Taking CPAP machine to Europe

How do you pack light AND take a CPAP machine that takes up half the bag?

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
2027 posts

I'm not sure you can pack light with a CPAP. My friend has to travel with hers and there's no way she can pack light enough to only go carry-on, always checks a bag. As far as I know, the CPAP is not counted in your carry-on allowance since it's medical equipment. At least that's the case on US airlines. I'm not sure if that applies to budget airlines in Europe. edit: you might want to do a search for CPAP on here, there's several recent threads on it and you might pick up some hints.

Posted by gone
2081 posts

hi, you will just have to deal with carrying it around. im assuming you will be traveling with a addtional person. what i would do is to pack some clothes for both in a carryon bag. the CPAP would be the 2nd carryon for that person along with anything else you cant do WITHOUT. Then i would checkin the others and hope they make it to every destination. happy trails.

Posted by Bets
2791 posts

It's the size of a laptop computer in its case. It doesn't go in the bag, but can be attached to a rollaboard bag. We'll see what happens to the packing list when Rick or someone on his staff needs one. Keep up the good travels!

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
2736 posts

A CPAP can go into a backpack. They're best carried on the airplane, as they're very expensive. You don't want it getting lost. Some are dual 110/220 voltage, and some are not. I carry a voltage inverter that has the different plugs for the different countries. I would also suggest carrying an extension cord, as some hotels have few electrical outlets.
The new generation CPAP machines are small, light and no problem to travel with.

Posted by DH
San Antonio, TX, USA
67 posts

CPAP: Modern solid state electronics are pretty durable. Also they automaticly switch voltage. Our biggest problem is aircraft without plugs and US carriers who prohibit using medical devices when there are plugs. Ibeaia last year was puzzled; they said if it plugs in just go ahead and use it. US carriers are terrified over liability, and the FAA has ruled no CPAP use on aircraft. If its a medical device and the electrical service on the plane MIGHT fail then you MIGHT die for not using your device. So goes their logic.

Posted by Daniel
Longwood, FL, USA
12 posts

Julie, One alternative you might want to consider is getting an oral appliance to use and leave the CPAP at home. They take up a fraction of the space and are MUCH simpler. There are some negatives though.... 1. They're only recommended for people with OBSTRUCTIVE sleep apnea...NOT central or mixed sleep apnea. In addition, your apnea has to be classified as mild to moderate....not severe. 2. These things are expensive....expect 2-3 grand. Less than a CPAP but still expensive. Medical ins. sometimes helps. 3. There are not that many dentists trained in sleep medicine that offer this service. You'd have to look around. This link may help you find one....
http://www.somnomed.com/For_Patients/Patient_Resources.aspx Good luck.

Posted by Mark
Phoenix, AZ
73 posts

I use a CPAP and travel with it all the time. I've never thought about using it ON the plane so have no experience there. My wife and I both have and only take our RS carry-on sized bags; a roller and a convertable backpack. I have a smaller CPAP for travel that I place in the carry-on roller so we have about 1.75 to 1.5 bag space left to pack everything else we need. It seems the hose and mask take up more space then the machine since I don't want to smash them so can't pack to tightly. We try to split each persons stuff between the 2 bags anyways just in case one bag is lost somehow. We love clichy souveniers (t-shirts and such) so going over isn't as challenging as repacking to come home. About 50% of the time I am stopped at airport security where they make me unpack the CPAP and plug it in to show that it really is what it is. Sometimes the same airport will let us thru, then the next time they'll stop us. I have expected to be asked about it by owners or cleaning crew in some of the tiny out-of-the-way B&Bs we've stayed, but evidently there are enough people that use them they aren't that unusual. And yes I always take an extension cord since I commonly have to plug further away from the bed.

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
3643 posts

American Airports (TSA) act like you're carrying a potential bomb when they encounter CPAP machines which is the TOTAL opposite of what I've experienced at European Airports. They often look at me funny because I make a special effort to tell them what it is. Obviously European security knows a lot more about CPAPs than the TSA.

Posted by Steve
Gaston, Oregon, USA
902 posts

Got to agree with Tim. I always pull mine out of my back-pak and run it by itself thru the xray machine. Many times, after it comes out of the xray machine, they will pull me aside, and wipe it with "bomb sniffing paper", and hold me a minute until they get the results. Once, in my home airport, they got "positive" results. ( I was leaving for the EU) What did they do? They told me that I could not take it in my carry-on, and then they told me to pack it in my checked luggage! I kid you not! And that is exactly what I did. Many years ago, in one tiny airport in Italy, the armed police pulled me aside and asked me what it was. I spoke no Italian, and they spoke no English. We were not getting anywhere, and things were begining to escalate. Finally I turned the machine over and pointed to the medical symbol on the back, and then cupped my hands to my mouth, imitating the mask. They got it. When you carry something like this, you have to learn "to roll with the punches", put a big smile on our face, and move on. I put my big old clunker and a humidifier in my carry-on back-pack with all of my essentials, and always check a bag with the balance of my luggage. If I upgraded to a newer and smaller model I could get away with just one piece of luggage.

Posted by Elaine
Mission Viejo, Calif., USA
820 posts

My husband has used his CPAP on Quantas. We called the airline before hand. If you plan on using it on the plane, make sure you make arrangments for a seat with a plug. That is what we did. My husband just got a new CPAP machine, last week. He was also told that the CPAP doesn't count as your carry-on, as it is medical equipt. I would definitely call whichever airline you are going to travel on. Don't ever check-in your CPAP machine either.

Posted by Julie
7 posts

You are beyond awesome! Thank you all for your well informed and helpful responses. I am new to this machine and the thought of traveling with it was intimidating to me, but not any more thanks to you!

Posted by Shannon
Scottsdale, AZ, USA
1 posts

Just got back from Ireland 2 weeks ago. No problem whatsoever taking CPAP thru security (flew from Phx to Chicago then to Dublin). When we went thru security, i just opened up the travel bag that came with my machine & made sure that nothing was on top of it. Traveled within the US without a problem 10 or more times now.
The problem I had on this last trip was my own doing - I left it in the stupid overhead bin when we landed in Dublin & so far no one has turned it in!