Traveling is a hassle in itself, and those with sleep apnea often struggle to handle traveling with their CPAP machine. Sleep technologists working with CPAP patients should know the necessary steps to take when traveling so they can be prepared to answer any questions they may have. Knowing these tips will help ease their anxiety about their CPAP machine, and help increase their adherence with the therapy.
If you're unsure if patients should put their CPAP machine in a bag or put aside for special screening, don't worry, we have you covered! Below, you'll find the most frequently asked questions & answers for traveling with a CPAP Machine.
Tips for Traveling with a CPAP Machine
According to the TSA Blog, officers are used to dealing with CPAP machine screenings on a regular basis and recommend the following:
Put your CPAP machine inside the baggage you plan on checking in
TSA officials recommend that those flying with checked bags to put their CPAP device inside the baggage to be checked to reduce the possibility that their baggage is misplaced.
However, those who would rather have their CPAP machine with them can do so without worrying about extra carry on item concerns, especially since CPAP machines count as a medical equipment and do not count towards your personal carry-on item limit.
If you bring your CPAP machine in a carry on bag, consider bringing a plastic bag
Since it's crucial that CPAP machines are in the cleanliest environment at all times, TSA agents actually advise against plopping a CPAP machine in an X-ray bin that might be unsanitary, especially since the machine will need to come out of its case to be examined properly. It's recommended to bring a clear plastic bag to put your CPAP machine in so it can go in the X-ray bin that passes through the security check point.
Consider using a travel-friendly CPAP device
We know that some CPAP devices can be heavy to carry around; that's why we recommend those expecting this discomfort to travel with a light weight, travel-friendly CPAP device that works well for home use. Consult with your patient prior to their trip about obtaining a CPAP device that works best for their traveling needs.
FAQs on Traveling with a CPAP Machine
What if your CPAP machine is being checked for explosives?
If your CPAP machine is going to be checked for explosives, you can ask a TSA official to use a new pair of gloves and a new swab to examine the device for explosives. Sometimes CPAP machines need to be closely examined due to the fact that X-ray scanners can't always get a clear image of your CPAP device.
What if you need to use your CPAP device in-flight?
We recommend that you check with the airlines you plan on traveling with prior to boarding. Every airline has their own rules and requirements, and some aircraft models have power options while others don't. Check to see if you might need to bring some extra cables, plug adapters, or even a battery pack to travel with your CPAP machine.
Traveling with a CPAP machine doesn't have to be difficult if you properly prepare your patients beforehand. Sharing these tips with your patients prior to traveling will help increase CPAP compliance rates among patients who frequently travel.