How do we deal with my mother, who requires oxygen 24/7, while enduring air travel?

1 answer | Last updated: Jun 21, 2013
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother is on oxygen 24 hours a day. She needs to travel to my home in Tucson, AZ from Pittsburgh, PA. We need both information regarding what airlines make this process the easiest and whether there are any sources for financial help, as we were told that the oxygen concentrator is very expensive to rent.

Expert Answers

Laura Beltramo, a physical therapist who specializes in geriatrics, graduated with honors from the University of California at San Francisco in 2000. She loves her job working as the sole physical therapist at a premier life-care facility in San Francisco. She has written articles and lectured extensively on fall prevention and other issues relevant to the aging experience. As a registered yoga teacher, she teaches yoga, meditation, and other mindfulness techniques to seniors -- helping them expand their repertoire for coping with stress, pain, and illness in the later years.

Check with the airline your parent is traveling on. Airlines usually have their own rules about oxygen use. Most airlines provide oxygen for those who arrange it in advance, with a prescription from their doctor. It does vary from airline to airline, however. You should also check with your mom's doctor, respiratory therapist or physical therapist (whoever is monitoring her oxygen use), and ask for travel advice. Your mom should probably get a check up before traveling anyway, and this is a good time to ask about oxygen, and to get a prescription for the airline (if needed). The good news is your mom should be able to travel in comfort with her oxygen. But you'll need to do a little more groundwork to get there.