POC Update

By now, most of you know there have been big changes in the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) this month. Suffice it to say it was time. Things have evolved over the 23 years since the ACAA was first adopted, so the law needed to be changed accordingly.

One of the major ACAA changes affects people who use Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POCs). As of May 13, 2009 all US carriers must accept any FAA-approved POC aboard their aircraft. This new rule also applies to foreign air carriers, on flights arriving or departing the US.

So which POCs are FAA-approved? Well the list keeps growing, but so far it includes these models:

  • AirSep FreeStyle
  • AirSep LifeStyle
  • Delphi RS-00400
  • Inogen One
  • Invacare XPO2
  • Respironics EverGo
  • SeQual Technology Eclipse

The new law also puts the financial burden of getting FAA approval on the manufacturer. To be honest, that’s where it should lie; as the manufacturers are the ones who ultimately benefit from the approval, through increased sales.

But what if your POC isn’t on the list? Well, then I’d advise you to lobby your manufacturer to get approval. After all, it’s in their hands. And you are the consumer. And in this day and age I think it’s reasonable to assume that most folks who use a POC are going to take at least one flight sometime during their life. And let’s face it, breathing isn’t exactly optional.

And if you’re shopping around for a POC, make sure and get one that is FAA-approved. All FAA-approved models are required to labeled as such, so make sure the POC you purchase has the appropriate label. You never know when you will need to fly!

As with all rule changes, I expect there will be some confusion in the beginning, but ultimately this ACAA amendment will open up the friendly skies to a lot more people. And, I expect that in 10 or so years, all POCs will be FAA-approved. There just won’t be a market for those that aren’t.