1. It is a good idea to get a ‘Letter of Medical Necessity’ from your sleep clinic (it states your condition and the pressure setting of your CPAP machine). In the event of loss or breakdown, it will prove invaluable should you need to replace your machine abroad.
2. Always ensure that you clear your CPAP equipment for air travel as soon as possible after booking your flight.
3. Follow instructions from The Special Assistance Department of your airline.
4. Always pack a suitable plug adaptor and extension cable. Check this site for details.
5. It’s a good opportunity to have your machine serviced and replace any worn parts (hose/filter) and mask.
6. Check any insurance issues with your supplier.
7. When you approach the security check area, make sure to tell security staff that you are carrying a medical device. You MAY have to remove it from the bag (unlikely), but it will be placed in a separate tray for scanning. Follow their instructions.
8. On rare occasions, security staff MAY ask to swab your CPAP machine for explosives. Should this happen, you can ask to have it swabbed privately in a room away from other passengers. This process involved removing the CPAP machine from the carry bag and lightly swabbing a small area of it. It should take no longer than a minute or two. You are entitled to ask security staff to replace their gloves with clean ones.
9. Once on board, try to place your CPAP bag beside a bulkhead in the overhead locker, with your other case beside it (protecting it). If you are unable to place the machine safely in the overhead locker, either place it on the floor under the seat in front of you or alternatively ask one of the flight attendants to place it in one of their lockers (NOT IN THE HOLD)
REMEMBER, problems or difficulties travelling with CPAP are more the exception than the rule.
If your equipment has received advance clearance, you are unlikely to experience any problems.
IF YOUR CPAP MACHINE HAS NOT RECEIVED PRIOR CLEARANCE, IT IS UNLIKELY THAT YOU WILL BE ALLOWED CARRY IT ON BOARD AS ‘ADDITIONAL LUGGAGE’.