CPAP air travel: What you should know

CPAP air travel is more common than ever before. Because of the growing awareness of sleep apnea among doctors and the general public – not to mention the government officials responsible for regulating air travel restrictions – it’s never been easier to bring your CPAP machine with you while you fly. And it’s also possible to use your CPAP equipment during long flights.

CPAP air travel: What TSA has to say

Air travel with CPAP machines is allowed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the agency that oversees the security for the U.S. travel industry. In fact, the TSA actively encourages sleep apnea patients to travel with their CPAP equipment.

“Our officers are very familiar with CPAP machines and see them numerous times daily,” the TSA blog team wrote in a 2011 article explaining CPAP air travel guidelines.

The TSA goes on to recommend bringing your CPAP machine on the plane as a carry-on. After all, if you check it, and your baggage is misplaced, “you’ll be without your machine.” The blog then explains how to carry your CPAP equipment onto a plane:

“So here is how it all goes down. The CPAP machine will need to come out of its case and be placed in a bin prior to being sent through the X-ray, but the facemask and tubing can remain in the case. We realize the X-ray bins aren’t exactly sterile, so if you like, you can place your CPAP machine in a clear plastic bag before you put it in the bin. After your CPAP machine is X-rayed, it may need to undergo an Explosive Trace Detection test where a small white swab will be run over your machine and then analyzed for trace amounts of explosives.”

Sounds pretty reasonable, right? Although it also sounds like it could take some extra time — so it’s probably a good idea to get to the airport even further in advance than the recommended two hours for domestic flights and three hours for international flights.

Also worth noting: ResMed CPAP devices are able to run on the 400Hz power supply found on aircrafts, and will not be negatively affected by the X-ray scanners at airport security.

This blog post contains general information about medical conditions and potential treatments. It is not medical advice. If you have any medical questions, please consult your doctor.

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