New TSA requirements for Portable Oxygen Travel

In: Airline Travel on Portable Oxygen|Traveling with Oxygen

24 Nov 2010

As the holidays are approaching and the TSA (Transportation Safety Administration) is very much in the news, we have received many questions regarding airline travel and portable oxygen concentrators. You can look forward to long lines and lots of moans and groans from passengers being groped, prodded, x-rayed, and otherwise inconvenienced. Should you be concerned about your portable oxygen concentrator being x-rayed? We asked that question of the technical support for Invacare’s Solo2 and XPO2, Respironics’ Evergo, Devilbiss’s iGo, and SeQual’s Eclipse, and the answer all around is, that won’t be a problem.
As Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the biggest travel day of the year approaches the portable oxygen community should most be concerned with delays in airports caused by the TSA full body scanners and those opting out, what how those delays will effect your calculated battery usage.  Our advice, bring at least one extra battery for your portable oxygen concentrator because the TSA travel slow downs this holiday season!
According to the TSA website travelers with disabilities and medical conditions should consider these travel tips before you go.

  • Provide advance notice to your airline or travel agent if you require assistance at the airport. TSA can only assist you with the screening process. Your airline will assist you through the airport facility and the screening queue line.
  • If you require a companion or assistant to accompany you through the security checkpoint to reach your gate speak with your airline representative about obtaining a gate pass for your companion before entering the security checkpoint.
  • The limit of one carry-on and one personal item (purse briefcase or computer case) does not apply to medical supplies, equipment, mobility aids, and/or assistive devices carried by and/or used by a person with a disability.
  • Pack your medications in a separate pouch/bag to facilitate the inspection process. Ensure that containers holding medications are not too densely filled, and that all medication is clearly identified. It is recommended that passengers refrain from packing any medications in their checked baggage that they do not want exposed to X-rays. Instead, send larger quantities of medications to your destination by mail or any other way preferred.
  • If you have medical documentation regarding your medical condition or disability, you can present this information to the Security Officer to help inform him of your situation. This documentation is not required and will not exempt you from the security screening process. Best Practice for traveling with oxygen is ALWAYS travel with your prescription for portable oxygen!
  • Make sure all your carry-on items; equipment, mobility aids, and devices have an identification tag attached.  (Be sure to have a “Property of” sticker on your portable oxygen concentrator, portable oxygen batteries, and other accessories!!)
  • TSA recommends that you bring all the necessary tools and/or appliances that you require to put on or take off your prosthetic device (e.g. wrenches, pull sleeves, etc.) should you need to remove your prosthetic device for any reason. TSA allows these tools to be carried through the security checkpoint once they have been screened (see assistive devices and mobility aids for more details on prosthetic device screening). (We advise knowing how to efficiently disassemble and reassemble your portable oxygen concentrator)
  • If you have a medical device (on the interior or exterior of your body) check with your doctor prior to traveling to determine if it is safe for you to go through the metal detector or be handwanded. If your Doctor indicates that you should not go through the metal detector or be handwanded, or if you are concerned, ask the Security Officer for a pat-down inspection instead.
  • Your personal supplemental Oxygen will need to undergo screening. Check with your Doctor prior to coming to the checkpoint to ensure disconnection can be done safely.
  • If your Doctor has indicated that you cannot be disconnected or if you are concerned, ask the Security Officer for an alternate inspection process while you remain connected to your oxygen source.  (GoAssured’s advice if your doctor says stay connected: Have your doctor write on your prescription that you are not to be disconnected from your portable oxygen!)
  • If you need an Oxygen Supplier to meet you at the gate, check with your airline well in advance of your departure about their procedures for allowing suppliers to meet you at the arrival’s gate since these procedures vary from airline to airline. For more information on the TSA and Supplemental Oxygen, please see our other TSA Oxygen Post.

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If you have any questions about oxygen concentrators, liquid oxygen, portable oxygen, you have come to the right place. Whether you are lookiing to buy a POC, rent a POC for a trip, or understand how what that alarm means, you have come to the right place. Since 1992 we have immerseed in all things Oxygen Therapy, here you will find not only a users perspective, you will find the technicians perspective! Welcome!!