TSA Travel Tips: Traveling With Portable Oxygen

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Portable Oxygen

When traveling with portable oxygen, the first thing travelers should do is contact their airline. Not all airlines allow the use of portable oxygen concentrators, so that’s a very important first step. Travelers should also check with the manufacturer to determine whether their specific oxygen concentrator is approved for in-flight use.

Here’s what passengers can expect when traveling with portable oxygen through TSA checkpoints:

  • If a passenger can disconnect from his or her portable oxygen, it’s recommended that the passenger check the equipment as checked baggage whenever possible. This makes the screening process simpler for all involved.
  • Passengers who can disconnect are able to be screened using imaging technology or walk-through metal detectors.
  • If a passenger cannot disconnect, or chooses not to be screened by imaging technology or a walk-through metal detector, he or she will be screened using a pat-down procedure instead. A pat-down procedure is also used to resolve any alarms from a metal detector or anomalies identified by imaging technology.
  • If a passenger is bringing his or her portable oxygen concentrator in carry-on baggage, the equipment will either undergo X-ray screening or inspection. If the passenger’s respiratory equipment cannot be X-rayed and an inspection is done, it also will be tested for traces of explosives. If explosive material is detected, the passenger will have to under undergo additional screening.

Passengers are encouraged to consult with their doctors to determine whether they can safely disconnect during screening. It is important for a passenger to inform the officer conducting the screening whether he or she can disconnect before the screening process begins. If an officer insists that you disconnect, please request to speak with a supervisor or manager.

See you next week with more TSA travel tips!

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Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team

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