Traveling With Als

Traveling with Respiratory Devices

Traveling with respiratory equipment is possible, though it does require advance planning. Make sure you leave home with everything you need, such as extra batteries, power converters, adapters, extension cords, masks, and tubing.

Can I travel by plane with my equipment?

Yes. Most respiratory devices are FAA-approved. Check your device manual or consult with your respiratory therapist to make sure. Contact your airline—ideally a few weeks in advance—to ask if you need approval to bring your device(s) on the plane. Bring all related paperwork, such as your neurologist’s prescription for each device.

​Your respiratory devices should not be considered carry-ons and can be stored in the overhead bin. You can use your respiratory devices as needed while on the plane. Make sure you have enough battery-backup time for unexpected delays. You can ask ahead of time if there will be power outlets on the plane.

Talk with your respiratory therapist ahead of time about your travel plans. Ask for tips, ideas, and concerns regarding traveling with your specific devices.

​Keep in mind that you will need to be able to sit in a standard airplane seat for the duration of the flight.

How portable are all the devices?

Bilevel machines, used primarily for sleeping, must be plugged into an outlet—unless you purchase an external battery out of pocket. Portable ventilators, multifunction ventilators, cough assists, and suction machines all have internal batteries, which means you can use them while you’re on the move, whether in a car, bus, train, or plane. If you have a power wheelchair, your portable ventilator can plug into your wheelchair battery, if needed.

 

This guide was created by the ALS Hope Foundation and Your ALS Guide, an educational website for families impacted by ALS.

Traveling with respiratory devices requires careful planning and preparation. Whether you're flying, driving, or using other means of transport, understanding the portability of your equipment is crucial. Most respiratory devices, including bilevel machines, portable ventilators, multifunction ventilators, cough assists, and suction machines, are designed with travelers in mind. For those using FAA-approved devices, it's essential to check device manuals and consult with healthcare providers to ensure compliance with airline regulations. This content aims to provide practical advice and considerations for individuals traveling with such devices, highlighting the importance of advance planning, understanding device portability, and complying with airline regulations. By focusing on key preparation steps, travelers with respiratory conditions can navigate their journeys more confidently and comfortably.