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Use of CPAP Machine with external battery pack on Delta and Air France Flights

DELTA Airlines doesn't have any restrictions for use of CPAP machine with external battery pack on their flights. Verified by Delta Customer Service Agent today (November 29, 2016).
AIR FRANCE has restrictions for use of CPAP Machine with external battery back on their flights. I was referred by Air France Customer Service Agent to their Medical Desk who wanted to know what the Watt consumption was for my CPAP machine. Advise all Air France passengers who wish to use a CPAP machine with an external battery pack to contact the Air France Medical Desk at 1-800-760-6868 for permission to bring a CPAP machine and external battery pack on all Air France flights.
I plan to use a RESMED AIr Sense 10 Auto CPAP Machine which is the quietest on the market today.
RESMED AIR SENSE 10 Auto CPAP:
Highest Pressure with Humidity Setting of 8 = 3.66AMPS/HOUR
Middle Pressure with Humidity Setting = 2.30AMPS/HOUR
The AMPS/HOUR will be lower if the Humidity setting is off and varies depending on the person's pressure setting.

Posted by
5251 posts

Review FAA rules. Some of us don't want to be on a overseas flight with a battery that will explode or catch on fire in the cabin or in the baggage compartment.

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ash/ash_programs/hazmat/passenger_info/media/airline_passengers_and_batteries.pdf

Q1. What kinds of batteries does the FAA allow in carry-on baggage (in
the aircraft cabin)?

A1. Batteries allowed in carry-on baggage include:

Lithium ion batteries (a.k.a.: rechargeable lithium, lithium polymer,
LIPO, secondary lithium). Passengers may carry all consumer-sized
lithium ion batteries (up to 100 watt hours per battery). This size
covers AA, AAA, cell phone, PDA, camera, camcorder, handheld game,
tablet, portable drill, and standard laptop computer batteries. The
watt hours (Wh) rating is marked on newer lithium ion batteries and is
explained in #3 below. External chargers are also considered to be a
battery.

With airline approval, devices can contain larger lithium ion
batteries (101-160 watt hours per battery), but spares of this size
are limited to two batteries in carry-on baggage only. This size
covers the largest aftermarket extended-life laptop batteries and most
lithium ion batteries for professional-grade audio/visual equipment.

Q2. What kinds of batteries does the FAA allow in checked baggage
(including gate-checked bags)?

A2. Except for spare (uninstalled) lithium metal and lithium-ion
batteries, all the batteries allowed in carry-on baggage are also
allowed in checked baggage. The batteries must be protected from
damage and short circuit or installed in a device. Battery-powered
devices—particularly those with moving parts or those that could heat
up—must be protected from accidental activation. Spare lithium metal
and lithium ion/polymer batteries are prohibited in checked
baggage—this includes external battery packs. Electronic cigarettes
and vaporizers are also prohibited in checked baggage. “Checked
baggage” includes bags checked at the gate or planeside.

Q3. How do I determine the watt hours (Wh) rating of a battery?

A3. To determine watt hours (Wh), multiply the volts (V) by the ampere
hours (Ah). Example: A 12-volt battery rated to 8 Amp hours is rated
at 96 watt hours (12 x 8 = 96). For milliamp hours (mAh), divide by
1000 (to get to Ah) and then multiply by the volts.

Posted by
6438 posts

Although I'm on CPAP, making a flight without my machine is feasible for me. If I get snoring, my wife will elbow me and I'll wake up.

Posted by
4 posts

Hi David.
I will be traveling from Vancouver, BC to Cape Town via Paris in February, 2017. The total time in the air will be around 21 1/2 hours. I have severe sleep apnoea and will need to use my CPAP machine on the plane. I too have concerns about bringing an external Lithium CPAP battery back on the plane. I'm flying Economy Class to Cape Town and Premium Economy back to Vancouver. If I do use a battery pack I will make darn sure that it's FAA rated. I'm currently exploring other options.

Posted by
6447 posts

Interesting. This is the first time I ever read that an airline allows usage of a CPAP in flight. They're usually not allowed.

Posted by
4 posts

CPAP machines are considered medical devices covered under the *American's with Disabilities Act* and do not count as one of your carry-on items. The TSA (Transportation Safety Association) allows CPAP machines with FAA approved batteries on flights.

Posted by
6447 posts

Of course they are allowed as an extra carryon. It's the usage during flight that is unusual.

Posted by
5067 posts

Just out of interest I checked United rules on CPAP use -- they require 48 hours notice for the airline to confirm that the specific model complies with safety regulations AND usage onboard is subject to rules on use of other devices.

Posted by
35 posts

Thanks for the information. I had always assumed that a CPAP machine (which I use) would count in the carry-on baggage limits. That's great news that it doesn't.
Although most international flights out of Australia are of a long duration and commonly involve sleeping I don't use my CPAP on the flight. Just at the destinations. My solution after a fitful night's on-board sleep is to include a full day's activity at the destination as the plane usually arrives early morning.

Posted by
262 posts

Many newer airplane have 110 volt outlets at many if not all seats.

Do the airline rules allow these units to be plugged in during the flight? If plugged into 110v there would be no need to the battery pack.

Posted by
4 posts

It is recommended that you contact the Medical Desk for the airline you're flying with and let them know that you will be bringing a CPAP machine with you. The will want to know the make and watt per hour consumption. Premium Economy, Business and First Class have electrical outlets for your CPAP machine. Remember to bring an adaptor with you. I believe all CPAP machines are able to adapt to different voltages. Please check with the manufacturer to verify this. If you're planning to bring along an external battery to power your CPAP machine, you will need to contact the airline and get permission for them to permit you to bring your CPAP machine and external battery onboard the plane. I would recommend contacting the manufacturer of the CPAP machine and battery to confirm that both appliances are FAA rated.
I use a RESMED Easy Sense 10 Auto CPAP Machine with a Medistrom Pilot 24 battery which are FAA rated. The RESMED Easy Sense 10 Auto CPAP Machine is the quietest on the market today and perfect for bringing on a plane. TURN THE HUMIDIFIER SETTING "OFF as turbulence and air pressure will cause problems and possible distilled water leakage from the drum.

Posted by
54 posts

I just wanted to add to this a bit. Made me smile reading these this morning!

I work at ResMed as a clinical specialist, and suggest if you are planning to use your device you call ahead to get information on the use of the device and is ratings. Much of the information you may need is in the User Guide, but you can also call our technical service department for a battery guide. It is about 60 pages but we can email it out. We can also provide you with a sample travel letter for your doctor to fill out.

We do have a lithium battery called the RPSII, but make sure you need this specific battery and it is allowed on the aircraft, insurance will not usually pay for a battery for the device. You should not use your humidifier as the previous posters have stated, still it and not the device is what will deplete your battery!

Always get a letter from your physician, particularly if you absolutely HAVE to use your device in the aircraft and find out several months ahead what each airline requires as documentation and what they will allow. Setup and try out the battery ahead of time and know how long on the battery the charge will last at the pressure you use. Make sure you also have the correct adaptors. As my husband and I discovered there are many very old places in Europe and some, do not have the "usual" types of adaptors. So be prepared!

Another thing I want to warn you all about is there is a hefty black market on PAP devices in Europe and many people, myself included, have had CPAP stolen in airports. I lost my Airsense For Her in Venice, Hubby looked away for a few moments and it was gone, so watch it carefully in airports and train stations!

Safe travels and thanks for the great comments about ResMed!
Nancy