a cruise, travel oxygen concentrators are the perfect solution. All of the major cruise lines allow travel oxygen concentrators as an option for oxygen supply. You can save hundreds of dollars off of your travel costs and eliminate the hassle of arranging travel oxygen with the travel oxygen concentrators.
Train Travel with Oxygen - Amtrak
Portable oxygen containers must meet the following requirements:
Power Source: Oxygen equipment cannot rely solely on train-provided electrical power. Any device brought on a train must be able to operate a minimum of four hours without available on board electrical power.
UL or FM Listed: Oxygen equipment must be "Underwriter's Laboratory" or "Factory Mutual" listed.
Weight Limits: Each tank and its associated equipment may weigh no more than 50 lbs per unit.
Configuration: We permit only one of the following:
A two-tank system (maximum of 50 lbs [22.7 kg] per tank), or
A six-tank system (maximum of 20 lbs [9 kg] per tank), but only if the tanks can be separated and handled individually
Bus Travel with Oxygen - Greyhound
Portable oxygen may accompany you on Greyhound. You must give Greyhound 48 hours prior notice if you are traveling with oxygen. A maximum of four (4) canisters may travel with the customer - two (2) aboard the bus and two (2) in the baggage compartment. The maximum dimension for each container may not exceed 4.5 inches in diameter and 26 inches in length. Customers are responsible for ensuring that they have enough oxygen to complete their travel and are responsible for making arrangements for refills while en route. Oxygen canisters to be stored in the baggage compartment must be in protective cases with safety caps on the valves.
Car & RV Travel with Oxygen
Make sure you have your tanks secured in a rack designed to hold oxygen cylinders. In the event of an accident, unsecured tanks will become flying missiles capable of causing severe injury or death.
Some of the new smaller concentrators, like the Respironics EverFlo (31 lbs) make travel much easier. Keep in mind you must have access to AC power to operate.
Portable oxygen concentrators are also an excellent choice for car & RV travel and have the added feature of being able to run off of a DC power supply.
Local oxygen providers are less likely to absorb the cost of travel oxygen since the Medicare Capped Rental became reality. Shrinking reimbursement combined with the looming National Competitive Bidding and the possibility of a 13 month Medicare Capped Rental.