Oxygen and Travel
Whether you're traveling for work or for pleasure, if you require supplemental oxygen, there are a few things to consider when making your plans. Even Alphas with lung disease who do not usually depend on oxygen therapy may need to rely on supplemental oxygen for support when taking a trip.1 Planning for your oxygen needs can be particularly important if you will be flying.
- Speak to your physician before traveling. This is VERY important. Even people who don't usually require supplemental oxygen may need to plan for the use of supplemental oxygen on an airplane due to the cabin's reduced pressure. Your doctor may want to offer tests to determine your in-flight oxygen needs.2
- Tell your airline about your oxygen needs when booking your tickets. Important questions to ask include:
- What oxygen services can your airline supply?
- Are there seating restrictions for passengers with in-flight oxygen needs?
- If you own or will be renting a portable oxygen concentrator (POC), what documentation will you need to provide to airline and airport security personnel?
- Are there additional charges for in-flight oxygen needs?
- Will your POC count against your carry-on bag limit?
- Should you bring your nasal cannula?
- Coordinate all of your oxygen needs before you travel. Coordinating oxygen needs between flight connections can be difficult. Airlines do not supply oxygen when on the ground so you will need to arrange for you own supply for all times that you will not be on a plane. This includes time waiting for a connecting flight, during layovers, or even if landing at an unexpected airport is required. Carry your oxygen supplier’s emergency contact number at all times during your trip.3
- Research health care services at your destination. Be sure to have the contact information and address of a doctor or hospital close to your destination. Bring a copy of your medical records with you.4
- Welcome Help. Many airport terminals can require long walks between gates, luggage retrieval carousels and ground transportation depots. Check into the availability of wheelchair service, baggage assistance and mobile carts while at the airport.4
- Know the law. The Federal Aviation Administration’s “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel” rule requires most air carriers to allow passengers to use FAA-approved portable oxygen concentrators during flights. Permitted POCs must be approved by the FAA and must be labeled as such.5
- The FAA-approved POCs can be found in this news release.
Other modes of public transit (train, bus, cruise) may be more flexible when it comes to traveling with supplemental oxygen, but you should still always inquire ahead of time to make sure you know what their guidelines are.
Traveling in your own car offers the most freedom, but plan your route to ensure there are plenty of places along the way to refill your oxygen prescription. Also, discuss the terrain you'll be passing through with your doctor in case your flow rate prescription needs to be adjusted for differing altitudes.
If your destination is outside of the United States, be sure to inquire about the availability of oxygen services where you will be staying. Determine the availability of oxygen refills and rentals. Also, look into the rules regarding importation of oxygen. Finally, find out if you have the appropriate electrical converters to adapt your equipment to electrical outlet you’ll be using at your destination.
For more information, we recommend you also visit:
The The Transport Security Administration (TSA) offers its guidelines for traveling with oxygen and respiratory-related equipment.
The Airline Oxygen Council of America is a good resource for learning about advocacy opportunities regarding airlines and their POC policies.
GLASSIA [Alpha1-Proteinase Inhibitor (Human)]
GLASSIA is indicated for chronic augmentation and maintenance therapy in individuals with emphysema due to congenital deficiency of alpha1-proteinase inhibitor (Alpha1-PI), also known as alpha1-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency.
- The effect of augmentation therapy with GLASSIA or any Alpha1-PI product on pulmonary exacerbations and on the progression of emphysema in Alpha1-PI deficiency has not been demonstrated in randomized, controlled clinical trials.
- Clinical data demonstrating the long term effects of chronic augmentation and maintenance therapy of individuals with GLASSIA are not available.
- GLASSIA is not indicated as therapy for lung disease in patients in whom severe Alpha1-PI deficiency has not been established.
Detailed Important Risk Information for GLASSIA
- GLASSIA is contraindicated in IgA deficient patients with antibodies against IgA. GLASSIA is contraindicated in individuals with a history of severe immediate hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis, to Alpha1-PI products.
- GLASSIA is made from human plasma. It may carry a risk of transmitting infectious agents, such as viruses, and theoretically, the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) agent.
- Administer GLASSIA at room temperature at a rate not greater than 0.04 mL/kg body weight per minute. If anaphylactic or severe anaphylactoid reactions occur, discontinue the infusion immediately.
- Administer GLASSIA within 3 hours of entering the vials.
- Safety and effectiveness in patients over 65 years of age have not been established.
- Two serious adverse reactions observed on two separate occasions during clinical studies with GLASSIA were cholangitis and exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- The most common product-related adverse reactions in clinical studies were headache and dizziness.
Please see GLASSIA Full Prescribing Information for full prescribing details.
ARALAST NP [Alpha1-Proteinase Inhibitor (Human)]
ARALAST NP is indicated for chronic augmentation therapy in patients having congenital deficiency of A1-PI with clinically evident emphysema.
- The effect of augmentation therapy with ARALAST NP on pulmonary exacerbations and on the progression of emphysema in alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency has not been demonstrated in randomized, controlled clinical trials.
- Clinical data demonstrating the long-term effects of chronic augmentation or replacement therapy of individuals with ARALAST NP or ARALAST are not available.
- ARALAST NP is not indicated as therapy for lung disease patients in whom congenital A1-PI deficiency has not been established.
Detailed Important Risk Information for ARALAST NP
- ARALAST NP is contraindicated in IgA deficient patients with antibodies against IgA, due to the risk of severe hypersensitivity.
- ARALAST NP is derived from pooled human plasma. It may carry a risk of transmitting infectious agents, e.g., viruses and theoretically, the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) agent.
- The recommended rate of administration (≤0.08 mL/kg/min) should be closely followed and vital signs monitored continuously. If anaphylactic or severe anaphylactoid reactions occur, the infusion should be discontinued immediately.
- Safety and effectiveness in patients over age 65 years of age have not been established.
- ARALAST NP should be administered at room temperature within three (3) hours after reconstitution and should be administered alone, without mixing with other agents or diluting solutions.
- The safety of ARALAST NP was evaluated with ARALAST in a crossover clinical PK comparability study. The most common adverse events deemed related to ARALAST NP included headache and musculoskeletal discomfort. No serious adverse reactions or deaths were reported in the study. In the ARALAST pivotal study, the most common adverse events were headache and somnolence.
Please see ARALAST NP Full Prescribing Information for full prescribing details.
- British Thoracic Society Standards of Care Committee. Managing passengers with respiratory disease planning air travel: British Thoracic Society. Thorax. 2002;57:289-304
- Coker RK, Shiner RJ, Partridge MR. Is air travel safe for those with lung disease? European Respiratory Journal. 2007;30:1057–1063.
- Hidden Disabilities: travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions. The Transportation Security Administration website. http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds/editorial_1374.shtm. Accessed June 9, 2011.
- Traveling with breathing problems. The Mediline Plus website. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000066.htm. Accessed June 9, 2011.FAA Approved Portable Oxygen Concentrators - Positive Testing Results. Federal Aviation Administration website. http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/cabin_safety/portable_oxygen/. Accessed June 9, 2011.
- FAA OKs Four More Portable Oxygen Concentrators [news release]. Washington, DC: Federal Aviation Administration Office of Communications and Public Affairs; January 6, 2010. http://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsId=11083. Accessed June 9, 2011.