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taking cpap on plane - what do I need?

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taking cpap on plane - what do I need?

Postby RM2017 » Sun May 08, 2011 6:16 pm

I'm traveling for the first time with my cpap and just wondering do I need to do anything special to go through security at the airport? I was told that the cpap does not count as a carry on piece b/c it is medical equipment. Is this true? Do I have to provide any documentation with the cpap?

Thanks
RM2017

Repsironics system 1
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Re: taking cpap on plane - what do I need?

Postby Daniel » Sun May 08, 2011 6:58 pm

RM2017 wrote:I'm traveling for the first time with my cpap and just wondering do I need to do anything special to go through security at the airport? I was told that the cpap does not count as a carry on piece b/c it is medical equipment. Is this true? Do I have to provide any documentation with the cpap?

Thanks
RM2017

Repsironics system 1
auto cpap
4min-20max


You must contact your airline in advance, Special Handling or Special Assistance. Have your flight booking reference, name and type of machine. They will give you instructions.

As regards security, just advise the person at the scanner that you have a cpap machine....it is usually scanned in the same way as a laptop (remove from carry bag), although some airports just run it through in its bag. You MAY have to the machine swabbed for explosives, usually carried out in an interview room, usually takes about 3 minutes or so.

If you have a humidifier, make sure that you drain out the water.

Daniel.
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Postby Vicki » Sun May 08, 2011 9:51 pm

Getting through security is not a big deal. They are use to PAPs. Since it does take a couple of minutes for them to check it out, it is my personal choice to let them know I have one while I am waiting in line to get through security and it usually beats me through.

A PAP is medical equipment and medical equipment does not count towards your carryon limit.

Vicki
Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.
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That which does not kill you makes you stronger-Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich must of had apnea.
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Postby msla » Sun May 08, 2011 10:59 pm

I always take a copy of my perscription. Should anything happen to the CPAP or mask, it will help gets a loaner, rental, or new mask at your destination.
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Postby SleepyToo » Mon May 09, 2011 7:36 am

I just got back from a short trip to Chicago (from PHL). I put the machine in its own tray to go through the x-ray in Philadelphia. No questions asked, I didn't even tell them I was doing it (I had plenty of time!). On the return trip I did tell them - they said put it in its own tray. Again, no problem. Looks like CPAP machines are now like laptops. Put them in their own tray, and only 1 in a couple of hundred (or whatever their algorithm says) get swabbed for explosives.

Because it was a short flight I did not need to sleep - was able to keep my machine (in the bag) under the seat in front (between my feet). No questions/comments from any airline staff either (US Air). Maybe they have got the message????!

Yesterday I had actually spent the day walking around the McCormick Convention Center (man, that place is huge!) with my CPAP bag. Did not feel self-conscious about it, and no one there questioned it or commented on it. Mind you, most of the participants were gastroenterologists, so maybe they understood?
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Postby RM2017 » Mon May 09, 2011 9:24 am

So when I'm putting it in the tray for xray do i need to take the cpap out of the bag like they ask you to do w/a laptop or can I just leave it inside?
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Postby Vicki » Mon May 09, 2011 11:41 am

Usually they ask you to take it out in case they need to swab it, but they will let you know.

Vicki
Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.
Marilyn Vos Savant

That which does not kill you makes you stronger-Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich must of had apnea.
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Postby SleepyToo » Mon May 09, 2011 12:49 pm

To speed things along, I put my machine in a separate tray, just as with my laptop. I try to anticipate what they might do, and make it easy for them. After all, I want to get through security as quickly as possible, and it is not going to help them do their jobs if their are questions about what they are seeing on the x-ray. May not make life easier for me, but if everyone did that there is less chance of anyone having a "hard time" getting through the security checks.
SleepyToo
Philadelphia Area
Diagnosed September 2009, Respironics System One w/ C-flex and humidifier
Aloha nasal pillows
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Postby cowlypso » Mon May 09, 2011 1:11 pm

About the security screening process:
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds/cpap.shtm

You should not need to notify your airline in advance to bring your cpap as an additional carry on (it does not count toward your carry on limit as long as the only things in the bag are medical supplies, but if you were to pack your cpap bag and then add in a change of clothes, snacks, and a book, then it is no longer exempt because it is not solely medical equipment). If you will need to use your cpap in-flight, then you should contact the airline in advance to determine if your machine meets the criteria, and to determine how you will power your machine.

But to just carry your machine on the plane, you don't need to let anybody know in advance.
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Postby Daniel » Mon May 09, 2011 1:44 pm

You should not need to notify your airline in advance to bring your cpap as an additional carry on (it does not count toward your carry on limit as long as the only things in the bag are medical supplies, but if you were to pack your cpap bag and then add in a change of clothes, snacks, and a book, then it is no longer exempt because it is not solely medical equipment).


Try flying with a European Airline without prior approval for your cpap mahine......based on the reports that I have recently received, you will not be allowed take it on board as free additional baggage.

A number of the European Airlines now issue a 'Waiver Letter', by email, to those who have contacted their Special Assistance/Special Handling sections for prior approval. A simple document, quoting passenger name and flight numbers, authorising the carriage of an additional bag containing a cpap machine/cpap machine with humidifier. Some airlines require the bag size and weight. They may also require a Letter of Medical Necessity (a letter from the sleep clinic stating that you are fit to fly, you need a cpap machine with a pressure setting of XX). I have one in my cpap bag, but in the last 15 years I have never been asked to produce it.

RyanAir (largest European Airline) started this process earlier this year and others are following suit. They require dimensions of the bag and its weight, details of which appear on the Waiver Letter. This is to combat those people who were placing their cpap in a full roll on bag along with additional clothing etc.

I was in Barcelona in March, and if anything this system makes things a lot easier.

Daniel.
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Postby Janknitz » Mon May 09, 2011 2:38 pm

See Daniel's post above if traveling out of the U.S.

But for domestic flights in the U.S. unless you intend to use your CPAP on board there is no need to contact the airline in advance.
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Postby glennaa11 » Wed May 11, 2011 7:23 pm

when I traveled last back in January I was told to take it out of the case and put it in a bin just like your laptop. they seem to have stopped the routine swab they used to do.

I got one of the tags that the online CPAP stores sell to put on my case but that is probably overkill for the most part.

I took mine on Lufthansa, Thai Airways, and Druk Air last year without any questions asked. But I was riding up front so that may matter.
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Postby jessy 49 » Thu May 12, 2011 8:39 am

I'm like Vicki -- I ask what Security wants me to do when I get close to the front of the line. Every airport (even every shift) seems to be different. In general, I think larger airports seem to be less suspicious of cpaps -- probably because they see them more often.
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Postby wpinef » Thu May 12, 2011 4:11 pm

Easy way that I do is to put it in a gallon size zip lock bag in its own tray and through you go no questions asked. I have been traveling almost every other week this year and no issues.
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Postby LTee43 » Thu May 12, 2011 10:45 pm

RM2017 wrote:So when I'm putting it in the tray for xray do i need to take the cpap out of the bag like they ask you to do w/a laptop or can I just leave it inside?


It all depends on what airport of airline you use. I've had the bag go through the scanner and never be opened. I've had to open it up and take it out at other times. I fly fairly frequently too.

LT
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