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Flying with CPAP machine

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Flying with CPAP machine

Postby 2As » Thu May 20, 2010 5:34 pm

Recently started CPAP and am doing reasonably well at home. I am going to start traveling quite a bit and I know that people generally take their CPAP as carry-on. What are the reasons NOT to put a CPAP machine in checked luggage? I know the obvious - it may not get to your destination, but a night or 2 for me without my CPAP is not a big deal. I am still in the stage where I feel better when I don't use it. Hope that will improve, but in the meantime, would appreciate advice about CPAP in checked luggage.
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Postby Annarch » Thu May 20, 2010 5:52 pm

Honestly, I'd be more afraid that a CPAP machine would be destroyed in checked baggage. I just returned from my first flight with my CPAP equipment and took it as a carry-on (it doesn't count as carry-on since it's medical equipment) with no problem. However, the baggage handlers broke one of the zippers on my checked bag so they were not gentle. It was the zipper in the compartment where all my lovely undies were traveling :oops: .
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Postby jessy 49 » Thu May 20, 2010 6:14 pm

Your cpap is $1000.00 worth of equipment. Should you put ANYTHING worth that much into checked luggage?
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Postby jrinker » Thu May 20, 2010 6:16 pm

You do not want to put your cpap as checked baggage. It could get delayed, lost, stolen, damaged. You know that baggage is not handled gently, and you know that it is frequently searched. Do you really want some stranger handling a machine, mask, tubing, etc. that you breathe through for seven or eight hours a night? Not to mention what could happen to the delicate electronics inside the machine when it gets tossed around by baggage handlers

Yes, it's a pain to carry it through the airport, but at least you know where it is and who is handling. You know that when it gets put through security, someone with rubber gloves will be inspecting and swabbing it for explosives. You can insist that they change their gloves, clean the table, and get a new swabbing medium before they touch it. If you google TSA regulations for cpap machines, you will find a guideline that you can print out and take with you to the airport, in case anyone there has questions. However, since cpap machines are becoming more common, the personnel are usually quit familiar with them.

It is an expensive piece of medical equipment, and important to your health. You should not let it out of your sight. Even when you're finally on the plane, it should be under your seat, not in the overhead compartment where someone can shove their luggage into it and possibly damage it.

Last edited by jrinker on Thu May 20, 2010 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Flying with CPAP machine

Postby Daniel » Thu May 20, 2010 6:57 pm

2As wrote:Recently started CPAP and am doing reasonably well at home. I am going to start traveling quite a bit and I know that people generally take their CPAP as carry-on. What are the reasons NOT to put a CPAP machine in checked luggage? I know the obvious - it may not get to your destination, but a night or 2 for me without my CPAP is not a big deal. I am still in the stage where I feel better when I don't use it. Hope that will improve, but in the meantime, would appreciate advice about CPAP in checked luggage.

OK, forget about the machine being delayed or lost.............what about the way luggage is treated by baggage handlers ???
Another poster suggested extensive padding around their machine..............BUT what about the internal parts and the effects of having your bag 'thrown around'...........it really is a 'no contest'....and finally, how well do you think your mask and tubing will stand up to 'baggage handlers'.

Take it on board.

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Postby SleepyToo » Thu May 20, 2010 9:07 pm

An xpap machine is a sensitive piece of electronic equipment. Electronic equipment does not like being thrown around, or getting wet. Either of these things is definitely, or at the very least highly likely to happen to your checked machine. If not both of them. Do you really want to throw away $1000 worth of electronic equipment because you think it is going to be too much hassle to carry it on board? I just flew for the first time with my machine and I had zero problems with it. The TSA folks were very familiar with xpaps. One even commented that my machine looked new - we had a brief chat about how long they have been on the market. Not a problem!
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Postby Bearded One » Fri May 21, 2010 10:18 pm

I wouldn't be surprised to hear that a CPAP were stolen from luggage. I don't check expensive things because they will get stolen. I recently had a cheap MP3 player stolen from my suitcase and other people get all sorts of stuff, including cameras and laptops, stolen from their checked luggage. It was bad enough when it was just the airlines' luggage smashers that had access to luggage, now the TSA also has access -- and you cannot put a real lock on your suitcase any more; they have to be TSA approved to be useless.
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Postby buddmar » Sat May 22, 2010 12:19 am

Two years ago exactly I was brand new to using a CPAP, took a trip to Miami and packed it in my suitcase as checked luggage. Nothing happened. It was fine.

In two weeks I'm flying to Miami again, and this time I'm taking it carry on. thanks for the advice, guys.
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Postby cdbva » Sat May 22, 2010 1:16 am

I've seen baggage being put on the plane. They actually throw it. I wouldn't put anything breakable in a suitcase.

Well, I take that back. I do pack a hand mirror bought from the dollar store. It makes it through four or five trips and then I have to buy another one. It still bugs me when I find the mirror in shards! But it's probably a good reminder. :roll:

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Postby librarylady » Sat May 22, 2010 1:28 am

A night or two of depriving oxygen to your brain and other vital organs is not a big deal? Would you let someone put a pillow over your face over and over each night and try to smother you, because that is what happens when you do not use your CPAP. You may not feel the effects of using it, but you are hurting yourself every time you sleep without it.

I won't even put my CPAP in the trunk of the car when we travel here and there--I don't think the hot/cold temp changes are great for electronics, and I wouldn't put my laptop there either. They ride next to me. I am a little overprotective :lol:
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Postby hlh5f9 » Sat May 22, 2010 1:35 am

I just wanted to throw it out there that not all airline employees are created equal...I've flown once with my CPAP, and carried it on. When it was on the belt to go through the X-Ray machine, it fell off. The humidifier came off the actual CPAP machine, and I freaked out seeing it fall because I had only had it a few weeks and didn't know how to put it back together. One of the guys working fixed it without me even asking...he automatically did it.

However, every single airline employee I came in contact with at the gate/boarding gave me trouble. I knew that it didn't count as a carry on because it is medical equipment, so I had my purse, a backpack, and my cpap. All of the people at the gate told me I would have to check one of my bags at the gate because you are only allowed 2 carryons. I always keep my purse with me and would never feel comfortable checking it, and I had important things like my laptop and medicines that I did not want to check in my backpack. This happened at four different airports-St. Louis, Minneapolis, San Jose, and Phoenix.

The last time I flew we were only gone 1 night, and we weren't checking bags, and I decided it was better for me to go without it for a night rather then to deal with dragging it through the airport.

I know most of the other posters have brought up valid points for carrying on rather then checking it, but next time I fly and check bags, my CPAP is going in the checked bag. I always lock my baggage (of course I use the TSA locks that airport employees can open, but I feel ok with that), and have never had problems before. Maybe I'm too trusting or naive, but I know I stress out enough while traveling, I don't need the added stress of carrying it around with me.
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If you MUST check a machine.....

Postby parabellum » Sat May 22, 2010 10:52 am

Let me say this.

I used to work for a company that made computers that cost about $50,000 to $150,000 a piece, but were no bigger than a small toaster oven.

We had to check them anytime we flew with them (which was pretty often).

The ONLY ONLY ONLY case we ever trusted our equipment to were Pelican cases:

[Commercial link deleted. Please review posting guidelines]

Now, I plan on carrying my CPAP machine on with me, because I fear that any checked bag might get LOST.

But I *guarantee* you that if its in a pelican case, the airline cannot damage it. These cases are insanely well made.

Just food for thought.

((and no, I do not work for pelican, nor am I associated with them in any way, I'm just a huge fan of things that are well made))
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Postby Bearded One » Sat May 22, 2010 1:42 pm

I really like Pelican cases too, but that would mean checking a case with nothing but a CPAP in it -- and it could still get "lost".
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Postby 2As » Sat May 22, 2010 8:31 pm

I checked out the Pelican site. There are Pelican cases that will fit a CPAP machine and fit inside a suitcase.
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Postby jsbelljr83 » Mon May 24, 2010 7:58 am

FYI, Pelican cases are pretty expensive, but well worth the price!
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