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Newbie traveling with CPAP in airport for 1st time
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quip Offline

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Post: #1
Newbie traveling with CPAP in airport for 1st time
Hello!

I am a heavy business traveler that frequents airports quite a bit BEFORE I was diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. For the last 30 days since I have been getting used to my CPAP equipment I have been "off the grid" in terms of my business travel through airports. But, now it's time to go back into the airports with my new found friend, my CPAP machine.

I have a business trip coming up on October 26, on Southwest Airlines. I am a total rookie at traveling with my CPAP machine at the airport.

My Questions I have are:
1. Should I check my CPAP machine or not?
2. If I do bring my CPAP machine through the TSA Security check point is it like a computer . . . do I have to actually remove it for inspection from the carrying case?
3. What should I expect at a TSA Security check point with a CPAP machine?
4. On the airplane itself the airline crew - will make me check one three bags now?

I would deeply appreciate any help and assurances you can give this newbie PAPer flyer, everyone!

Be the change that you wish to see in the world
10-17-2015 03:01 AM
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49er Offline

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Mask Type: Nasal mask
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Post: #2
RE: Newbie traveling with CPAP in airport for 1st time
(10-17-2015 03:01 AM)quip Wrote:  Hello!

I am a heavy business traveler that frequents airports quite a bit BEFORE I was diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. For the last 30 days since I have been getting used to my CPAP equipment I have been "off the grid" in terms of my business travel through airports. But, now it's time to go back into the airports with my new found friend, my CPAP machine.

I have a business trip coming up on October 26, on Southwest Airlines. I am a total rookie at traveling with my CPAP machine at the airport.

My Questions I have are:
1. Should I check my CPAP machine or not?
2. If I do bring my CPAP machine through the TSA Security check point is it like a computer . . . do I have to actually remove it for inspection from the carrying case?
3. What should I expect at a TSA Security check point with a CPAP machine?
4. On the airplane itself the airline crew - will make me check one three bags now?

I would deeply appreciate any help and assurances you can give this newbie PAPer flyer, everyone!

Hi Quip,

Absolutely do not check your machine as in the US (which I assume you will be traveling in) the pap machine doesn't count as a carry one item since it is a medical device. When I flew in June, I stored mine under the seat in front of me without any problem as for various reasons, I didn't want it in the overhead bin.

Just send your machine in the case through the X-Ray machine. If TSA wants you to take it out, they will tell you. I think they are so used to seeing these machines now, I doubt you will have to but obviously, I can't guarantee that.

Regarding question number 4, the airline crew can make you check a carryon bag if there is too much weight on the plane. Usually, they ask for volunteers though. But I am assuming that this wouldn't apply to pap machines since they are counted as medical devices although I haven't checked the rules. Hopefully, someone more knowledgeable than me can chime in on this.

Just so you know, when I felt in June, it was my first time flying with my pap machine. Everything went very well so you'll do fine.

Finally, if you are flying to another country, there might be different rules about taking the pap machine on the plane so please check.

Best of luck.

49er
(This post was last modified: 10-17-2015 04:33 AM by 49er.)
10-17-2015 04:32 AM
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DeepBreathing Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Newbie traveling with CPAP in airport for 1st time
G'day 49er

I've taken my machine on board many times with no problems around Australia and recently to Indonesia.

Checked luggage is not always treated nicely and can get lost, so keep it with you on board. As for taking it out of the bag, I've been asked on several occasions and other times they were happy to leave it in the bag. As always with these people I just smile and comply. One guy wanted to know all about it as he's just been diagnosed and was looking for advice. Smile

I've always been able to take it on board and never been queried about it being over the limit. I think most airline staff are used to seeing them by now.

DeepBreathing
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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
10-17-2015 04:56 AM
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49er Offline

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Machine: VPAP-S
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Post: #4
RE: Newbie traveling with CPAP in airport for 1st time
(10-17-2015 04:56 AM)DeepBreathing Wrote:  G'day 49er

I've taken my machine on board many times with no problems around Australia and recently to Indonesia.

Checked luggage is not always treated nicely and can get lost, so keep it with you on board. As for taking it out of the bag, I've been asked on several occasions and other times they were happy to leave it in the bag. As always with these people I just smile and comply. One guy wanted to know all about it as he's just been diagnosed and was looking for advice. Smile

I've always been able to take it on board and never been queried about it being over the limit. I think most airline staff are used to seeing them by now.

Thanks DP, glad you haven't had any problems. I have a vague memory that there is a country in Europe in which the pap machine counts as a carry on item on their specific airlines. But again, I would have to doublecheck.
10-17-2015 05:56 AM
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speedy Offline

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Post: #5
RE: Newbie traveling with CPAP in airport for 1st time
Here is the text of the relevant section of the Code of Federal Regulations regarding not counting the CPAP in the carry-on luggage limit, 14CFR382.121(b):
§ 382.121 What mobility aids and other assistive devices may passengers with a disability bring into the aircraft cabin?
(a) As a carrier, you must permit passengers with a disability to bring the following kinds of items into the aircraft cabin, provided that they can be stowed in designated priority storage areas or in overhead compartments or under seats, consistent with FAA, PHMSA, TSA, or applicable foreign government requirements concerning security, safety, and hazardous materials with respect to the stowage of carry-on items.
(1) Manual wheelchairs, including folding or collapsible wheelchairs;
(2) Other mobility aids, such as canes (including those used by persons with impaired vision), crutches, and walkers; and
(3) Other assistive devices for stowage or use within the cabin (e.g., prescription medications and any medical devices needed to administer them such as syringes or auto-injectors, vision-enhancing devices, and POCs, ventilators and respirators that use non-spillable batteries, as long as they comply with applicable safety, security and hazardous materials rules).
(b) In implementing your carry-on baggage policies, you must not count assistive devices (including the kinds of items listed in paragraph (a) of this section) toward a limit on carry-on baggage.
10-17-2015 11:15 AM
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Homerec130 Offline

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Post: #6
RE: Newbie traveling with CPAP in airport for 1st time
Another suggestion is to put you machine in a clear, gallon-size ziplock bag (but don't seal it). This is to keep it fairly clean if TSA does handle it. If TSA wants to handle the machine ask them (nicely) if they could use clean gloves as you will be breathing through it. Also, don't worry about carry water for the humidifier, you can always get it at your destination or in a pinch use tap water.

I also keep a copy of my script in the bag in one of the side pockets. The only other thing that goes in the bag besides my CPAP and supplies is my wife;s and my meds as well as the charger for her spinal cord stimulator. All legal under the med device provision. If I do travel on a smaller aircraft, I do advise the gate agent that I am carrying a medical device just out of common courtesy.

I have a tag on my bag that says it is a medical device with the exemption paragraph listed. Never had any issues traveling with it.

Homer
10-17-2015 11:56 AM
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PaulaO2 Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Newbie traveling with CPAP in airport for 1st time
(10-17-2015 03:01 AM)quip Wrote:  My Questions I have are:
1. Should I check my CPAP machine or not?

Yes, take it on board with you. It is safer with you. And if your luggage gets lost or if your plane is delayed or whatever, your machine is with you, not somewhere else.

Quote:2. If I do bring my CPAP machine through the TSA Security check point is it like a computer . . . do I have to actually remove it for inspection from the carrying case?

Just the blower unit needs to be removed, if the humidifier is separate like the S9. If not, just take out the entire thing.

Quote:3. What should I expect at a TSA Security check point with a CPAP machine?

They scan it through like a laptop. Some airports may even take it aside and wipe it with a cloth to look for explosives. You can ask that they change gloves first but, really, I don't think there is a need. The machine is inert and they aren't sticking their fingers into the air intake.

Quote:4. On the airplane itself the airline crew - will make me check one three bags now?

No, it counts as medical equipment. Just tell them it is a CPAP and that is that. Most of them know the look of the bags now and don't even blink. Nothing else can be in the bag but medical equipment. However, if your other two bags are large, you're going to be getting dirty looks from them or other passengers. Most CPAP bags have that strap on the back that lets them be slipped over the handle of a rolling bag. And there are tags you can get to display that it is medical equipment. Some of the online suppliers have them. Or just Google "medical equipment luggage tag" or "cpap luggage tag".

Quote:I would deeply appreciate any help and assurances you can give this newbie PAPer flyer, everyone!

Be calm. Be polite. You travel a lot so you know how it all works. Just treat it like a laptop and all will be well. TSA has seen so many of these things now, they don't blink. So you don't blink either.

We do have a wiki article:
http://www.apneaboard.com/wiki/index.php?title=Travel_with_CPAP

A few years ago I did a post of stuff I put in my bag. If nothing else, you will want an extension cord! Please let us know what you, a more seasoned traveler, wind up putting in yours.
http://www.apneaboard.com/forums/Thread-...for-travel

PaulaO2
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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
10-17-2015 12:05 PM
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DariaVader Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Newbie traveling with CPAP in airport for 1st time

  1. Don't check it. Carry it on
  2. Tag it with a medical equipment tag. Most airline personnel will recognize it, but fellow passengers could object and create a ruckus (hey, things are getting weird out there, and folk have been tossed off flights for *nothing*)
  3. Put all your meds in the bag and put a printout of your meds list - in the pocket
  4. Put the blower and humidifier in separate ziplocks (if they separate) I just open the bag so they are sticking out and 9 times out of 10 they leave it that way, but you get the jerk on some trips. TSA will remove it and throw it in a dirty bin faster than you can object occasionally
  5. Payup to TSA-Mafia and get the pay-me-$99-per-year-and-I-won't-molest-you-TSA-Prechk. Do this and leave your shoes on, your cpap and laptop bags closed and your liquids packed.

هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه
Tongue Suck Technique for prevention of mouth breathing:
  • Place your tongue behind your front teeth on the roof of your mouth
  • let your tongue fill the space between the upper molars
  • gently suck to form a light vacuum
Practising during the day can help you to keep it at night

هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه
(This post was last modified: 10-17-2015 12:49 PM by DariaVader.)
10-17-2015 12:48 PM
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WakeUpTime Offline

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Post: #9
RE: Newbie traveling with CPAP in airport for 1st time
- have prescription with you as a backup, or if your machine should break get lost or stolen
- wash all washables upon arrival anyway
- get a custom cpap bag and the nice med tag from that popular site (or get the words/image and get your own done)
- I separated the humidifier and put tiny bible wrap around it, as I know it'll get bumped and moved a lot when traveling
- major airports have been trained on them, never accept it as checked, but let them do anything they want for analysis without protest (a big medical device tag will help with their care)

Sleep Apnea has given me a terrible memory. Please forgive me if I've repeated myself.
10-18-2015 01:12 AM
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player Offline

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Post: #10
RE: Newbie traveling with CPAP in airport for 1st time
Don't hide your weed in the humidifier.
10-18-2015 02:00 AM
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