What to Know When Traveling With Portable Oxygen

The TSA will not allow you to travel with either compressed gas tanks or with liquid oxygen supplies.  The only personal oxygen supplies they will allow are portable concentrators.  Even if you have a portable concentrator, the TSA advises that you should contact your airline ahead of time, because not all airlines allow the use of portable oxygen concentrators. You also should check with the manufacturer of your portable system to determine whether the specific make and model of your oxygen concentrator is approved for in-flight use.

Once you know your oxygen concentrator is approved, you’re good to go. But know what to expect when traveling with your portable oxygen through TSA checkpoints:

  • First, if you can safely disconnect from your portable oxygen during the duration of your flight, it’s recommended that you check your equipment as checked baggage if possible. Then you won’t have to deal with it as you make your way through the screening process.
  • Without your portable device, you’ll be able to be screened using imaging technology or walk-through metal detectors, saving you the hassle of requiring out-of-the-line special screening such as a pat-down procedure.
  • If you must – or you choose to – bring your portable oxygen concentrator in your carry-on baggage, know that the equipment will undergo either X-ray screening or inspection. If your equipment cannot be X-rayed and an inspection is done, it also likely will be tested for traces of explosives.

Consult with your doctor to determine if you can safely disconnect during screening. If not, be prepared to inform the officer conducting the screening, before the screening process begins, that you cannot safely disconnect from your oxygen concentrator. If the officer insists that you disconnect, ask to speak with a supervisor or manager.