Some passengers may wonder whether their portable oxygen concentrator is allowed on board an aircraft. Should you look at the FAA’s website on Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POC), you’ll see that the website hasn’t been updated since October 2015. While the website itself hasn’t been updated, they did update the applicable regulation to POCs.
The applicable regulation, 121.574 Oxygen and portable oxygen concentrators for medical use by passengers, was amended on May 24, 2016.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) currently only permits the use of approved models of portable oxygen concentrators, subject to certain conditions and limitations listed in the regulations. If the POC model was approved for use after May 24, 2016 it will bear a label on the exterior of the device containing the following certification 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.”
This label is likely on the bottom of your POC, depending when it was purchased or approved.
This policy is similar to the one the FAA has regarding Child Restraint Seats “ §121.311 Seats, safety belts, and shoulder harnesses.
(A) Seats manufactured to U.S. standards between January 1, 1981, and February 25, 1985, must bear the label: “This child restraint system conforms to all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards.”
(b)(ii)(B) (2) “THIS RESTRAINT IS CERTIFIED FOR USE IN MOTOR VEHICLES AND AIRCRAFT” in red lettering;
The POC itself should have a marking on it, likely the bottom, that indicates it’s usable on aircraft. With the label on it, if approved for use after May 25, 2016, traveling with new POCs not listed on the FAA website shouldn’t be a problem.
Inogen is a very popular POC manufacturer and have a variety of products for different needs. Here is the Inogen description and suggestions for travelers bringing the Inogen One: http://www.inogen.com/resources/traveling-oxygen/faa-guidelines-oxygen-concentrators/
Each airline is required to have adequate policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), as well as Department of Transportation Part 382, Non Discrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel. If after looking at the decal that should be on your POC, depending when it was manufactured or approved, consider calling the airline and ask of there are any travel concerns you need to know about when traveling with your specific POC model. There are minimum power supply requirements you must bring with you, as well as you need to know where to keep all spare batteries, specifically in your carry-on bags, no spares in your checked baggage probable violation of hazmat regulations.
While it would be helpful, perhaps reassuring to travelers, to be able to look at the FAA website and see your specific model listed, my understanding is that the burden of maintaining current information and compliance with federal regulations is upon the airlines themselves. Again, the FAA final rule states that the POCs that meet the acceptance criteria are either listed in the final rule or labeled. If labeled, and POC manufacturers likely apply the label to all approved devices they make, your POC should be accepted for transportation with you.
When in doubt, call the airline in advance. Don’t find out when you arrive at check-in.
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