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Do you know of any airlines US-->Europe that allow CPAP in flight?

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Aug 17th, 2009, 09:45 PM
  #1
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Do you know of any airlines US-->Europe that allow CPAP in flight?

Preferably to France or Italy, but the DH really really cannot sleep at all without his cpap and as far as I know Delta and AF still don't allow them. We are going on FF miles in Business on Delta if possible but would use partner airline or entirely different one if necessary and just buy tix. Any ideas? We are flying over Autumn 2010.
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Aug 18th, 2009, 07:01 AM
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You might try www.flyertalk.com and post it on the Delta board there. However, I don't think these are allowed on any planes.

Used to be AA had a day flight out of JFK. maybe you could take that and sleep when you land?
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Aug 18th, 2009, 07:07 PM
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you can carry a CPAP - but I as far as I know you can't use one on board.

Suggestion: Why not take one of the daytime flights so sleeping is not such a big issue? If you live too far west in the US to have daytime flights, fly to the east coast a day early and day time it from there the next morning.
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Aug 18th, 2009, 07:08 PM
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oh - didn't see CarolA's post . . .
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Aug 18th, 2009, 08:36 PM
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Thanks much; I've checked flyertalk, tsa, and the cpap manufacturer's forums; apparently Singapore, Quantas, and Cathay Pacific *may* allow them; posted at flyertalk is a letter from Delta to another passenger saying they aren't currently allowed but policy is "under review." I'm hoping to find the more frequent carriers for Europe (going to France and Italy for 35th anniv.). We fly from the west coast, so a day flight is difficult, but that is definitely something to consider.
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Aug 19th, 2009, 03:23 AM
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I've tried using CPAPs on planes (never was asked not to use it), but it turns out to be too cumbersome for me, even when traveling in business or first class.
That said, have you considered using a CPAP with a rechargeable battery pack? I have one of those, an AEIO Everest machine, and it's a perfect solution for places where I don't have access to electricity overnight (but can recharge the system during the day). I would think this sytem would be fine on any airplane, as you're not connecting it to the aircraft's power system.
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Aug 19th, 2009, 07:04 PM
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Per the FAA, airlines are required to permit use of CPAP machines provided the specific machine meets certain safety requirements. This because some units may emit RF radiation and could possibly interfere with aircraft navigation and communications. Ref: http://www.faa.gov/other_visit/aviat.../info09006.pdf

So before you try to "sneak" it on board and use it surreptitiously, thus putting the entire ship in danger, please first check to see if your unit is so approved by looking for a label on the device saying it meets FAA requirements.

As Delta is adamant that CPAP machines cannot be used at all, my guess is that none of them meet the requirements.
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Aug 19th, 2009, 08:56 PM
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OK so you try to use it, the FA says NO! Then what? I don't get the "sneak" idea. They are going to see it. So he's not going to get to sleep.

Sorry, but "the rules don't apply to me" method seems a little unlikely to work.
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Aug 19th, 2009, 10:50 PM
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Thanks for the FAA regs.

CPAPs blow room air into a person's nostrils using less energy than a laptop computer. They are far less hazardous than the oxygen tanks mostly discussed in (and allowed by) the FAA regs. According to the CPAP manufacturer mentioned above, they are approved by FAA/TSA. But according to the FAA blurb above, no (not clear which is more current info but obviously FAA has the last word).

CarolA, according to Rizzuto, he did use it or at least attempt to do so without incident, in which case an FA presumably did see and not challenge his using it. At least three international carriers flying into and out of the US apparently allow them, and presumably they are under also operating under FAA guidelines in the US, yes?

We don't ordinarily, question the rules particularly with regard to safety. Nonetheless, some rules have kept people sitting on runways for 8 hours, theoretically for safety (later found not to be the case) which has resulted in new rules about keeping people locked up on planes on runways.

When they are applied arbitrarily or without reference to evidence-based practice then I would question them. When medical equipment far more dangerous is permitted (concentrated oxygen in tanks, the kind that crashed a plane off the east coast a while back carried in the cargo hold) and a machine that blows room air into someone's nose so he or she doesn't stop breathing, accompanied by medical doctor's documentation, is not, then I think it's ok to question it. If the denials are the result of the airlines not wanting to deal with it, that's worth pursuing. If it's genuinely that manufacturers have not made their case (which the info posted on flyertalk would dispute), and that it's potentially dangerous, then that is obviously another story.
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Aug 19th, 2009, 10:55 PM
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Just adding too that the DH is a former army flight surgeon and cognizant of and absolutely certain about the safety of his unit with regard to nagivation. Nonetheless I do take the point about safety made by noflyzone. It's unfortunate that the burden of evidence seems to fall on the consumer vs. more proactive manufacturer lobbying.
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Aug 20th, 2009, 12:35 AM
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Under current FAA regulations, U.S. air carriers may not refuse to allow passengers to use CPAPs in flight in the passenger cabin, provided that the CPAPs have been approved by the FAA as personal medical electronic devices (meaning, essentially, that they have been tested to ensure that they do not create hazardous interference in aircraft systems). If the CPAP is approved and labeled as such, the crew must allow a passenger to use it.

This also means that a carrier cannot issue a blanket prohibition on CPAPs, because only CPAPs that are not FAA-approved can be prohibited. Thus, if Delta is doing this, they are in violation.

The new rules came into effect on May 13, 2009. The FAA requirements for CPAPs are described in FAA Advisory Circular 91.21-1B (FAR 91.21 itself governs portable electronic devices) and SFAR 106. See also 14 CFR 382.
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Aug 20th, 2009, 03:31 AM
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I've used the CPAP on both Lufthansa and Cathay Pacific. On Cathay, I got authorization in advance. On LH, I just set it up and used it.
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Aug 20th, 2009, 05:35 AM
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<>

Thanks AnthonyGA; this seems to me the heart of the matter and the reason for frustration with Delta (and Air France is the same)--blanket denial (referencing their own policy, not the FAA) and complete unwillingness to consider evidence to the contrary, including any info about the particular unit, hence the frustration.

Rizzuto thanks for mentioning Lufthansa; as a United partner it could work for us (though we have far fewer miles and will end up paying, c'est la vie).
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Aug 22nd, 2009, 07:27 PM
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I looked at Delta's Web site, which does indeed say that you may not operate CPAPs aboard a flight. Since the law says that you must be allowed to operate a FAA-approved CPAP, Delta is violating the law.
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Aug 22nd, 2009, 09:04 PM
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Thanks for confirming that. Been looking at a lot of fine print.

I downloaded all the FAA documents and will we talking with both the manufacturer and Delta (Air France was impossible). Good thing we have a year. Sigh.
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Feb 10th, 2010, 07:55 PM
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Benn awhile since the last postings here ---- but I too am in the middle of this CPAP mess. I am flying to Thailand in 30 more days on United Airlines. I am TOLD by UA that I CAN use my CPAP machine as long as they "approve " it ahead of time. Supposedly they are in the process of doing that (3 weeks now) but I have not heard back. They REFUSE to issue me anything in writing which I requested because my fear is getting to the airport and having them tell me they know nothing about the approval - especially when flying back from Bankok to Boston. ALso - they have told me 2 different things about plugging it in - one - you can use the existing 2 prong plus...and 2 - I will need the plus that has a cigarette lighter plug on the end (as used in a car). They can't get their info straight. Why should it be so hard?
BUT - that said - it seems like they are trying to accomodate me and the agent said they "do this all the time for people" - so we'll see. Their medical dept is 1-800--UALMED1.
Maybe this will help you.
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Feb 10th, 2010, 08:16 PM
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This used to be an issue in flying with supplemental O2 as well, but that FINALLY is allowed by federal law as of May 2009 (as long as you use FAA approved oxygen concentrators). I'd call the agent every day and ask for sometiing in writing about this. I'd also talk with the company you are renting or have purchased this from.
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Feb 10th, 2010, 08:21 PM
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I am going to add another "warning"

The power ports on planes seem to be "tempremental" All I plug in is a laptop, but I run about 50% with them working, if they have them.......

(And that's in both coach and up front...)
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Feb 10th, 2010, 11:19 PM
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My brother used his CPAP machine on a United flight to Australia.

In order for him to use it, I was told to call some United medical office. IIRC, I had to tell them the make and model and then they ok'd it.

We were flying in (upgraded) first class and we had the two seats in row 2 (per seatguru). When we boarded the plane the FAs didn't know anything about the CPAP. We actually had to de-plane.

United had two flights to Sydney that night and we were put on the later flight, a few hours later. Turns out that they had to rig up (with tape) a power cord running to the seat and the only place it could go was to 4A. I took 3A.

On the return flight the power cord was set up to his seat and ready to go when we boarded.

The CPAP worked well on both flights. For the trouble we had on the outbound segment UA gave each of us a systemwide upgrade. I was later able to get his converted to miles or maybe cash after explaining that there was no way he would be able to use a SWU.

I just noticed comments about a battery pack. The airlines are worried about batteries exploding. I wanted to bring a battery backup in case their solution didn't work (or wasn't set up as it turned out to be on that first flight). They talked me out of it and it worked out in the end. Just couldn't choose the seats we wanted.
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Feb 13th, 2010, 08:30 AM
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Thanks much for the recent posts and updated info. We have postponed our trip but would really like to see this issue resolved at the airlines.
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