travelling with a CPAP machine for apnea

May 19th, 2005, 06:47 PM
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travelling with a CPAP machine for apnea

I recently learned that I have sleep apnea and need a CPAP mask and machine at night to sleep. We are leaving for Italy in a month and we had planned to use carry on luggage, but the device takes up a lot of space. I will not need it on the plane, but don't want to check it. Anyone have any experience with this? Also, I have a converter and adapter plugs but am concerned that everything will work ok- this thing is expensive. Does anyone have any knowledge of this situation?

nannyvee is offline  
May 19th, 2005, 06:59 PM
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My dad used one and took it with him on his travels. One tip he had was bring an extension cord. Often the outlets are not where it's convenient to put the machine. He carried his on. You may have to check your other baggage now.
Grasshopper is offline  
May 19th, 2005, 07:29 PM
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I was told that because it is a medical device, it must be carried and cannot be counted in the total carry-on count. You should still be able to take your suitcase and one other bag or purse (as always) plus the CPAP bag. If you have the appropriate converter and adapter, you should be fine. The extension cord is a great idea.
cls2paris is offline  
May 19th, 2005, 07:29 PM
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I too have sleep apnea. And am also traveling to Italy This is what I was told by my doctor. Since the machine is deemed "Needed medical equipment" it does not count as one of your carryon items. Also, check the voltage info on your machine. Mine is rated 110/250 so I will not need a converter, just the plug adapter. My doctor also advised me that it is a good idea to purchase a second mask in case of the first one breaking.

TRSW is offline  
May 19th, 2005, 07:38 PM
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I have traveled all over the world with my cpap and have never had an issue on planes. Tell them it's a medical appliance and you'll sail right along. No issues with cabin baggage restrictions. Some airlines will allow cpap use onboard, provided you have the right power connections. I've never done that - too self conscious I suppose.

I believe all cpaps that get prescribed nowadays are dual voltage and will work fine on 240v systems. Get a 15 foot or longer heavy duty extension cord and appropriate plug adaptors, as many hotel rooms have only one outlet (you may need to unplug the TV on occasion). Take some spare bits and pieces, and if you're especially paranoid, get the addresses of some suppliers of your machine and parts so that if you lose or break something you can find a replacement. But mainly, don't worry and sweet dreams.

Gardyloo is online now  
May 20th, 2005, 05:39 AM
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Thank you all for your encouraging responses. This is a new thing for me and I want to be sure I don't run into any complications. It's just going to be nice to get a good night's sleep!
nannyvee is offline  
May 20th, 2005, 06:09 AM
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Just in case...
I would go the TSA website and print out the part where they say you get an extra carry on for medical devices.

The IDIOTS that run the ID check in Nashville for example think they have been appointed RULER and would probably decide to show their overwhelming lack of customer service by refusing to allow you by with three carry ons. Having the regulations printed out will help when dealing with folks like this who should never have been put in a position of power.
CarolA is offline  
May 20th, 2005, 06:43 AM
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somewhere in the instructions is the info about taking it on the plane with you. It is a compact unit to carry and will take up very little space.

ronkala is offline  
May 20th, 2005, 07:34 AM
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I got my CPAP machine 6 days ago and am leaving for Italy today.

An extension cord is a good idea.

If you go to the american sleep apnea Association site you can print out a copy of the DOT fact sheet.

You are right not to check the machine.
Dick is offline  
May 20th, 2005, 07:52 AM
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I have a CPAP (actually a BiPAP) unit that I've taken on my travels. You cannot check it, period. You do not want this bumped around in the check luggage!

Be aware that the security folks will not have any idea what this thing is. Before putting it through x-ray, inform personnel that it is a medical supply unit and needs to be hand inspected. They will direct you to another area where some one will have you open the bag and take a look at. (All the while you can see they are wondering just what the heck it is!)

It does not count in your carry on total. But you are right, it takes up some room. If at all possible, try to stow it below your seat. The time I placed mine in the overhead bin, people just kept smacking it around and pushing it aside. When you see some fool attempting to cram his suitcase into the bin after your unit is in there, you'll understand!

Do take the extension cord!! Only once have I been able to place the unit on the nightstand next to the bed. Every other time I had to find an outlet and string the extension cord around the room.

If you can, take some extra supplies with you. Since this is new to you, you probably don't have an old mask to glean parts from. You may have to kick out the extra cost for a mask as insurance will only pick an annual amount. It's worth it though, when one small piece breaks off!

I have to be honest in that this thing is a hassle to travel with. Mine also has a humidifer and trying to find the distilled water it takes is impossible when you are in a new city. Because of the hassles, I've stopped traveling with mine. (My apnea was never severe and has actually improved in recent years) Just take some precautions and try not to get it bumped and you should do fine with it.
Chele60 is offline  
May 20th, 2005, 11:03 AM
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CarolA: I also fly from the Nashville airport and thought I was the only one who thought they ID/security people were idiots! One even gave me a hassle because my hair was a different color on my driver's license from it's current "natural" brown!
SharonG is offline  
Jun 1st, 2005, 11:34 AM
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I've heard of a plastic device supplied by dentists that can be used as CPAP substitue when traveling. My dentist has heard of it, but doesn't have any more info. Anyone?
kwedl is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2005, 12:09 AM
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At the risk of repeating what has been said, I always carry mine on board but in France I had to buy an extension cord so that is a good suggestion. At one stage I had a small device made by my dentist ( something like a footballers mouthguard) but it was not suitable for me as I have severe apnea and these are only suitable for those who are minimal sufferers.
Peteralan is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2005, 08:28 PM
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Has anyone had any experience with British Airways? I am planning to travel soon and they are telling me that my CPAP will count toward my 13 pound carry on limit!!

I fly frequently in the USA and have no problem.
auntiejlc is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2005, 09:45 PM
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Be sure to check very carefully about the electrical requirements and compatibility of the device. I had visitors a few years ago who came to France with a CPAP and a voltage adapter. The voltage adapter burned out the CPAP the first day, somehow. The visitor who used the CPAP was an ex-Marine who was used to "roughing it" and bravely continued with the trip for his wife's sake, but he got almost no sleep, and was in a daze for nearly the entire visit. He hid it so well that neither I nor his wife noticed the distress, but she later told me that he remembers almost nothing of the trip because he was so sleepy most of the time.
AnthonyGA is offline  
Jul 15th, 2005, 01:50 AM
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I recently traveled with my cpap for the first time. The travel case that came with it was too heavy to carry through the airport so I put it in a rolling back pack. The pack that was big enough to hold the cpap and case was too large to fit under the seat in front of me. I am only 4'10" tall so I had to search for someone to put it in the overhead for me as the attendants rarely will do that anymore. So now I am trying to find a rolling bag that will fit under the seat and hopefully have some padding in it. I looked at some lap top cases today but they all had draw backs of one sort or another usually too many dividers. I've been looking on line tonight but I haven't seen much at all in cases. I'm wondering if any of you have come up with a really good, rolling bag. I would appreciate any help you could give me.
Thanks, nancy
nmercy is offline  
Jul 15th, 2005, 03:24 AM
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Yes, I recently purchased a new rolling/carry-on made by EagleCreek. I got mine at The Container Store but I suspect you could get them through or

I'll look the name and model number up for you and put that info in a subsequent post.
Intrepid1 is offline  
Jul 15th, 2005, 03:27 AM
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It is the EagleCreek Pilot Expandable Carry-On. I love this thing..rolls well, easy to use, handle has three positions, and as a carry-on it is quite durable. This may or may not be the sort of thing you are looking for.
Intrepid1 is offline  
Jul 15th, 2005, 06:05 AM
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I would never travel without my CPAP, but I don't bother trying to use it on airplanes.

The CPAP I use at home is a bulky thing that takes up half of a rollaboard. For travel, I bought a very light and compact unit from Puritan-Bennett, and it's a godsend. It's very slightly noisier than my regular unit, but less than half the size and weight.
DonTopaz is offline  
Jul 15th, 2005, 10:35 AM
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rizzuto - How do you deal with not being able to use your cpap on the plane? Does this make the jetlag even worse?
TRSW is offline  

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