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Traveling with Oxygen

Older man and woman leaving house with overnight bags.

It’s OK to travel with oxygen. You just need to plan ahead. Call your healthcare provider to get copies of your oxygen prescription and any other paperwork you’ll need.  Depending on where you’re going and how you’re getting there, you may need to arrange for oxygen to be delivered. Your healthcare provider's office or medical equipment company can help with this. Before you travel, call the carrier to find out the needs for traveling with oxygen. Give yourself plenty of time to make needed arrangements.

By car

Keep the windows open a crack so air can circulate. If you’re using liquid oxygen, place the unit upright on the floor or on the seat beside you. If possible, secure it with a seat belt. Put extra oxygen units behind the seat. (Don’t put them in the trunk—it’s too hot.) DO NOT SMOKE or let anyone else smoke in the car.

By bus or train

Call the carrier in advance and tell them you’re traveling with oxygen. You can likely take your own oxygen on board. You may need to show a copy of your prescription first.

By plane

Oxygen tanks aren’t allowed on airplanes. But many airlines will supply you with oxygen for a fee. Call the airline in advance to make arrangements. Keep in mind that this oxygen is only supplied while in the plane—not in the airport. You must arrange to have oxygen delivered to your destination, as well as to any layovers during your flight. If you currently use oxygen at rest, you will need to use oxygen on your flight. Contact your healthcare provider to review your oxygen needs prior to travel. Different airlines have different needs. Check with your airline in advance to facilitate your travel.

By ship

You can probably bring your own oxygen on board the cruise ship. Call to make arrangements. The cruise line will likely need a letter from your healthcare provider, a brief medical history, and a copy of your oxygen prescription. You must arrange for oxygen units to be delivered to the cruise ship.

Online Medical Reviewer: Berry, Judith, PhD, APRN
Online Medical Reviewer: Blaivas, Allen J., DO
Last Review Date: 4/14/2016
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