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Irish Sleep Apnoea Trust ISAT

Iontaobhas Apnoea Codlata na hÉireann

The Irish Sleep Apnoea Trust promotes awareness, understanding and treatment of Sleep Apnoea through education, research and fund raising.

Air Travel With CPAP - ISAT Information and Advice.


Travelling with CPAP has become easier over the past few years, with airline and security staff becoming more familiar with the device.

The majority of problems that CPAP users face, regarding travel with airlines, can be put down to lack of preparation.  Hopefully, the following guidelines will help to minimize inconveniences.  For convenience, we have broken down the guidelines into the following sections:


1. PRE BOOKING

2. AIRLINE APPROVAL

3. WHAT YOU WILL NEED

4. WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT

5. RESOURCES



1. PRE BOOKING

A. Before making air travel arrangements Sleep Apnoea sufferers should ensure that they are fit to travel, and if in any doubt should contact their Medical Consultant for confirmation.

B. You will need a ‘Letter of Medical Necessity’ from your Sleep Clinic.

C. This is a good time to have your CPAP equipment checked out by your Medical Device Supplier (MDS) (filters/mask/tubing).

D. If leasing your CPAP equipment, you should check with your MDS whether your CPAP equipment needs to be insured.  If you own your CPAP machine, you should arrange to have it covered on your holiday insurance.

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2. AIRLINE APPROVAL

A. Book your flight as normal.

B. Your CPAP equipment should ALWAYS be taken on board as ‘cabin luggage’.  It should never be placed with ‘checked in’ luggage.  Your CPAP bag is allowed in addition to the normal cabin luggage allowance.  There should be no additional charge.

C. Contact the airlines ‘Special Handling’ or ‘Special Assistance’ Department and advise them that you will be taking your CPAP equipment as additional ‘cabin luggage’.  Follow their instructions and approval should be obtained within about 24 hours or earlier.

D. Approval should be forwarded to you by email or alternatively some airlines electronically ‘tag’ your Boarding Pass to allow for the extra bag.

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3. WHAT YOU WILL NEED

A. A letter of Medical Necessity.

B. Your CPAP equipment in one bag (you may be asked for dimensions).

C. Your Booking Number.

D. Best to bring an extension cord, as hotels may not have electrical points close to your bed.

E. DO NOT leave water in the humidifier (if you have one).

F. A suitable plug top adaptor suit-able for the country you are visiting.

G. Place a card, with your contact details, inside the CPAP bag. Can be handy if the bag is lost.  Keep a separate record of the Make and serial Number of your CPAP machine.

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4. WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT

A. All major airlines are familiar with CPAP equipment and the regulations covering its carriage.

B. At Security, you will probably be asked to remove your CPAP equipment from the bag, place it on a plastic tray for scanning (like a laptop). Once in a while you may be asked to step into a private room, to allow security staff ’swab’ your machine for explosives. This takes a few minutes only.

C. Try and ensure that your CPAP equipment is placed beside a divider/bulkhead in the overhead locker. Place any other bags on the other side to give protection to the machine. If you have problems with this, ask an airline attendant for assistance. It is imperative that other luggage is NOT jammed against your machine. Masks/tubing are easily broken.

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5. RESOURCES

A. If you are travelling long haul and wish to use your CPAP during the flight, check this website, before contacting the airlines Special Handling Department: www.seatguru.com for travel tips and details of seating and power points on aircraft.

B. This website gives excellent information on the power level and plug type for just about every country in the world:
www.europlugs.com.

C. The European Lung Foundation (ELF) have excellent advice for air travelers at this site: European Lung Foundation - Air Travel.  The information is directed to those who may require oxygen therapy.

D. The ELF site also gives contact details for all European Airlines Special Handling Departments.

E. If travelling to the USA, the following information from the TSA should be helpful:

TRANSPORT SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (TSA)
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machines
CPAPs are allowed through security checkpoints once they have undergone screening.  Passengers will be required to take their CPAP machine out of its carrying case and place the device in a bin for x-ray screening. Facemasks and tubing can remain in the carrying case.

In addition to x-ray inspection of your CPAP machine, a visual and physical inspection, and Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) sampling will be required.  To facilitate CPAP machine hygiene and cleanliness: Once out of the carrying case, you can place your CPAP machine in a clear plastic bag before placing the device in the bin. You will need to provide/bring your own plastic bag.

Upon request, TSOs will change their gloves prior to performing the visual and physical inspection, and ETD sampling of your CPAP machine.

The CPAP will need to be removed from the plastic bag by the TSO to conduct the ETD sampling.

Upon request, TSOs will clean the table where the ETD sampling will be conducted.

Upon request, TSOs will change the ETD sampling media before conducting the ETD sampling.

WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU CARRY A LETTER OF MEDICAL NECESSITY IN YOUR CPAP BAG.

RECENT US LEGISLATION INSISTS ON A DOCTOR’S PRESCRIPTION FOR ALL ITEMS OF CPAP EQUIPMENT, INCLUDING MASKS.

IN ALL CASES, EARLY PREPARATION IS THE BEST ADVICE.
DON’T HESITATE TO CONTACT ISAT AND/OR YOUR MEDICAL DEVICE SUPPLIER BEFORE TRAVELLING.

UP TO DATE ADVICE ON TRAVELLING WITH CPAP WILL BE AVAILABLE SHORTLY AT WWW.ISAT.IE

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Air Products Medical Ireland Ltd
18H Rosemount Business Park, Ballycoolin Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin 11. Tel: + 353 (0)1 809 1800 Fax: + 353 (0)1 829 3966 Tel: LoCall 1850 240 202 (ROI only)


BOC Healthcare
Bluebell Industrial Estate, Dublin 12; & Blyry Industrial Estate, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. Tel: 09064-70910 Fax: 09064-74993 Lo-call: 1890 22 02 02 02


Direct Medical Ltd
Suite 2, Gateway Centre, Monksland Athlone Co. Roscommon
Tel: +353 90 648 9827 Fax: +353 90 648 9901


Home Health Care Ltd
Ballykeeran, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Tel: + 353 (0)90 6474854 Fax: + 353 (0)90 6478241


Medicare Health & Living Ltd
Glencormack Business Park, Kilmacanogue, Co. Wicklow, Tel: 01 2014900 Fax: 01 2014999


Orega Systems Ltd
24 Lauriston, The Park, Midleton, Co. Cork. Tel: + 353 (0)21 4634905 / + 353 (0)766 895798


ResMed/PEI Ltd
Sleep & Respiratory Medicine Team M50 Business Park Ballymount Road Upper Ballymount Dublin 12 Ireland Tel: 1800 734 000 or +353 1 419 6900


Respicare Ltd
Medical Centre, Applewood Village, Swords, Co. Dublin. Tel: (01) 890 4020

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Download a PDF version of the ISAT Air Travel with CPAP Information sheet.