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Traveling with a Cpap

Has anybody had problems with a Cpap in carry on luggage? Or is it best to check it?

Posted by
4637 posts

It all depends how much you need it. I assume that you just need it for sleep hours because if you need it more than that you probably would not be in shape to travel to Europe. If I were you I would probably have it in carry on. Have a statement from your doctor just in case airport security has some questions. If you check it and they lose it then what?

Posted by
15 posts

I just use it for sleep but I'm afraid in a carryon size bag will take up more room than I want. I had planed on taking a carryon and a back pack with my camera gear and my surface.

Posted by
8510 posts

We have always been allowed to carry it on in its own case as an extra since it is a medical device. However, one person wrote on the Forum last year that she was once forced to check her machine by an agent. We've flown many times since she posted that but have still always been allowed to carry it on along with the other items.

Posted by
4637 posts

bbrafford, I know it takes some room, I would be tempted to check it in, too. But question is what would you do if they lose it. Or even if they would ultimately find it you would be several nights without it.

Posted by
507 posts

A CPAP is a medically prescribed device to keep the user breathing while they are asleep in bed (in general).
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bbradford,

Call the airlines you are flying [or check their website(s)] to see how they handle medical devices.

I use a CPAP machine (CPAP). I have travelled on Air France several times -- last being 3/2013 -- and was able to take my CPAP bag with me on the plane in addition to my allowed 2 carry-ons every time. TSA and security in other countries will need to check the bag.

CPAPs should not count as one of your carry-ons. Just as I will not pack my medications in a checked-in bag, I will not check-in my CPAP bag, esp for the reason Bets gives 2 posts down & the rough handling baggage men are known for.

CPAP websites sell a tag for the bag that indicate the bag holds a medical device. I have one on my bag.
http://www.cpap.com/productpage/medical-identification-luggage-tag-cpap-equipment.html

Again, talk to the airlines you are using.

{Add-on: The lady who was denied the right to take her CPAP on a flight, was boarding an Air France flight. Check-in either did not know the airline's policy, or there is more to the story.}

Posted by
6950 posts

I carry my CPAP on an airplane in a small backpack--with my cameras and other expensive items.

Home Security is very used to seeing them when they x-ray the backpack. No problem getting them on the plane.

Posted by
8510 posts

Don't check it! It's a fragile medical device.

Posted by
126 posts

Always take it as carry on; you’ll always know where it is.

One tip I would give is to make sure you pack the manufacturers handbook with the CPAP machine. My handbook is in multiple languages and from experience if security staff have any issues I refer them to the handbook and usually there is someone who can read one of the languages and the problem is solved. The original handbook rather than a photocopy is the best option too.

Posted by
3714 posts

We do only carry-on only except for European airlines where we have to check my husband's RS convertible backpack and my 22" spinner. On past trips my husband has taken a cross-body messenger bag and his CPAP machine in its roughly shoe box size bag. I always verify with the European airlines that he can carry it as an extra carry-on medical device. It has never been turned down.

However, it is a royal pain to carry 3 items on the plane. This year, he decided to only take his RS convertible backpack and the CPAP in its bag. He realized that he could put all his meds, the European extension cord AND his iPad in the bag with the machine. So he was able to stick to 2 carry-ons for the US carrier part of the trip and the CPAP was his one carry-on for the European airlines parts of the trip.

The CPAP is far too important for him to ever check it. Obviously, his meds and his iPad are equally as important. Whatever else he was carrying in that messenger bag was never used on previous trips and he didn't miss it at all.

Posted by
15 posts

Thanks to everyone for the advice. I will call the airlines and purchase the Medical Device tag.

Posted by
3714 posts

Now I'm confused. We have never had to purchase any kind of tag for the CPAP in its carrying case. It was allowed as a 3rd carry-on or as a 2nd personal item, depending on how you want to call it. I hope the person you talk to at your airline doesn't try to sell you something you don't need to pay for.

Posted by
507 posts

Lo,

The medical tag is something you buy from a medical store or online. It indicates you are carrying a medical device, which should make the attendants aware it is going with you, not as a check-in.

One does not need to purchase a tag.

Posted by
1831 posts

For our first trip abroad in 2010, I had a fairly bulky CPAP machine, and with the medical device tag (I printed it out myself with a medical logo--looked great!) and a confirming letter from my sleep doctor, there were no problems whatsoever.

We are traveling next month, and in advance of that, since I was up for a new machine insurance-wise, I did the sleep study again & now have a CPAP about 2/3 of the size, in a more compact bag. Yes, good idea to stick meds in there too if there's room, and I will carry that on (always carry-on the CPAP!) while checking my one bag through, even though it's of carry-on size.

A bonus is that this CPAP bag is a perfect size & functionality to be used as a daybag when we are out & about for the day, with the machine back in the room.

Posted by
18 posts

Absolutely DO NOT check this item. Have you seen how bags arrive at carrousels????? We have flown out of the country several times with one, it is recognized everywhere by the airlines and it is NOT considered a 'checked' item. There are small machines made for traveling, but ours is just a regular one & so far, there have not been any storage issues. Apart from the obvious issue of a lost bag, if it is damaged by baggage handlers in transit (quelle surprise!) not only are you without the Cpap, but then you have to go home and buy another one. Consider it right up there with your passport in terms of "what to keep in your possession at all time"
Happy traveling, we are sure there will be no problems.