Enabling air travel with oxygen in Europe

Portable Oxygen Bottle (POB)

A POB contains oxygen supply in liquid form, or as a compressed gas. There are different sizes, shapes and styles of POB.

The majority of airlines refuses to transport POBs filled by passengers themselves. If you rely on the use of a POB, you will need to ask the airline to provide medical oxygen.

Most of the airlines do not allow passengers to carry their own filled oxygen cylinder, neither in cabin or carrier cabin, but you can take an empty oxygen bottle as luggage.

Portable Oxygen Concentrator (POC)

A POC is an electronic device that concentrates the oxygen already present in the air to deliver oxygen at 90%-95% purity. These machines do not store oxygen supply and are powered by lithium-ion batteries or electricity. The majority of European Commercial airlines do not allow on-board use of electricity; therefore the passenger has to carry own batteries. Please check on the airline website, to make sure that it does not impose restrictions regarding the battery supply allowed for carry-on. If you travel with a POC, make sure to have the name and model of the device at hand.

POC devices that have been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are allowed as cabin baggage in Europe. On the FAA’s website, you can find an “Airborne Equipment Certificate” for these devices. If you POC is listed there, EFA recommends to carry a copy of the corresponding Certificate [2].

If a POC is not sufficient, you will need to ask to the airline to provide medical oxygen.

Lithium Batteries

The majority of European Commercial airlines do not allow on-board use of electricity therefore the passenger has to carry own batteries, covering 150% of their travel time, including transit time, as follow:

  • Transporting lithium batteries in medical devices in checked and carry-on baggage, with the approval the operator, is permitted if the lithium content lies between 2 and 8 grams and watt-hour rating lies between 100Wh-160Wh.

  • Spare batteries con only be carried as carry-on baggage when they are individually protected, to prevent short circuit (placing each battery in a separate plastic bag).

Depending on the airline, there may be stricter requirements. Passengers should ask the airline or travel agent about any other rules that may apply, including battery supply allowed for carry-on.

Nasal Cannula

Nasal cannula is a set of soft, lightweight tubes placed in the nostrils and used to deliver oxygen to the patient from and oxygen supply. Make sure you carry a spare nasal cannula when travelling.