New to needing Ox on planes - any POC advice?

Hi - I'm new to the forum, so hi everyone...

I failed my "Fit To Fly" test last week so I now need 2l/min of oxygen when flying. I'm due to take a few flights this year, including some US internal flights where they insist on you bringing and using a Portable Oxygen Concentrator (one that is on the FAA approved list).

Does anyone have any experience of flying with a POC?

Any suggestions of where to rent one? (I hear they are hard to get on the NHS, and you're not allowed to take them abroad?)

Or should I just invest the money and buy one - they seem to be about £2,000 so a big decision...?

Thanks in advance for any advice or tips!

15 Replies

I think it depends on how often it will be used. You are right that there is a ban on taking those supplied through the NHS out of the country. If you were intending 1 or 2 trips then it may be better to hire but that can work out quite expensive. If you are going to use one frequently then purchasing may be your best option. Will you only need it whilst flying? Have your respiratory team said a POC would be an option for you?

Hi. Thanks for the info and quick reply.

Yes, I only need it when flying. I'm seen at the Brompton and they said I would need a pulsed supply at 2l/min. They didn't specify whether a POC would be suitable but I'll double check.

I'm due in the US later this year and it seems that most internal flights don't allow bottled O2 on board (and won't let you use the on-board supply) so a POC is the only option there.

I can use the on-board supply on the transatlantic leg as I'm going BA and they're really helpful (I did just this on a short hop to Glasgow last week and they couldn't have gone out of their way more to help - thanks BA!) but once in the US I'll need a POC.

Also going on holiday with EasyJet and they also ask you to bring your own. You can bring bottled, but I assume a POC is easier...?


The majority of POC are airline approved, one thing they insist on is having enough battery power for the flight duration.

Check with airlines on exact requirements.

Hire charges can around £250 per week, if you plan many flights over a length of time self purchase may the better option.

If you are only on 2lpm the cheapest is the Airsep Focus.

For future proofing your oxygen needs consider.

The Imogen G3 goes to 5lpm.

The same company also hires machines.

For either option you will need confirmation of your oxygen needs from your respitory nurse or person who arranges you oxygen needs.

Thanks for the advice and links, exactly what I was after, brilliant!

I'm using several different airlines, long haul and short haul, and they all have slightly different policies. So a POC seems to be the easiest solution as they all seem to be happy with that as long as you fill in the forms and have enough battery as you said...

I'll probably end up buying one.

I don't need O2 normally at home, only when flying (so far!) so also would be useful to have the POC at home in those moments when I'm struggling (I've had 3 chest infections and type A influenza in the past 6 months, so a bit more breathless than normal at the mo as I get over all that!!).

Hope you are well


Have you got adequate medical travel cover?

the airlines insist that you have battery life for the whole flight,so you will probably need a spare or 2.

Have you been aware of catching viruses during flights, from say the air con? This now very common compliant of the standard of air circulating aircraft rather puts me off flying now.


I thought the same thing - I seem to catch everything going, my immune system is so suppressed!

So I looked into it. In fact it turns out that the air in an airplane is always fresh, continually sucked in from outside. They have to do that as that is how they pressurise the air - it is sucked in and compressed and then pumped into the cabin and continuously replaced with new fresh air, rather than recirculated.

But you still have a high chance to catch bugs on planes - mostly from your hands. People transfer their bugs and viruses onto their hands from their mouths and noses, then they touch the tray tables, toilet lock catches, seatbelt etc. You touch the same surfaces and catch the bugs

The flight isn't cleaned throughly between flights, so these areas have lots of nasties. So bring antiseptic wipes for you tray table, seat belt catch and arm rests, and use a bit of tissue to lock the toilet door and press the flush button. Here's an article about it:

Thank you for this really important information.

That is wonderful information, thanks Tim. Ive never once picked up an infection after flying though I haven't flown much since diagnosis (copd). This makes infection control something which is under our own control, unlike the spectre of infected air conditioning.

I've even read that aircraft air is so clean, you should direct the overhead aircon nozzle to blow in front of your face to help keep coughs and sneezes from nearby passengers away!

That's amazing - I always push it the other way or have it off altogether, thanks Tim :)

I should add some caveats... this assumes that the airline are servicing and replacing their air filters. Also, there is no regulation about the proportion of fresh air to recirculated air - the airline can decide for themselves. So in theory an aircraft with an old or missing HEPA filter, and using a high proportion of recirculated air could be sending bugs through the air conditioning. But in general, in a modern plane on a reasonably major airline, it's a lot less bad than people think. DISCLAIMER - All this info is from the internet! But it seems to be broadly supported...

Hmmm, always a catch!

Good information from stone. Just be aware that 'setting 2' does not necessarily equate to 2 lpm. The Focus is set at 2 and cannot be altered, the Freestyle (also Airsep) covers 1-3 and the G3 (Inogen) goes up to setting 5. Chat with your respiratory team. Or give the BLF helpline a ring on 03000 030 555 during UK office hours.

Some reading here:


You may also like...