New USDOT Reduces Restrictions on Air Travel with Portable Oxygen Concentrators
Traveling with Oxygen just got easier! As of May 13, 2009 patients who require oxygen therapy will be able to breathe a little easier when they travel. Under a new U.S. Department of Transportation regulation, every FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) approved oxygen concentrator is allowed on every flight that takes off or lands in the U.S. This is regardless of whether or not the individual airline on which the patient is traveling has approved the machine.
Traveling on a plane for someone who needs oxygen therapy has been a hassle in the past for most and impossible for some. Until this regulation was passed, airlines have been allowed to refuse a patient use of a concentrator on the aircraft, even if the machine was FAA approved. Now, all an oxygen patient must have is a statement dated within 10 days of departure from a physician stating necessity of oxygen therapy and an FAA Approved label on the oxygen concentrator being used.
Airline cabins are typically pressurized to simulate oxygen levels found at 8000 feet above sea level. The Invacare SOLO2, the Respironics EverGo and the Invacare XPO2 portable oxygen concentrators, all of which are FAA approved, are designed to function at altitudes of 8000 feet or more, which enables the user to still get the amount of oxygen they need throughout the flight. Each of these FAA approved oxygen concentrators offers extended battery life and a number of accessories to make travel even easier.
The Invacare XPO2 is one of the lightest concentrators on the market, weighing only 7.3 pounds. It comes with its own carry bag or can be set on a cart and pulled, making it very easy to travel with. The Respironics EverGo has excellent battery power for long trips, up to 8 hours with dual, rechargeable batteries. It also comes with a carry bag and rolling cart and is still lightweight at only 10 pounds with two battery packs attached. The Invacare SOLO2 is one of few concentrators that offer continuous as well as pulse flow settings. The SOLO2 Concentrator has easy to change batteries and, unlike its competitors like the Eclipse 3, can fit under an airplane seat with the rolling cart still attached. All three units offer included AC/DC power adapters to be used in a wall outlet or a car so you can charge and use your portable oxygen concentrator anywhere you go!
When planning for an airline trip, keep in mind that most airlines require that passengers carrying portable oxygen concentrators have enough batteries for twice the duration of the flight, as well as one extra battery. Even with new regulations, it is still a good idea to call the airline on which you are flying to make sure you are taking all of the proper precautions before traveling by air with an oxygen concentrator.
Author: Lois Douglas
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Originally published May 2009