flying with cpap machine

By sleep apnea Latest Activity September 23, 2009 at 9:42 pm Views 22,534 Replies 34 Likes 4

sleep apnea

has anyone brought their cpap machine with them on a flight and did you have any problems with security bringing it on board. thank you

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Replies (34 replies)

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  • heather1986
    heather1986 April 2, 2012 at 8:01 pm   

    I mean the note saying that I need to use my cpap

  • heather1986
    heather1986 April 2, 2012 at 8:00 pm   

    I took mine and had no problem. They did not even need the not saying that I need to use my cpap

  • eddewinter
    eddewinter February 24, 2012 at 10:46 am   

    For noses blocking up and everything getting dry I put some drops of olbas oil down the pipe then switch on have done for several years now seems to work rarely ever have trouble EDD

  • tahohugh
    tahohugh February 22, 2012 at 11:47 pm   

    I might have a suggestion. Depending upon who makes your sleep therapy machine, like for instance mine is " ResMed ". So I went to their website and looked up under " Travel " or Travel with your device and found a pre-written letter from the company and printed it out for commercial flights and works out at security gates as well as flight attendants. I also have a card for my registered pain medicine delivery device for security. I don't go through regular entrance. I use handicapped entrance and TSA personnel carry everything for me. Never have to wait in lines, as well, I board front of line as well. It takes time to stow your sleep device on board and attendants always help as well as power supply if you need it.

  • slcall
    slcall July 29, 2011 at 9:39 am   

    I have had a CPAP for over 15 years. Have traveled to Europe three times with it and annually to Cancun. Never had any problems. When traveling in the U.S. I carry a 35" extension cord and a three to one cube. I often use the cube in the outlet behind the bed side table in order to plug in both a lamp and the CPAP.

  • jcschrum
    jcschrum May 29, 2011 at 12:24 am   

    I travel with my cpap and always have to take it out of my bag to be inspected when going through security. I always take it on board with me, because I don't want it to get broke. I also try to keep it at my feet and under the seat in front of me. Once I put it overhead and my mask got broke from people shoving things around. I won't do that anymore. It's also a medical device so they can't count that as your personal item. I usually pack my purse and then put all my important thngs in the cpap bag. It works out good because it will even fit some magazines in it. You can still bring a purse, brief case, etc as your personal item, but I don't because it's one less thing I have to carry. If you do, though, and your cpap is at your feet then you have to put your personal item over head. They'll only allow one item at your feet. Hope this helps in someway.

  • AbelH
    AbelH March 31, 2011 at 11:19 pm   

    I have had a completely different experience… I fly about 10 times a year, always carry my cpap in my carry on luggage and rarely, if ever have had TSA or foreign security inspect my cpap. I can only remember one occasion about a year ago where TSA asked me to take the cpap out and put it separately through the X-ray.

  • Phonse65
    Phonse65 March 23, 2011 at 9:43 pm   

    The Faa and TSA have no problems with passengers flying with a cpap or BIPAP machine. Where they do have a problem is when someone attempts to fly with portable oxy. That is a no-no because the tanks "hold and/or store" oxy.

    There is good news for flyers, however. The FAA and all airlines have approved flying with the new portable concentrator. InoGen makes one, for example, that new uses tanks. You can take it virtually anywhere. It is powered by AC/DC current or by 4, 8, or 12 hour battaries. You never need to wory about running out of oxy again. For me it is like total freedon. I am in AZ and my family is back east. In the past I could not fly. Now I can, and I love it.

  • groove city
    groove city March 23, 2011 at 7:38 pm   
    Edited March 23, 2011 at 7:39 pm by groove city

    I have brought my cpap machine with me on flights and did not have any problems with security they just ask me a question about my machine and i said yes i had no problems so far.

  • candclab
    candclab March 4, 2011 at 10:46 pm   

    I have flown several times with mine, so has my husband. No special tags or anything. Carry it on the plane, does not count as one of your allotted carry ons. The only thing we had to do was take them out of the provided shoulder bag. No problems so far.

  • OSA newbie
    OSA newbie January 23, 2011 at 11:10 pm   

    I fly yearly in the US for our annual trip from Michigan to Florida. I carried my CPAP machine and mask in the provided shoulder bag with a "medical device" tag attached and carried it on board the airplane. This tag is available as an accessory from many of the on-line CPAP providers. The tag indicates the enclosed medical equipment is a medical necessity and considered "life support" to the owner. TSA tested it but there was no problem.
    Hank Goodman

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous December 7, 2010 at 11:31 am   

    As of September 2010 TSA only requires that you place the CPAP unit (not the humidifier or accessories into a separate plastic bin for x-ray screening. They no longer swipe the unit down for contraband residue as they previously did. Their policies have changed for the better.

    At foreign airports, Tokyo, Bangkok, Manila, Hong Kong, Beijing, it is not necessary to even do that, just put the entire bag through the x-ray…note that they still require laptops in their own plastic bin.

    TSA is a joke and eventually they get sick of enforcing their own rules and change them, as I understand it, this CPAP thing was causing severe backups in the security lines.

    If you travel Delta on International flights, get with them a couple of weeks prior to your flight and tell then you are using CPAP on board. They asked me to fax in the Letter of Necessity provided by my sleep clinic and the travel documents available on the site. On all flight segments, they had ran an extension cord under the seat in front of me so i could use the electricity on the plane. Also request special assistance MED-A should be printed on your boarding pass and take advantage of that to board first and get set up.

    CPAP only, no humidifier during the flight. The big problem is where to put the thing as it is too big for the forward seat pocket. Get a window seat so others don't trip over your hose when getting up.

  • TheDreamer
    TheDreamer December 10, 2010 at 2:37 pm   

    There was probably a lag before that info got out…because when i flew (to DC) in October, they swabbed my CPAP both ways…

    But, when I flew to Chicago over Thanksgiving they were swabbing.

    Last Xmas, when I flew home from Calgary, they didn't swab…don't know if that's normal or not, since it was the only time I've been out of the US since CPAP.

    The Dreamer.

  • candclab
    candclab March 4, 2011 at 10:49 pm   

    Flew from CT to FL in October. They did not swab either way.

  • sleepless in pa
    sleepless in pa December 7, 2010 at 9:38 am   

    Had trouble boarding coming back from Fla one year. They tore everything apart
    and took the wrench that comes with the machine out and would not let me carry it on, I had to give it to someone at the airport or they were throwing it away.

  • pritch
    pritch September 21, 2010 at 9:13 pm   

    Yes I had my BPAP with me on the plane to France. I had no problems. You must bring your cpap as a carry on. I had no problems with the security checks points

  • JayPee
    JayPee July 6, 2010 at 12:49 pm   

    Yes, I had a problem in the Caymen Islands with my C-PAP. I prepared for my trip by bringing a doctor letter (highlighting my need for distilled water) and had a detailed instruction book of my equipment. I went through 2 security check points without problems with my equipment on the begining of the trip but had difficulty on the return flight. I went through the passport checkpoint, ticket checkpoint, and check in checkpoint without problem. However, an attendant from the airlines came to me and told me that my equipment had to go with the luggage when we were begining to board. I showed that person all my information and equipment, thinking what could be this problem. I grew angry and demanded to be put on board with the luggage because my equipment was going to need a personal escort. And I finally asked to speak with a person who spoke English. The kicker of this mess was a gentleman who had first class tickets had no problem getting on board with his CPAP! I ignored the attendant and boarded the plane and vowed never to fly Caymen Airlines!

  • vickster
    vickster December 10, 2009 at 7:58 pm   

    I have brought my cpap machine with me on flights.
    No problems getting it on board. Always take them on the plane with you, not send to through luggage racks. I always had an enjoyable trip, having a good sleep while on vacation.

  • wideawake
    wideawake November 24, 2009 at 10:45 pm   

    Whenever I fly, I always disconnect my CPAP and store it in a zipper case. When I am in line to pass through security, I tell them that I carry a CPAP machine. Airport security have always recognized that I carry a CPAP machine and briefly examine it and test it to see if is in proper working oder. I have never had any problems in airports.

  • ralph 3427
    ralph 3427 January 21, 2011 at 9:42 pm   

    wow! when we flew to florida all they did was make me take the card out and then check it out. i have been told to carry it on board as it get stolen and sold for money.guess who takes it those guy's who work for the airline terminals a doctor told me don't check it in carry it on.

  • ladybugs
    ladybugs February 22, 2012 at 9:24 pm   

    Yes, please what kind of card

  • donnyp1966
    donnyp1966 May 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm   

    I think he's referring to the RFID card that some machines use. It stores data about your machine usage and your doctor can get a printout of the information stored on it. I'm guessing they could possibly be damaged by x-rays so he was asked to take it out.This answers a question for me too because I was wondering what security would make you do in that situation.Hope this helps.

  • rerir
    rerir January 22, 2011 at 11:12 pm   

    what card? did you get it from your doc?

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous October 30, 2009 at 11:36 am   

    About 3or4 years ago my airline rep told me I needed a letter from my physician stating that I was a patient and needed to travel with my cpap. Security took me aside and removed the cpap from its case and scanned the machine and all attatchments. Same proceedure on the return flight. The following year was very different, security personnel were all familliar with cpaps and were more efficient,thorough,and faster in their inspection- I didn't feel as if I was holding up other travelers or suspected of being a threat to anyone's security.

  • zsexy granny
    zsexy granny October 7, 2009 at 9:28 pm   

    I have flown quite a few times and I put my machine in a special bad with any medications and it goes thru the machine and then they take it out of the bag and rub a special swab over where the hose goes and then that is it…and you are on your way…but I always have it on the plane with me or in the overtop compartment…have fun

  • cth46532
    cth46532 October 1, 2009 at 8:18 am   

    no prob flying with my cpap I just flew to Fla they took it aside and gave it baqck to me On the way home they said all cpaps computers ect in the tubs so they are familiar with them I like the suggestion to put it in a plastice bag so that when you do take it out Its not in a bin that had smelling shoes in it

  • Avera
    Avera September 24, 2009 at 11:16 pm   

    You have received some very good answers. I have one more link to add concerning travel. It is the site provided by:


    Here is the link to their FACT SHEET:

  • Tracy
    Tracy September 24, 2009 at 12:48 pm   

    Here is a link to a post I recently made regarding traveling with your cpap

    I've been flying with my bilevel for nearly 20 years. It has never been a problem. Security is well aware of CPAP - there are millions of us who use and travel with them.

    About one year ago, security started requiring us to remove the CPAP unit, humidifier and electric cord from the bag and place it in one of the plastic tubs they provide. Your unit will be pulled and hand searched. It is routine to them and just takes a minute.

    Since those tubs are nasty and probably germ ridden, I always take a dry washcloth to set my machine on. I have never been asked to have the mask pulled for inspection, so it stays safe and clean in my CPAP carrying case.

    Good Sleep!

  • jjwawa
    jjwawa September 24, 2009 at 9:27 am   

    one more thing to add. don't put it in the overhead, put it under your seat. they cost too much to have some idiot drop it on the floor

  • jjwawa
    jjwawa September 24, 2009 at 9:23 am   

    going through security is not a problem. however, it is a good idea to put your pump, humidifier and mask in seperate plastic bags. If they want to take it out of the bag you can request, and they will, put on new gloves. they never put it back the way you had it, so make sure you have everything before you leave the check point.

  • Midje
    Midje September 24, 2009 at 3:25 am   

    Yes, I flew with my CPAP machine in it's black bag, told them what it was, they scanned it and off I went. No trouble at all.

  • sleepyblue
    sleepyblue October 1, 2009 at 2:28 pm   

    It wa easy for me to fly with my Cpap too. They gave me no problems.

  • flyfisher126
    flyfisher126 January 8, 2010 at 1:30 pm   

    I have flown for years with mine. My first flight, TSA was quite different, and had no clue what it was. Since 911, the level of service is better in most places. Of course, you may run into an idiot from time to time. The get promoted pretty fast in some places, and go into supervision, where they are not noticed.

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