Is my portable oxygen concentrator approved by airlines?
The Department of Transportation (DOT) final rule “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel” contains air carrier requirements regarding the use of respiratory assistive devices on aircraft.
In the DOT final rule, section 382.133 generally requires that:
Air carriers conducting passenger service must permit someone with a disability to use an FAA-approved portable oxygen concentrator (POC) on all flights (on aircraft originally designed to have a maximum passenger capacity of more than 19 seats).
The device must meet applicable FAA requirements for medical portable electronic devices (M-PED) and display a manufacturer’s label that indicates the device meets those FAA requirements.
Which POC are authorized for use during the flight?
ACCEPTANCE CRITERIA FOR POCs AUTHORIZED FOR USE ON AIRCRAFT.
POC Acceptance Criteria.
Rather than continuing to approve POCs on a case-by-case basis, the FAA established acceptance criteria for POCs used on aircraft.
The criteria are:
1. The POC is legally marketed in the United States in accordance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements as stated in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR).
2. The POC does not radiate radio frequency emissions that interfere with aircraft systems.
3. The POC does not generate a compressed gas.
4. The POC does not contain any hazardous materials (hazmat), except as provided for in 49 CFR part 175, § 175.10 for batteries used to power PEDs, and that do not require aircraft operator approval for carriage as is the case for certain larger batteries.
Required POC Labeling.
All POCs that satisfy the acceptance criteria and are not previously identified in SFAR 106 must also bear a label with the following statement in red lettering: “The manufacturer of this POC has determined this device conforms to all applicable FAA acceptance criteria for POC carriage and use on board aircraft.” Figure 2. Example of Required POC Labeling
Note: POCs identified in §§ 121.574, 125.219, and 135.91 may be used on aircraft without bearing a label.
PASSENGER AND AIRCRAFT OPERATOR IDENTIFICATION OF POCs AUTHORIZED FOR USE ON AIRCRAFT.
Prior to the flight, both a passenger intending to use a POC on an aircraft and the operator of the aircraft on which the POC is intended to be used are responsible for determining whether the POC satisfies the FAA acceptance criteria.
POCs With Manufacturer’s Labels.
The passenger and the aircraft operator can determine whether the POC conforms to the acceptance criteria through a visual inspection of the device to locate the manufacturer’s label indicating such conformance.
POCs Without Manufacturer’s Labels.
If the device does not bear the required label, the passenger and the aircraft operator may determine compliance by identifying the manufacturer and model name and confirming that the POC appears on the list of devices contained in §§ 121.574, 125.219, and 135.91.
Some airlines disclose a list of POCs and confirm the possibility to use them during flight. Some they provide contact information to confirm if your device is permissible.
When booking your reservation, airlines permitting the use of POCs or offering to supply oxygen, whether for a fee or at a cost. Airlines also require a minimum of 48 hours’ notice before travel to ensure approval for its use. In addition, some airlines restrict the number of passengers per flight who are permitted to use oxygen on board the aircraft.
It is highly recommended that patients requiring oxygen to book their flights early and contact their airline immediately to start the approval process. On most airlines, this is possible by calling, e-mailing or faxing their ‘Medical Assistance Service’ and completing the forms specified by each airline.
Each of the airlines has different policies for oxygen on board.
We have searched all 280 IATA airlines members oxygen on board policy.
The FAA does not require a passenger to consult with a healthcare provider prior to using a POC on board an aircraft.
The passenger, together with his or her healthcare provider, may wish to discuss the following:
1. The effects of a pressurized cabin (cabin pressure altitude can reach 8,000 feet) on the passenger’s oxygen needs.
• Some POC users need higher liter flow or liter per minute (LPM) settings for the POC in the air because of cabin pressure altitude.
• Some POC users who use a POC occasionally on the ground may need to use their POC for the entire flight because of cabin pressure altitude.
2. The passenger’s POC needs at the time of travel and whether the passenger’s needs have changed since the POC was first prescribed or during the most recent consultation with a healthcare professional.
3. Certain key provisions in the POC operating manual regarding oxygen delivery, indicators, warnings, and alerts, as well as setting/changing liter flow or LPM.
4. All crewmembers (pilots and flight attendants (F/A)) receive training regarding the handling of in-flight medical events. However, the FAA does not require that air carriers or crewmembers provide medical assistance to passengers.
Rules about liquid and compressed oxygen
Liquid oxygen is prohibited for use on commercial airlines; the only aircraft permitted to carry or utilize liquid oxygen are helicopters serving as air ambulances
• While air carriers may elect to provide compressed oxygen to passengers, regulations do not allow passengers to provide their own compressed oxygen for use on-board aircraft. Compressed oxygen it is seen as hazardous material both as carry-ons and as cargo
• Improper transport of either liquid or compressed oxygen can present significant safety risks resulting in operators being liable for large civil penalties