FAA Approves Two Oxygen Concentrators

A new regulation went into effect last week that could quite possibly open up air travel to many people who use therapeutic oxygen. The new rule allows air carriers to permit qualified passengers to use the AirSep LifeStyle Portable Oxygen Concentrator (POC) or the Inogen One POC aboard their aircraft. It should be noted that the airlines are still not required to allow the use of these devices, but simply permitted to do so if they choose to serve this market.

What exactly is a qualified passenger? Well, according to the regulations the passenger must be able to see and hear the alarms on the POC and have the physical and cognitive ability to respond appropriately to them, or travel with somebody capable of performing these functions.

The passenger must also provide advance notice to the airline, obtain a physician’s statement (and carry it with them at all times), travel with an adequate number of appropriately packaged batteries and insure the POC unit is clean and free of damage.

But don’t pack your bags quite yet. This FAA regulation only allows the airlines the option of accepting these POCs for infligt use. So far no carriers have changed their regulations. But keep an ear to the ground, as many airlines are studying the feasibility of it all. Best guess is that it will take several months for the first carrier to step up to the plate. Even then, it’s expected that extensive employee training will be required.

In the end, airline selection will be limited, however in all likelihood this new regulation will make air travel more affordable to people who use therapeutic oxygen.

In short, it’s a step in the right direction.