February 4, 2014
February 4–A recent American Medical Association report said more than 30 million Americans have chronic lung disease, and of those, an estimated 800,000 – 1,000,000 Americans require home therapy involving breathing medical oxygen.
Now, there’s more good news for airline passengers who need to use portable oxygen. The Federal Aviation Administration has approved three more portable oxygen concentrator models for use aboard airplanes, bringing the total number of approved units to 23.
The newly authorized devices are the SeQual Technologies eQuinox (Model 4000), Oxywell (Model 4000), and the VBOX Inc. Trooper. The SeQual units are actually the same unit; the Oxywell is marketed in Japan.
Portable oxygen concentrators are small, portable devices that separate oxygen from nitrogen and other gases in the air and provide oxygen to users at greater than 90 percent concentration. They do not use compressed or liquid oxygen, which the government classifies as hazardous materials and does not allow in airline passenger cabins.
The Department of Transportation requires that U.S. airlines and foreign air carriers flying into the United States allow passengers to use portable oxygen concentrators approved by the FAA during all phases of a flight if the unit displays a manufacturer’s label that indicates it meets FAA requirements for portable medical electronic devices. The Department strongly encourages airlines to voluntarily allow the inflight use of oxygen concentrators even if not labeled as FAA-approved because they pose no safety danger.
Passengers must ensure the unit is in good working order and must be able to respond to the unit’s warning alarms. They must protect extra batteries in carry-on baggage from short circuits and physical damage. The unit must be properly stowed when not in use. Carriers also must let passengers operate these FAA-approved concentrators while moving about the cabin whenever the captain turns off the “Fasten Seat Belt” sign.
The FAA is pursuing performance-based standards that will apply to all oxygen concentrator manufacturers and models. The agency intends to publish a notice in the Federal Register and offer the public a chance to comment on the proposal when it is complete.
The FAA previously approved these portable oxygen concentrators for use:
>Read the Final Rule on Use of Additional Portable Oxygen Concentrators on Board Aircraft..