Due to the growing awareness of sleep apnea most airlines are familiar with CPAP machines.
It is recommended that your CPAP machine be taken through security instead of checked luggage. This is to avoid being lost if your luggage does not reach your final destination. Your CPAP machine is not considered carry-on luggage and should not count toward your carry-on quota. Most Airlines should allow a carry-on bag, a personal bag such as a purse or briefcase, and your CPAP machine in its traveling case.
If you are flying, you can call the airline ahead of time to let them know you are travelling with a CPAP device and to ask them about their policies and procedures.
Carry a copy of your prescription from your sleep physician certifying your need for a PAP device. If you purchased your device from us, we will have a copy of your prescription in your file.
Tips for packing
The most Airlines allows traveling with CPAP, Bilevel and APAP devices in both your checked and carry-on bags. We recommend packing them in a carry-on bag to avoid accidental damage or loss. You can review the TSA’s latest policies on CPAP travel on their website.
- Before you pack the humidifier, make sure it’s free from water. Never travel with water in your Humidifier chamber.
- Always pack an extension cord in case wherever you’re staying doesn’t have a power source near your bed – you usually won’t know for sure until you get there.
- Traveling outside of North America? Don’t forget to bring an international power adapter!
- CPAP Device and accessories in a clear plastic bag
- Empty humidifier chamber
- Extension cord
- International power adapter if traveling abroad
- Distilled/drinking-quality water, depending on accessibility at destination
Tips for the airport
- Thanks to growing awareness of sleep apnea, it’s no longer necessary to show a medical statement when going through security with a CPAP device. However, each agent does have the authority to refuse admission at their own discretion.
- When going through security, you can leave the mask and tubing in their cases, but you may be asked to remove the machine for X-ray screening (don’t worry — this won’t damage it). You can keep the machine in a clear plastic bag during this process.
- No matter how well you prepare, airport security can be unpredictable – so make sure to leave early to give yourself plenty of time!
Tips for the flight
- If you plan to use CPAP therapy during the flight, contact the airline well ahead of time to check whether the plane has a compatible power source, and to request a seat next to it.
- Always switch your machine to airplane mode during flights.
Common questions about traveling with your CPAP
Can my therapy machine run from the 400Hz power supply on an aircraft?
Yes. Even though the rating plate on the therapy device specifies 50-60Hz, the switch mode power supply in the flow generator is compatible with the 110 volts 400Hz power supply on an aircraft.
Will I need to have my therapy machine adjusted if I travel at high altitudes?
While most of our devices will automatically compensate for higher altitude changes, some lightweight devices may require manual adjustment. If no adjustment is made, it may deliver less effective therapy. Please check with a professional at your CPAP equipment store.
Will the x-ray scanners at airport security affect my sleep therapy machine?
No, the x-ray scanners will not harm your machine. However, security may need to see a medical statement from your doctor verifying that you are carrying medical equipment, so keep it handy!
Do I need to take my machine with me if I need hospitalization?
Yes. If you are having surgery, it is very important that you tell both the surgeon and the anesthesiologist that you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and are being treated with CPAP.