Travel with CPAP

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Traveling with a Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine typically poses no inconvenience. For domestic travel, pack the machine in its travel case and it becomes another piece of luggage. When arriving at a destination, simply plug it in. Flying or travelling to an international destination, however, can pose some difficulties.

Travel units

CPAP machines are typically bulky, which can pose a problem for travellers. The machine might be too large to be carry-on luggage and too heavy to pack in checked luggage without making it overweight. Travel-size CPAP machines are available that are small enough to sit comfortably on a night stand next to a hotel bed and light enough to not add too much weight to your luggage. because of the expense of buying a new machine, this is a cost-effective choice only for frequent travelers.

Air travel with CPAP

Airport Security

CPAP machines can be checked luggage, we recommend that patients always carry their machine on board the aircraft. There is also much less of a chance of a CPAP machine being lost or damaged. Patient contact information should be kept inside the CPAP bag just in case it gets lost or stolen. CPAPs do not count towards carry on bag total since they are a [medical device]]. TSA personnel will inspect CPAP machines during your security screening, and you will need to remove the machine (not the face mask or tubes) from the carrying case and allow it to be X-rayed. A CPAP machine also needs to be physically inspected and tested for explosive trace. If you are concerned about keeping the machine clear, you can place it in a clear bag before placing it in the bin to be X-rayed. You also have the right to request that TSA personnel wear clean gloves during the inspection, clean the table where the machine will be tested for explosive trace and change the explosive trace media before testing. Patients might wish to bring a copy of their CPAP prescription or a Letter of Medical Necessity provided by a physician. While not required, it may be useful in proving the need for the CPAP if ever in question.

Using CPAP on the Aircraft

Sleep Apnea patients are allowed to use a CPAP aboard an aircraft. You will need to be seated in first class or business class to have access to a power outlet called an EmPower outlet. It is recommended that patients check with their specific airline as their rules and requirements vary. Ask about power options in passenger seats so you're prepared in advance of the flight. Patients may need special cables, plug adapters, or even a battery pack depending on the airline.


A flight crew cannot refuse to let a Sleep Apnea patient use a CPAP machine or make it difficult to do so. For U.S. citizens, complaints can be filed with the Department of Transportation if you experience with such problems. The e-mail address is The mailing address is: Aviation Consumer Protection Division U.S. Department of Transportation Room 4107, C-75 Washington, DC 20590.

Each airline is to have a Complaint Resolution Officer (CRO) on staff whenever the airport is open and operating. In the case of damaged equipment, it is highly recommended that you speak to this person before leaving the airport. See the Air Carriers Access Act, 14 CFR Part 382, specifically Subpart K, 382.151-159 for information regarding the CRO, how to file a complaint, and what to expect.

International Locations

International travel should pose no power compatibility problems for patients with a newer CPAP machine. Newer machines have universal power supplies that can adjust to differing voltages. Older machines will probably have a switch to make them compatible with 240-volt power. Otherwise, a power adapter will allow a CPAP machine to run off the available power system.

TSA Rules - What to Expect, Security Screening, and Your Rights

General Overview

CPAP Machine Specific Information

Boat travel with CPAP


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Train travel with CPAP


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Camping and RV travel with CPAP


This section needs to be written.

Professional truck drivers and CPAP


Professional truck drivers lead very demanding lifestyles, which often result in fragmented sleep and other related sleep disorders. Truck drivers, more than any other occupational group in America, have a higher occurrence of OSA.

See also