If you’re a sleep apnea patient, you likely need to use your CPAP machine every night. That means every night – whether you’re at home, at your family’s house for Thanksgiving, on a work trip, or on an exotic vacation. Thus, you’ll need to be comfortable with traveling with a CPAP machine. Traveling with CPAP is easier than you might think, but it’s still good to be aware of some helpful tips before setting off.
Traveling with a CPAP Machine: General Tips
- Most CPAP machines come with a dedicated travel bag; use it to protect your device
- Make sure the humidifier water chamber is completely empty and dry before packing
- Bring extra supplies in case something fails/you lose something
- It’s always best to use distilled water in the humidifier; but, it’s okay to occasionally use tap water or bottled water if the water is safe to drink
- Clean your machine thoroughly before leaving home, as it can be a hassle to clean your unit while on the road
- If you’re looking to pack light, you may be able to leave the humidifier unit at home and just use the main unit (it’s recommended that you test this out at home before leaving)
- Be sure to pack any necessary power adapters, plugs etc.
- It’s a good idea to keep your prescription with you, in case your machine breaks down and you need to buy a new one
- CPAP machines are medical devices covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. That means CPAP units do not count towards your luggage allocation when flying on domestic airlines
Flying with a CPAP Machine
- TSA and other airport security personnel are generally familiar with CPAP units
- When going through security, your device will need to be x-rayed. You’ll need to take the entire unit out of it’s bag to be scanned
- It’s a good idea to keep your CPAP components in plastic bags so they are not exposed to the dirty luggage racks and bins
- CPAP units in dedicated CPAP carrying cases DO NOT count towards baggage allowances. That means if you’re allowed one carry on for free, you can bring one carry on AND your CPAP in its travel case, for free.
- If you plan to use your CPAP while on the plane, be sure to check with the airline beforehand to see if this is allowed. Also, ensure that there are power plugs near your seat, or plan to use a battery powered CPAP.
Can I Use a CPAP Machine On and Airplane?
The short answer is yes, generally airlines allow sleep apnea patients to use CPAP units while in flight. However, each airline has their own rules about this, and most require at least 48 hour notice. Find more info at the links below:
- FAA (Check here first for official FAA guidelines)
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Airlines Located under special concerns–>assistive devices
- Frontier Airlines
- Jet Blue Airlines
- United Airlines
Purchases to Make Traveling With a CPAP Machine Easier
CPAP travel case – if you don’t already have one, this is a must-have for frequent travelers.
CPAP masks wipes – to make on-the-go cleaning easier
CPAP portable battery – lets you use your machine anywhere, even camping
CPAP hose holder – lets you sleep with your mask in a comfortable position, regardless of where you are or how you like to sleep.
Travel sized CPAP – if you travel frequently, it may be worthwhile to look into travel-sized CPAP machines.
Traveling with CPAP units doesn’t need to be difficult. We hope these tips have been helpful, and we wish you safe (and restful) travels!