Tips for Traveling with Your CPAP

Traveling At Airport
Heading out on vacation is supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable. But for those who use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, traveling with their device can be an unnecessary source of stress. Fortunately, traveling with a CPAP does not have to be complicated. All you need is a little extra planning and preparation to ensure your trip goes smoothly. 

To help you get ready, we have created this helpful guide packed with all the CPAP travel tips you might need. 

1) Before your trip

Familiarize yourself with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules and regulations, as well as any additional rules of the airline on which you are flying. Doing so will help you avoid any issues while traveling with a CPAP on a plane.

  • Carry your CPAP on board: You can pack your device in your checked luggage, but you risk losing it if the airline loses your luggage. Since the Americans with Disabilities Act covers CPAP machines, it will not count as a carry-on item.
  • Invest in a travel CPAP machine: If you do not want to worry about damaging or misplacing your machine during your trip, consider buying a travel-specific CPAP machine. These are especially helpful for frequent fliers as they save valuable luggage space.
  • Make a components checklist: You would not want to reach your destination only to realize you did not bring your hose or the plugs you need. Create a list of all the accessories you will need and run through it before leaving for your trip. 
  • Pack your prescription: Always plan for contingencies. If your machine or any parts break while you are traveling, having your prescription handy will allow you to pick up any necessary supplies.
  • Bring extra batteries and supplies: If you find yourself without power or a functional mask cushion, you will be grateful you brought a backup supply. 
  • Empty your humidifier chamber: This is a good practice to initiate before taking your CPAP machine anywhere to avoid spillage that could damage your luggage or device. 

2) At the airport:

Once you are packed and ready for takeoff, there are a few best practices you can follow to ensure you get your CPAP through airport security quickly and easily. 

  • Label your CPAP case: Putting a medical equipment luggage tag on your CPAP case will help the TSA recognize it as a medical device.
  • Separate your machine at security: Just like any piece of luggage, your CPAP will need to be x-rayed as you go through airport security. Be prepared by removing the machine from its case and putting it in its own screening bin. 
  • Have your prescription handy: TSA may require medical confirmation regarding your device. Have your prescription ready for them just in case. 

3) On the plane

Your in-flight needs will probably differ depending on the length of time you will be in the air. If you are on an overnight flight and need to use your CPAP device, be sure to fill your humidifier with bottled water, not water from the plane. You are allowed to bring 3.4 ounces of distilled water aboard, or you can ask the flight attendant for some. 

4) Lincare support wherever you go

If you have further questions on how to travel with a CPAP machine or need support, our team is always available to help. Our goal is to make your travel as simple and worry-free as possible. As part of our 24/7 commitment to provide unmatched patient care, we are only one phone call away—whether you are home or on vacation. 

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