Traveling via Airplane with Your CPAP: Tips for a Stress-Free Journey

Whether You're Headed to the Beach or the Mountains, Here’s How to Ensure your CPAP Machine Tags Along

Traveling with your CPAP machine doesn't have to be a hassle. In fact, with some careful planning and preparation, it can be manageable. Using your CPAP device while traveling is essential for maintaining quality sleep, especially while you're in unfamiliar environments. In this blog post, we'll outline everything you need to know to make traveling with your CPAP a breeze.

"Traveling with your CPAP doesn't have to be a nightmare; with a little preparation, it can be as seamless as any other aspect of your journey," says Robert Miller, Apria's Vice President of Sleep Business.

Before the Trip

Properly packing your CPAP device is critical to a smooth travel experience. Make sure you have a carrier case or travel bag for your machine and an alternate power supply. Test your machine beforehand and replace any necessary supplies such as mask cushions, filters, etc. 

Before leaving, remember to clean and thoroughly dry your device before packing it into the carrier case to prevent bacterial growth. Additionally, bring a copy of your prescription and notify the airline beforehand about your medical device. Generally, the airlines request 48 hours notice, but they do slightly differ. Below is a list of popular airlines and their policies:

At the Airport/Going Through Security

When going through airport security, remember not to check your CPAP—always carry it on. Your device must undergo x-ray screening, but you can request a clear plastic bag to avoid germs. Your tubing, mask, and other supplies can remain in the carrier case. Adding a tag to your carrier case indicating it's a medical device can also be helpful to personnel.

On the Plane

Under the Air Carrier Access Act, your CPAP is considered an assistive device, this means your device won't count toward your carry-on allowance. You can bring your CPAP on board and stow it in an overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you. If you use a humidifier, pack a small, sealed amount of distilled water for the flight if needed.

Traveling with your CPAP machine doesn't have to be daunting. By following these simple steps and guidelines, you can ensure a stress-free journey while maintaining the quality of your sleep. Don't let sleep apnea hinder your travel plans—take your CPAP with you and enjoy a restful trip wherever you go.

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Brandon Peters, MD. “How to Get through Airport Security a CPAP Machine.” Verywell Health, April 20, 2022.
CPAP Travel Tips: Flying with Your CPAP Machine.” Sleep Apnea, September 1, 2021. 
Strelow, Debra J. “10 Tips for Flying and Traveling with a CPAP Machine.” CPAP Supply USA, July 19, 2023. 
Traveling with a CPAP Machine: DSM Sleep LLC.” DSM SLEEP LLC | Sleep Apnea DME in Des Moines, Iowa, September 26, 2017. 

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Robert Miller

Robert has worked in the sleep and home respiratory healthcare space for over 29 years and is a Registered Polysomnographic Technologist. Robert has been married for 33 years to his wife, Laurie, has 6 children and 5 grandchildren. Robert leads sleep initiatives and strategies that improve the patient experience and promote better health outcomes so that our patients can achieve their best night's sleep—every night.

About the AuthorRobert Miller