Supplemental Oxygen

What is supplemental oxygen therapy? 

Supplemental oxygen therapy is a treatment used to help people with certain conditions, including some people with Alpha-1, get enough oxygen to function and stay well. 

What is a portable oxygen concentrator? 

A portable oxygen concentrator (POC) is a medical device that can be used, as an alternative to canisters, to provide oxygen to some Alphas requiring supplemental oxygen. A POC is similar to a home concentrator, but is smaller and easier to carry, making it more convenient to travel outside the home. 

Air Travel with a Portable Oxygen Concentrator 

Flights departing from or arriving in the United States are required to allow certain POCs to be used aboard the plane.

Read more about acceptance criteria for Portable Oxygen Concentrators approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for inflight use

Some airlines request or require prior notification of POC carry-ons. Some airlines also require a specific medical information form, signed by your physician on letterhead, to fly with a POC.

Tips for Air Travel with a Portable Oxygen Concentrator

  • Check with your airline(s) before booking your ticket(s) and again at least 2 weeks in advance about their policies for use of POCs in flight, including any required documentation
  • Inform the airline(s) that you are traveling with a POC when making your reservation(s). Send any necessary documents to the airline(s) at least 2 weeks in advance of your flight(s) 
  • Some airlines require a specific Medical Information Form, signed by your physician on letterhead, to fly with a POC. Carry this form with you when you fly 
  • Allow extra time to check in and pass through security checkpoints
  • Inform the airline at check-in and boarding that you are traveling with a POC
  • Inquire about plugging in your POC to an electrical outlet while you wait to board the plane to save battery power. Charging may not be available on your flight 
  • Make sure you travel with adequate battery supplies for the duration of your scheduled flight, including layovers or possible delays
  • Once you arrive at your destination, remember to recharge your batteries for your return trip

Alpha-1 Foundation Oxygen Travel Fund

The Alpha-1 Foundation has a need-based Oxygen Travel Fund that provides supplemental oxygen and related equipment for financially-eligible Alphas traveling to doctor appointments and Alpha-1 educational events.

To request support through the Alpha-1 Foundation’s Oxygen Travel email Joy Collins at or call 1-877-228-7321, ext. 251. Please note that a minimum of 30 days’ notice is needed to arrange travel with supplemental oxygen through this program. 

Additional Resources for Traveling with Oxygen

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a program designed to help passengers with disabilities and medical conditions. TSA Cares will help make the screening process easier and will allow travelers to be better prepared upon their arrival at the airport

Air Charity Network is a national volunteer network for patient air transportation

The National Patient Air Transport Helpline provides information about all forms of charitable, long-distance medical air transportation and provides referrals

Delta Airlines – Economy Comfort at No Extra Charge: Delta Airlines provides economy comfort seating at no extra charge for Delta passengers flying with a POC. For more information, call Delta’s Disability Assistance Line at 1-404-209-3434