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Travelling With CPAP - What to Expect from the TSA

The safety of travel is ever more present in today’s headlines.  The U.S. Government and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are very involved in the lives of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) patients who travel with their PAP devices in their carry-on luggage.  The American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA) Executive Director Edward Grandi recently participated in a briefing at TSA headquarters concerning travel with medical CPAP devices.

Grandi stated that “passengers traveling with their PAP equipment are required to remove it from its case and place it in one of the plastic bins before sending it through the X-ray machine.”  This is the same method used for laptop computers. TSA does provide large plastic bags for the equipment so you do not have to place it unprotected into the bin.  The TSA provides a supervisor at airport security points.  A traveler who is not satisfied with the method in which their luggage was inspected can always make an appeal to the supervisor. TSA does have a program for travelers with disabilities and their associated equipment.  There is however a chance that an inspector will not accept a PAP machine as it could be labeled as a “tool greater than seven inches in length”, which is an item on the carry-on banned list.  The TSA site itself cautions:

 “To ensure travelers’ security, Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) may determine that an item not on the Prohibited Items List is prohibited”.

More detailed information is available at so hopefully you have a good experience when traveling with your PAP equipment!

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