There are many different medical conditions that typically require the use of an oxygen tank. Most of these are respiratory illnesses, although occasionally, cardiac patients are also advised to have an oxygen delivery system available for emergency purposes. Medical oxygen should always be ready, if required by a doctor. As such, it is an occasional necessity for some hospital patients to travel by car, by train, by ship, or by airplane while carrying around their oxygen bottles. The problems that can be encountered by someone trying to travel with a medical oxygen tank are numerous. It is important to know all of the rules and regulations regarding the situation of traveling with an oxygen tank. Different modes of travel have different rules regarding this, and it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with these rules before you attempt to travel with a medical oxygen tank.
Here are some rules on how to travel comfortably with a medical oxygen tank:
- Cover all bases. Before you even consider the complexities of traveling with a medical oxygen tank, make sure that you have discussed all the possible issues with your doctor regarding your medical condition. Go for a check-up prior to traveling, especially if you will be traveling by sea or by air, or if you will be going on an extended vacation, and will be away from your primary health care provider for a long period of time. Make sure that you have your doctor’s permission to travel, despite your medical condition. Know all of the things that you have to consider and be aware of, and ask questions, if you have any.
- Seek permission. The next step is to make sure that the airline, train, or ship that you will be traveling on does indeed allow passengers with special medical conditions to travel with a medical oxygen tank. This can be especially hard if you are trying to book a cruise. It is very important that you contact the cruise line before you even purchase the ticket, as you may just have to ask for a refund if you find out too late that they do not allow travelers to bring medical oxygen tanks.
- The right stuff. Once you have verified that they do indeed allow travelers with medical conditions to travel with a medical oxygen tank, you can go ahead and purchase the proper oxygen tank. Make sure that the oxygen tank that you purchase is one that is safe for travel, to avoid any mishaps.
- Alert all personnel. Next, contact your travel provider and ask to speak with the medical department, customer service, or special services department, so that you can inform them of your special medical needs, and request permission to bring your oxygen tank with you during the trip. Make all the arrangements with them, including informing them of the correct airflow that you require, and whether you will require oxygen masks or a nose canula. (Most airlines will not allow you to carry your tank on-board with you, so you will have to use their oxygen generator for the duration of your flight).
Call your travel provider 48 hours prior to travel to confirm your arrangements, and this should ensure a hassle-free trip.