Flying with CPAP

Old Apr 4, 08, 9:05 pm
  #1  
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Carry on CPAP unit (for sleep apnea)?

My husband will be traveling domestically next week and is wondering if he will have trouble carrying on his CPAP unit (small mask that fits over his nose, hose and power unit) that he wears at night for moderate sleep apnea. He's just recently acquired it and is afraid it will present security screening problems. Any suggestions?
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Old Apr 4, 08, 9:15 pm
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Originally Posted by dixieagle View Post
My husband will be traveling domestically next week and is wondering if he will have trouble carrying on his CPAP unit (small mask that fits over his nose, hose and power unit) that he wears at night for moderate sleep apnea. He's just recently acquired it and is afraid it will present security screening problems. Any suggestions?
CPAP's are not a problem...see tons of them every day. Treat it like a laptop...pull it out of the case and run the main unit thru the xray separately, in it's own tray. You can leave the hoses and mask in the bag.
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Old Apr 4, 08, 11:43 pm
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Originally Posted by Cee View Post
CPAP's are not a problem...see tons of them every day. Treat it like a laptop...pull it out of the case and run the main unit thru the xray separately, in it's own tray. You can leave the hoses and mask in the bag.
Thanks for the advice!
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Old Apr 5, 08, 12:03 am
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A friend of mine travels with his and always ends up with a bag check. No big deal, and he allows enough time to deal with it. I'd be interested to see if taking it out of the bag like a laptop really works. I'm sure he would love to know that.
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Old Apr 5, 08, 12:16 am
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Yes, it works. I travel with a CPAP in my rollaboard. I take just the motor portion (the pump itself) out and bin it like I would a laptop. They recognize it as a CPAP and will do a simple swab test. In some cases, they offer to take it to the table and swab it while I get everything back together... If you leave it in the carryon bag, you will get a bag check.

There have been other threads about sanitary issues. I personally don't think there's a problem, but remember that you can ask for the screener to use fresh gloves when handling your CPAP. You can also pack disinfecting wipes if you really want worry about it. The screeners should NEVER need to examine or handle the hoses and mask. If they try, scream bloody murder and demand a supervisor.

RFTraveler
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Old Apr 5, 08, 7:05 pm
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CPAP through security

I fly regularly with my CPAP.

The advice to treat it like a laptop is good advice.

Only take the main unit out of your carry-on. Leave hoses and mask in your carry-on.

I leave my CPAP in a nylon bag while it goes through the xray machine. TSA always takes it out of the bag while swabbing and usually will carefully place it back in the bag when done with that check.

Don't check your CPAP. I've heard but can't verify that there is a good chance it won't be waiting for you in baggage claim.
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Old Apr 5, 08, 7:35 pm
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dixieagle,

Here's a recent related thread on CPAP machine handling that you might find useful:

TSA refused to wear gloves for CPAP device (medical) inspection(Merged threads)
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Old Apr 5, 08, 7:58 pm
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Ah, yes. Submit your life-support equipment to the TSOs for screening.

Not in this lifetime, thanks.
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Old May 21, 08, 10:51 am
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I've been carrying my CPAP with me every time I fly for the past 3 years. I have had no problems to date. TSA now requires that CPAPs be screened by the X-ray machine on a separate tray (like a laptop). I always carry my doctor's prescription for the CPAP with me in the event a newbie TSA screener does not recognize it as such.

My concerns recently have been that of the CPAP considered as carry-on item or a required medical device. It's tough to fit everything into a rollaboard and my laptop bag without having to leave my CPAP to its own carry case.
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Old May 21, 08, 11:19 am
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It's a medical device. You can print out the TSA memo and carry it with you. There are many places on the TSA web site where it lists the machine as medical equipment. Particularly in the Travelers with Disability and Medical Conditions section.
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Old Oct 29, 11, 3:38 am
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CPAP machines

When I went through security at MIA this week, one of the agents told me that CPAP machines no longer need to be taken out of their bag like laptops do.

Is this true? I looked at the tsa.gov site and they still say that the machine have to be put in a plastic bin separately.
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Old Oct 29, 11, 4:08 am
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Originally Posted by Rabidstoat View Post
When I went through security at MIA this week, one of the agents told me that CPAP machines no longer need to be taken out of their bag like laptops do.

Is this true? I looked at the tsa.gov site and they still say that the machine have to be put in a plastic bin separately.
Sadly, you were told incorrect information by the TSO. CPAP machines are no long automatically test as they used to be, but are required to be removed from the bag.

Its a lot like LGAs. They should be out of their bag, but like LGAs many TSOs allow CPAPs to remain in their case.
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Old Oct 29, 11, 8:23 am
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Of my last 50 or so trips through the TSA circus I have been asked exactly once to remove the C-PAP?
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Old Oct 29, 11, 8:25 am
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It's hit or miss. Some stations always need it out. Others, not so much.
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Old Oct 30, 11, 8:49 am
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Originally Posted by SATTSO View Post
Sadly, you were told incorrect information by the TSO. CPAP machines are no long automatically test as they used to be, but are required to be removed from the bag.

Its a lot like LGAs. They should be out of their bag, but like LGAs many TSOs allow CPAPs to remain in their case.
In this October 18, 2011 Chris Elliott piece, we learned how

"sensitive security information is handled by the agency. These secrets can’t be given to officers on paper, should it fall into the hands of terrorists or “the media.” (The implication being that they’re one and the same.)"

Problem is, the material is sometimes difficult to remember.


In short, TSA uses a version of the Chinese Whisper (aka "telephone") Game [Wikipedia] to train its front line employees, including SATTSO.

So when a front line TSA employee tells you "Sadly, you were told incorrect information [by another frontline employee]", you should assume that both are incorrect because neither could be trusted with receiving SSI in writing.
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