Is a CPAP Machine Considered Carry-On Luggage in Australia?

For those who require sleep apnea therapy and depend on a CPAP machine for a good night's sleep, the idea of travelling may seem daunting. However, travelling with a CPAP machine is quite straightforward. Whether you are using a machine for a medical condition or simply to improve your sleep quality, our guide will let you know if a CPAP machine is considered carry-on luggage in Australia, and the best practices for travelling with one.

CPAP Machine Carry On Australia: Can You Travel With It?

As different airlines have different policies, there is no one-size-fits-all answer as to whether a CPAP machine is considered carry-on luggage. However, for most airlines, taking medical equipment and machines like the CPAP machine normally do not count towards your hand luggage limit. 

For a definitive answer, we highly recommend reaching out to the airline you are travelling with and confirming their particular policies.

Major Australian Airlines and Their CPAP Policies:

Qantas:

Onboard use of CPAP devices (both battery-operated and electric) requires Qantas clearance but does not require clearance from a medical practitioner. This CPAP travel clearance form must be completed before your flight if you plan on using your device in-flight. 

The device must be battery-powered for domestic flights within Australia and New Zealand unless a PC Seat Power Outlet is available. Additionally, batteries must be non-spillable and contain less than 160Wh of charge.

For further information on Qantas authorised medical equipment, visit their page here or contact Qantas directly.

Jetstar:

According to Jetstar's regulations, accepted assistive devices include medications, frames, crutches, CPAP machines and more. If you need to use a CPAP machine during your flight, you will need to complete and submit the CPAP Clearance Form. This form is specifically for passengers who intend to use a CPAP machine and is separate from the general Medical Clearance Form. You do not need to also submit a Medical Clearance Form unless you have a medical condition as listed on the form. Due to power not being available on Jetstar services, only battery-operated CPAP machines can be used on Jetstar flights.

For more information, visit their page here or contact Jetstar directly.

Virgin:

Virgin Australia allows passengers to bring CPAP machines on board as part of the carry-on baggage allowance. Passengers that are planning on using their device in-flight, must complete a Personal Medical Equipment Form and notify the airline at least 48 hours in advance. As power is not available on Virgin services, only battery-operated CPAP machines can be used during the flight.

For more information, visit their page here or contact Virgin.

Tips For Travelling With Your CPAP Machine:

Pack your CPAP device with care:

Ensure that your CPAP device as well as any other accessories you intend on taking with you are packed securely with plenty of padding to protect your device during the travel. Ideally, you should carry your CPAP machine with your carry-on, rather than checked baggage, to reduce the risk of it being lost or misplaced. Before your trip, make sure to verify with your airline whether your CPAP device is considered a carry-on item, as policies vary between different airlines.

Pack extra batteries:

Typically, the average battery life of a CPAP machine ranges from 8-16 hours. For this reason, it is important to bring along an extra CPAP battery for your machine when travelling, especially if you are planning on travelling long distances or in places with no access to power. 

A portable battery bank like the SmartMed AirPro Mini Battery is another good alternative source of battery power. It acts as a portable charging station for not only your CPAP machine but also other handheld electronic devices such as phones, tablets and cameras.

Flying to Another Country? Bring an Outlet Adapter

When travelling with a CPAP machine, it is important to bring a power adapter so that you can use your machine with the electrical outlets in other countries. Make sure to check the power specifications of your CPAP equipment and confirm that the adapter you choose is compatible with the machine's voltage and wattage requirements.

Consider packing distilled water with you

When travelling with a CPAP device, it is recommended to pack distilled water for the humidifier. Using distilled water ensures that the moisture from the machine is clean and safe, as tap or regular bottled water may contain impurities that can damage the CPAP device. This can also result in irritation to your respiratory system. 

For this reason, it is highly recommended that you travel with your supply of distilled CPAP water for peace of mind. You can pack a maximum of 100mL of distilled water with you in your hand luggage and more can be packed in your checked luggage.

FAQ:

Do I need to have a “travel” CPAP machine?

You do not need a travel CPAP machine to travel with one. They are simply more compact, making them the preferred device amongst CPAP users when travelling.

What is the difference between regular CPAP machines and travel CPAP machines?

The main differences between a regular CPAP machine and a travel CPAP machine are their size, weight, and noise level. Typically, travel CPAP devices are more compact and lightweight, making them easier to travel with. However, they are also slightly noisier than the standard CPAP machine due to their smaller size. A popular CPAP machine is the ResMed AirMini due to its compact size and effectiveness.

However, although these travel CPAP machines are ideal for travelling and long-haul flights, using them as a full-time device as a form of CPAP therapy is not ideal. Due to their design prioritising portability, CPAP users find that these devices are not as effective as standard CPAP machines, as they lack certain features such as humidifiers.

Do I need a prescription to travel with a CPAP machine?

Although it is not necessarily required, it is highly recommended that you carry a copy of your prescription or a doctor’s note if you have one. This can help to avoid unnecessary complications regarding travelling with your CPAP device. Additionally, in the case that you need to replace your machine, your prescription will come in handy.

Can you plug in a CPAP machine on an aircraft?

You must call your airline to confirm whether there are power supplies available in-flight as this varies depending on the airline as well as your flight. If there is no power supply and you are unable to plug in your CPAP equipment, it is highly recommended that you bring extra batteries for your CPAP machines.

Can a CPAP machine go through an airport scanner?

Yes, CPAP machines can go through the airport scanner and will not be negatively affected by the X-ray scanners. However, they may request that you remove your CPAP equipment from the carrying case for screening Therefore, it is highly recommended that you bring a clear plastic bag with you to prevent unwanted germs from collecting on your device during the process

Do I have to pay to bring my CPAP machine on a plane?

The general rule is that you do not need to pay to bring your CPAP machine on a plane as it counts as your carry-on luggage. However, it is important that you confirm this with the airline you are flying with as all airlines have different regulations, as this may depend on several factors.

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