flying in airplane with cpap

General Discussion on any topic relating to CPAP and/or Sleep Apnea.
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reefdreamer
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flying in airplane with cpap

Post by reefdreamer » Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:37 pm

I have not had to fly yet with cpap and have a couple questions. I know already that you can bring cpap machine as a carry on with a tag on it. I am going to a 10-12 hour flight possibly in a couple months and notice many of the flights are over night. Is there any way on the plane to use your cpap for overnight flights. I know I will look like a goof to others but I really don't care...can not sleep without it.Obviously I would have to use whatever bottled water they may have on the plane for humidifier. I have not flown in years.
Jen

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bailachel
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Re: flying in airplane with cpap

Post by bailachel » Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:47 pm

I believe it is possible with prior approval from the airline. There is also the issue of power to consider. Will you be able to plug it in or will you need a battery?

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LinkC
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Re: flying in airplane with cpap

Post by LinkC » Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:53 pm

Most aircraft are equipped with 110V power outlets. They MAY not have them at every seat...you'd have to check in advance.

It's hard to say how "clean" that power is. I would think a CPAP could handle some electrical noise, but who knows? If it's convenient to get a daytime flight, that would be my first choice; but, if not, I'd probably endure the hassle and slight risk of using it onboard.

I think I read somewhere that only certain models have been tested and approved for in-flight use. That's another possible hitch to look into.

Hmmmm...would TSA allow a big ol' battery thru? That's a tough (but important!) call.

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Re: flying in airplane with cpap

Post by blakepro » Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:54 pm

I wonder how a cpap machines automatic altitude adjustment would be afected by an airplane...

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Re: flying in airplane with cpap

Post by Davidwnc » Tue Dec 01, 2009 3:35 pm

I often fly internationally and use it - and have never (yet) had any problems using it. The airline I use most often is American Airlines. A lot can depend on the airline you are flying. The each have their own rules and regulations. Some require prior permision, some only require prior notification, and some don't even require that.

As for power at your seat, again that depends on the airline, as well as the aircraft type. Do you know which airline you are flying?

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Re: flying in airplane with cpap

Post by LinkC » Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:02 pm

blakepro wrote:I wonder how a cpap machines automatic altitude adjustment would be afected by an airplane...


I suspect the pressurized cabin would be well within the limits of the machine.

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reefdreamer
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Re: flying in airplane with cpap

Post by reefdreamer » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:35 am

I just started searching flights...I could use american airlines...any idea how I would let them know and how it works flying at night....I would like a little bit of privacy but not sure if that will happen!Jen

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JohnBFisher
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Re: flying in airplane with cpap

Post by JohnBFisher » Wed Dec 02, 2009 12:17 pm

reefdreamer wrote:I just started searching flights...I could use american airlines...any idea how I would let them know and how it works flying at night....I would like a little bit of privacy but not sure if that will happen!Jen

Thanks! I was wondering how to do exactly this, so I went and found a good starting point for you (and me):

http://www.aa.com/i18n/travelInformation/specialAssistance/customersWithDisabilities.jsp

It appears you may need to "speak to an American Airlines Reservations Representative directly at 1-800-433-7300 (TDD for hearing and speech impaired: 1-800-543-1586)".

Oh, and American Airlines specifically notes:

Canes, walkers, CPAP machines and other assistive devices capable of being collapsed small enough to fit into approved overhead and under seat stowage areas are welcome and do not count toward your carry-on item limit.

See the following page for more information:

http://www.aa.com/i18n/travelInformation/specialAssistance/wheelchairsAndDevices.jsp

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LinkC
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Re: flying in airplane with cpap

Post by LinkC » Wed Dec 02, 2009 12:37 pm

One of John's references from AA mentioned wheelchair batteries being brought onboard. So I would guess a CPAP battery is an option if it meets the same guidelines.

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Re: flying in airplane with cpap

Post by carbonman » Wed Dec 02, 2009 12:43 pm

reefdreamer wrote:Well everyone I am still struggling with this cpap thing. I am just finally past feeling comfortable going to bed with my husband and looking like a frigging elephant with the cpap mask on but I still feel terrible in the morning like I have not slept a wink. Close to giving up!


reefdreamer wrote:I know I will look like a goof to others but I really don't care...can not sleep without it.Jen


I can't help you w/flying stuff....but....

you've come a long way.

Congratulations!
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to see or feel those changes, you'll never know what you're capable of."
I said that.

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Re: flying in airplane with cpap

Post by Davidwnc » Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:53 pm

reefdreamer wrote:I just started searching flights...I could use american airlines...any idea how I would let them know and how it works flying at night....I would like a little bit of privacy but not sure if that will happen!Jen

If you are flying AA on an overnight flight, they (like most airlines) will dim the cabin lights so that it will dark for you - most likely after the meal is served.
With AA, you will need a DC adaptor that fits a cigarette lighter if you want to plug into the aircraft's power system. You can find the adaptor for your model on CPAP.com. You wont be able to run your humidifier - just your CPAP.
Not all seats on AA have the 'powerport' as they are called. If you are flying First or Business it will be no problem as those seats each have it. If, on the otherhand, you are flying peasant class, not all seats have the powerports. You can find this out though. You will need to know what aircraft type (if you don't know it, I can tell you how to find out) - once you know that you can go to http://www.aa.com/i18n/aboutUs/ourPlanes/ourPlanes.jsp and see what seats have the powerports.

If you decide to fly something other than AA you can find seat maps at http://www.seatguru.com and http://www.seatexpert.com - but I don't find these to be quite as accurate as the ones the airlines put out.

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Re: flying in airplane with cpap

Post by JohnBFisher » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:49 pm

JohnBFisher wrote:
reefdreamer wrote:I just started searching flights...I could use american airlines...any idea how I would let them know and how it works flying at night....I would like a little bit of privacy but not sure if that will happen!Jen
...

It appears you may need to "speak to an American Airlines Reservations Representative directly at 1-800-433-7300 (TDD for hearing and speech impaired: 1-800-543-1586)". ...

Well, I just finished calling. It worked. The reservations representative was able to shift me to seats where there is a power port. The power port is one of those DC 12v power outlets you find in cars. It used to also be called cigarette lighters, but most no longer can provide enough "juice" to heat up a cigarette lighter. I can use a power port to power an inverter that can provide power to my xPAP unit. I might get some sleep on these flights!

If you wonder where the power ports are lcoated, you can go to the following site:

http://www.seatguru.com/

Dive into the links on the left to get the airline and type of plane.

Hope that helps make it easier for everyone else.

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plr66
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Re: flying in airplane with cpap

Post by plr66 » Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:37 pm

And if worse comes to worst, and you cannot work out getting a seat with an appropriate battery port, do not panic. I have never used my cpap onboard for overnight flights, but have been fine with sleeping in the cattle-class in an upright position with an inflatable neck pillow as well as a jacket stuffed "pillow" to keep my head upright against the window wall. Not a lot of real sleep (if any), but restful and with few or no snoring or OSA events.

I also was pretty amazed on a recent 11 hour overnight flight that I got more hours of dozing than ever before, and with no apnea symptoms the next day, by simply putting a fat "pillow" (again--jacket & flight blanket stuffed in a pillow case I brought) down on my meal tray, and then leaning forward with my head or forehead on my crossed arms or the pillow. Much more comfortable than sleeping upright for me; and the physics of that position are better for reducing OSA events, I think.
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Re: flying in airplane with cpap

Post by dhaxelbarqs » Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:54 pm

I thinks its not necessarily advisable for a person to travel. Sometimes patients with neuromuscular diseases use this variety of ventilation as well.
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Re: flying in airplane with cpap

Post by JohnBFisher » Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:20 am

dhaxelbarqs wrote:... I thinks its not necessarily advisable for a person to travel. Sometimes patients with neuromuscular diseases use this variety of ventilation as well. ...

Depends on the person and situation. I never used to have a problem doing what plr66 suggests, but sleeping without my unit is no longer an option for me. So, for those who need it, it seemed prudent to share my experience. I see Davidwnc shared similar information at the same time (good links there ... I will check them out).

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"I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing” from Rabbi Hillel
"I wish to paint in such a manner as if I were photographing dreams." from Zdzisław Beksiński