Flying with oxygen

During your flight with supplemental oxygen.

At the airport with a POC oxygen.

If you get breathless when walking, make sure you arrange for help at the airport. The distance between the check-in lounge and departure gates can be long. Disabled assistance at airports should be arranges at least 48 hours before you travel.

Inform the TSA officer that you have a portable oxygen concentrator and whether you can disconnect during the screening process. You may provide the officer with the TSA notification card or other medical documentation to describe your condition.
Consult your doctor to determine whether you can safely disconnect during screening.

Screening

If you are able to disconnect from the concentrator, you may submit it for X-ray screening so you may undergo screening through imaging technology or a walk-through metal detector.
If you must remain connected, your equipment will be tested for traces of explosives material.

Nebulizers, CPAPs, BiPAPs, and APAPs

A nebulizer, CPAP, BiPAP and APAP must be removed from its carrying case and undergo X-ray screening. Facemasks and tubing may remain in the case.

Flying with a Portable Oxygen Concentrator

Placement of Portable Oxygen Concentators.

The POC should be placed underneath the seat in front of the POC user so that the user or the user’s attendant can see the warning lights and/or hear the audible warning. Placement directly under the POC user’s seat and placement in a closed compartment would prohibit the user from seeing the warning lights, as well as possibly prohibiting the user from hearing audible warnings. Other placement locations may be acceptable.

When you are on the plane try to move every hour or so to exercise your legs. Drink plenty of water and non-alcoholic drinks during the flight.

POC Air/Intake.

In order for a POC to work efficiently, the air/intake filter must not be blocked during use. Therefore, the area around the POC should be clear of blankets, coats, and other pieces of carry-on baggage that may block the air/intake filter. If the air/intake filter is blocked, two things will occur. First, the POC user will be alerted by warning lights and/or audible alerts that the oxygen concentration in the POC output is insufficient. Second, when the temperature of the POC internal components increases to a certain limit because the POC is still trying to dispense oxygen, the POC will automatically shut down to prevent overheating of the POC and the POC user will be alerted by warning lights and/or audible alerts.

SEATING RESTRICTIONS FOR PASSENGERS WHO PLAN TO USE A POC ON THE AIRCRAFT.

Exit Row Seating. The FAA prohibits any person using a POC from occupying any seat in an exit row.

 Stowage During Movement. During movement on the surface (pushback from the gate and taxi), takeoff, and landing, the POC must be stowed properly and in such a manner that it does not restrict passenger egress to any exit or the aisle in the passenger compartment. Additional seating restrictions may be necessary to comply with these FAA safety rules.

For example:

1. Some seats on an aircraft, such as bulkhead seats, may or may not have approved stowage space to accommodate a POC during movement on the surface, takeoff, and landing. Therefore, the POC may not be able to be stowed properly during these phases of flight if the POC user occupies those seats. In this case, a seating restriction would be required to comply with an FAA safety rule.

2. During movement on the surface, takeoff, and landing, the tubing that is used to dispense oxygen from a properly stowed POC to the user’s mask/nasal cannula may stretch across the row in such a way as to restrict passenger egress or become a tripping hazard in an evacuation.

The POC user must not restrict another passenger’s egress during these phases of flight. In this case, a seating restriction may be required to comply with an FAA safety rule. For example, if all seats in the row are occupied, the appropriate seat for the POC user would be a window seat.

However, if there are no other passengers in the row, or if there is one other passenger in a row of three seats and that passenger is seated in the aisle seat, or if the POC is stowed in such a way that the tubing does not block another passenger’s egress, then other seats in that row may be appropriate as long as no other passenger’s egress is restricted by the tubing.

3. An operator can only establish seating restrictions based on an FAA safety rule. The examples above represent some, but not all, scenarios to consider. The operator must make a safety decision based on the specifics in an individual situation before establishing a seating restriction.

Note: A general airline policy that all passengers who board the aircraft with a POC must occupy a window seat, without regard to the specifics of the individual situation, would be inconsistent with the requirements of part 382 (refer to § 382.87(a)).

 USE OF POCs DURING THE LOSS OF CABIN PRESSURE.

Cabin Depressurization.

There is no danger posed by a POC that is operating during a loss of cabin pressure.

In the case of loss of cabin pressure (rapid or slow), POCs typically will not continue to meet the oxygen needs of the user at cabin pressure altitudes above 8,000-10,000 feet. This is because the lower ambient air pressure at higher altitudes makes the concentration of the oxygen output of the POC too low to meet the POC user’s oxygen needs.

In cabin depressurization, the POC user should be instructed to discontinue use of the POC and use the oxygen masks that deploy to provide supplemental passenger oxygen until the aircraft descends below 10,000 feet cabin pressure altitude.

Limitations of Portable Oxygen Concentrators.

Passenger briefing requirements require crewmembers to instruct passengers on the necessity of using oxygen in the event of cabin depressurization. Each POC user will receive this briefing with the rest of the passengers.

Oxygen POC users who are routinely dependent on their POC as their primary source of supplemental oxygen may not recognize the limitations of their POC or that the depressurization procedures in the standard passenger briefing also apply to them. Operators may wish to emphasize this important depressurization procedure to POC users.

Typical operator procedures require that the aircraft rapidly descend to an altitude where supplemental oxygen use is no longer needed after a loss of cabin pressurization.

Because of limiting factors such as high terrain, the aircraft’s descent may have to be halted at a minimum en route altitude resulting in the aircraft’s cabin pressure altitude staying above the cabin pressure altitude at which supplemental oxygen is needed for passengers, and above the cabin pressure altitudes below which POCs have demonstrated optimum performance (typically below 8,000-10,000 feet). In this case,

F/As should follow SOPs regarding the use of decompression first aid oxygen when addressing the additional oxygen needs of POC users. F/As should also know that all POCs will again meet the oxygen needs of the user when the cabin pressure altitude reaches 8,000-10,000 feet or below.

USE OF AIRCRAFT ELECTRICAL POWER TO PROVIDE POWER TO A POC.

There is no requirement for operators to provide aircraft electrical power to a POC user.

Electrical Outlets.

Most electrical outlets on board aircraft are located in galleys, near emergency exits, and near F/A jump seats.

The FAA does not prohibit a POC user from plugging a POC power cord into an aircraft electrical outlet nor does the FAA require operators to allow a POC user to plug a POC power cord into an aircraft electrical outlet.

Operators should ensure that if a POC is plugged into an outlet, the location of the outlet does not cause the POC cord to become a tripping hazard for F/As or passengers during any phase of flight operations, including en route operations.

Availability of Aircraft Electrical Power.

Electrical outlets on board aircraft are considered nonessential equipment and are not required by the applicable certification or operational rules. In addition, electrical malfunctions in aircraft systems may require the power source to these outlets to be deactivated on the ground or in flight for the safety of the flight.

If an electrical outlet is available, operable, and its location is appropriate for use as a POC power source, it may serve as a back up to POC batteries. In this case, the manufacturer’s recommended procedures regarding the transition from battery to aircraft electrical power must be followed. POC users should never rely upon onboard aircraft electrical power being available during a flight.

USE OF AIRCRAFT ELECTRICAL POWER TO PROVIDE POWER TO A POC DURING THE FLIGHT.

 If an operator chooses to provide electrical power to a POC user, then the operator should consider the following:

Policy and Procedures.

Operators should provide policy and procedures for F/As regarding the use of aircraft power outlets in the event of battery failure and/or the POC user having an insufficient number of batteries.

 

Installation and Cabling.

Operators are required to ensure that the installation and cabling, up to the point where the passenger plugs in the POC, meet the airworthiness standards of 14 CFR part 23 and part 25, §§ 25.1301, 25.1309, 25.1353, 25.1357, and 25.1431. These sections ensure that the wiring and circuit protection are sufficient for the intended use. The sections also ensure that the use of the POC while charging will not negatively affect aircraft power and operation of other aircraft systems.

 

Power Supply Systems (PSS).

In developing POC programs, operators should refer to ANM-01-111-165, Power Supply Systems for Portable Electronic Devices. This policy memorandum provides guidelines for the certification of PSSs installed in part 25 airplanes that are intended to be used with a PED. This policy does not cover the approval of the use of these devices or any interconnecting means (adapters, cords, etc.) used to power such equipment on board an airplane.

This guidance covers low voltage (e.g., nominal 15 volt (V) direct current (DC)) and high voltage (e.g., 110 V alternating current, 60 hertz (Hz), 220 V alternating current, 50 Hz) systems. ANM-01-111-165 can be accessed at Electrical Outlets.

Most electrical outlets on board aircraft are located in galleys, near emergency exits, and near F/A jump seats. The FAA does not prohibit a POC user from plugging a POC power cord into an aircraft electrical outlet nor does the FAA require operators to allow a POC user to plug a POC power cord into an aircraft electrical outlet.

However, operators should ensure that if a POC is plugged into an outlet, the location of the outlet does not cause the POC cord to become a tripping hazard for F/As or passengers during any phase of flight operations, including en route operations.

 

Availability of Aircraft Electrical Power.

Electrical outlets on board aircraft are considered nonessential equipment and are not required by the applicable certification or operational rules. In addition, electrical malfunctions in aircraft systems may require the power source to these outlets to be deactivated on the ground or in flight for the safety of the flight.

If an electrical outlet is available, operable, and its location is appropriate for use as a POC power source, it may serve as a back up to POC batteries. In this case, the manufacturer’s recommended procedures regarding the transition from battery to aircraft electrical power must be followed.

POC users should never rely upon onboard aircraft electrical power being available during a flight.

 

SMOKING PROHIBITION.

DOT regulations ban smoking on all flights, except for a very limited number of nonscheduled passenger flights for which an F/A is not required (refer to Federal Register document 81 FR 11415, Use of Electronic Cigarettes on Aircraft).

However, if an aircraft operator permits smoking during one of these flights, smoking is prohibited within 10 feet of any seat row where a person is using a POC.