Traveling while you are on oxygen therapy usually is
possible if you plan ahead.
Travel by plane
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved several
models of portable oxygen concentrators that can be brought on an airplane. If
you have a portable oxygen concentrator, make sure it is FAA-approved before
you bring it on an airplane.
You cannot take your own oxygen tanks
on an airplane. You may pack empty oxygen tanks in your checked luggage. You
can get these filled at your destination. The airline will supply oxygen while
you are in flight but will charge you for it. You will likely have to pay for
oxygen for each leg of a trip. And airlines usually do not supply oxygen during
layovers, so try to book a direct flight.
Several days before your
flight, notify the airline that you will need oxygen. You will need a medical
release from your doctor stating that you are able to fly. You will also need a
prescription that lists the flow rate and amount of oxygen you use. If you use
a portable oxygen concentrator, you will need to be able to respond to any
alarms on the device.
If you need oxygen during a layover, you
should arrange for your oxygen supplier to bring tanks to the
Some airlines may require a person on oxygen therapy to
travel with a companion.
Travel by cruise ship
You can take your own oxygen tanks or concentrator on a cruise
ship. Or you can arrange for a supplier to deliver oxygen to the ship before it
leaves the dock. You should take enough oxygen to last the entire
About 2 to 3 weeks before you travel, notify the cruise
line about your oxygen needs. Bring a medical release from your doctor stating
that you are able to take a cruise. You will also need a prescription that
lists the flow rate and amount of oxygen you use.
If you plan to
leave the ship to go sightseeing, you may want to have an oxygen supplier bring
a tank for you to use while you are onshore.
If you need to have a
supplier deliver oxygen for your cruise, it is best to leave from and return to
the same city. If you don’t, you may have to pay to ship the oxygen equipment
back to the city where the ship originally departed.
Travel by train or bus
You can take your own oxygen tanks or concentrator on a bus or
Notify the train or bus company that you will be traveling
with oxygen. Bring a medical release from your doctor stating that you are able
to travel. You may also need a prescription that lists the flow rate and amount
of oxygen you use.
Make sure that the train or bus stops at cities
where you can get your tanks refilled.
If you travel by train, you
will need to book a nonsmoking car.
If you take a concentrator on a
train, you may not always have electricity available, so bring a battery backup
Train or bus companies may limit the number or weight of
tanks you can carry on. Be sure you learn the rules before you travel.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.