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The Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Forums

Flying with CPAP device?

Share your experiences with CPAP, request help, find out the latest developments ....
Ken the van driver
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Flying with CPAP device?

Post by Ken the van driver » Sun May 06, 2018 5:19 pm

Advice please folks about the advisability (or otherwise) of NOT taking my device for a seven night holiday to mainland Spain.
I'm due to fly to Alicante soon for a family wedding, which is the first time I have flown since starting to use it nine years ago. Thankfully, I have had only a couple of very minor problems in all that time. As I have left my device at home when taking 3 or 4 night UK holidays without any seeming ill effects, any views would be appreciated on leaving it at home on this occasion. I have consulted both my GP and the sleep clinic who were very reticent at "giving permission" but did not state I MUST take it, as I cannot be forced to take any medication.

Also, if I do decide to take it, do airlines consider the device as being a necessary item and allow you to take it in addition to hand luggage. If yes, do airlines give any sort of priority for CPAP devices going into overhead lockers?
Thank you.


Re: Flying with CPAP device?

Post by Guest » Thu May 10, 2018 8:20 pm

I have been using a cpap machine for several years and was told by the the clinic who initially set it up for me was that the main issue is not the fact that you stop breathing several times a night but that you don't have enough restful sleep which becomes a major problem if it is continuous for a long period of time.

I have on a couple of occasions taken my cpap machine on holiday abroad with a letter from the clinic stating that it's required for a medical condition and I had no issues with airport security so this should not be a problem for you.

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Re: Flying with CPAP device?

Post by Sleep2Snore » Fri May 11, 2018 1:03 pm

You should take it with you and it depends on the Airline, but you should take it on the flight in the cabin with as carry-on luggage. However, if you are taking other stuff on the plane with you you will have to advise the airline before you go as this will be extra. They will allow you to take it on board if you tell them in advance.
Under no circumstances put it in the hold with all the other stuff, it will almost certainly get broken.

Tell the airline in advance you have a medical appliance CPAP machine that you need to take into the cabin with you. They will write back or email you back to say that permission has been given.
On one flight I did the cabin staff took it from me and put it in the back with them for safe keeping and returned it as soon as the aircraft stopped rolling.

If you don't take anything else onboard with you you can just carry it on, but it is a machine with wires and hoses and they might get suspicious so it is best to let them know. I went once without letting an airline know, they didn't even ask what it was "As long as it has gone through security it is fine with us" but that is all I took on with me, all the rest went into the hold.

Airport security is fine, but if you have a manual take it with you, this explains what the machine is, that is all you really need, but it is always better if you have a letter from the clinic. Look online, sometimes they are there just to print off. However, it will need a signature, but that is easy to sort out.

Why do you want to travel without your machine anyway? It is your health that suffers. If you are in a hotel and do not want anyone to see it, just pack it away every day and set it up early evening.

Do carry an extension cable with you, it does not need to be a heavy cable, 6amp is more than enough and have two sockets at the other end for your machine and phone. If the humidifier is separate you will need three sockets at the other end. You will need an adaptor to go from EU to UK plugs to plug your extension cable into.

Always take your machine, it is not a lot of bother and you will be a lot more alert next day and it might save you getting knocks through the wall if you snore and if you are sharing a room it will give the other person a quieter night. They would rather listen to your machine than you snoring or making grunting noises when you gasp for air during the night.
S2S - Sleep2Snore

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Re: Flying with CPAP device?

Post by Awakeza » Tue May 15, 2018 4:51 am

Thanks for the reply.

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Re: Flying with CPAP device?

Post by ap73uk » Tue May 15, 2018 2:40 pm


I understand your concern as I had the same worry when I first flew with my CPAP machine.

Since I had my machine around a year ago, I have travelled on many flights with several carriers and have not any any issues at all.

I have flown with Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa, FlyBe, BA, Ryanair, EasyJet, Czech Airlines, Eurowings, all with no problem what so ever.
In fact I have never even been asked about it, despite in all cases also taking my usual carry on bag (so in effect 2 bags)

If it helps to make you feel more relaxed, I also have a letter from my sleep clinic in the bag explaining I should travel with the machine and I have also purchased one of these tags for the bag ... e-tag.html

I hope that helps to reassure you.


Re: Flying with CPAP device?

Post by Guest » Tue May 15, 2018 11:49 pm

I have flown to many many countries from the UK and never had problem leaving the country or entering anywhere else. The only airline that have requested information beforehand has been Emirates. Different airlines have their own policies but in general CPAP is in addition to your hold allowance. Just tell them at check in you have a medical device. I also carry a signed GP letter in my cpap bag.
Take it with you - you'll enjoy your holiday so much more!

Ken the van driver
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Re: Flying with CPAP device?

Post by Ken the van driver » Thu May 24, 2018 9:31 pm

I'm now back home after a really great holiday, those on here who responded were all proved correct as only security at both airports showed any interest in my device. The wedding I traveled to was that of my son and I had already decided I would not use the device on the night of the celebrations. I do not drink much so I thought it might be too much of a bother to keep removing the mask to answer anticipated calls of nature. But not using the device was a VERY bad idea, as in the heat of southern Spain I was dehydrated and during the night my mouth was exceedingly dry causing me the worst night of non-sleep I ever experienced. All the other nights I was getting around 7 hours usage. My thanks to all who replied.

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