I've gotten a number of different responses at airports. Atlanta requires removing a CPAP, but Reagan didn't. Any others know what airports require/don't require it? (And why its inconsistent)?

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    CPAP? Any chance you could define that?
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Jun 28, 2011 at 21:28
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    From the TSA website: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine. Commented Jun 28, 2011 at 22:12
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    A CPAP is a piece of medical equipment used to assist breathing in certain situations, such as certain complications of asthma or emphysema, or certain sleep breathing disorders like sleep apnea.
    – HedgeMage
    Commented Jun 28, 2011 at 22:13
  • @ankur that's great -- post the link with a short summary and it would be the right answer.
    – HedgeMage
    Commented Jun 28, 2011 at 22:14
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    @HedgeMadge: I think the intent of the OP's question is different, wants on-ground analysis of what happens at airports. I'm not qualified to give an answer on that. Commented Jun 28, 2011 at 22:19

1 Answer 1


Speaking as someone who travels with someone who travels with a CPAP, the answer is: it varies.

The TSA gets a lot of crap, and (imo) much/most of it is deserved. But oddly enough, random checks are a reasonable security approach.

Traveling with a CPAP has improved immensely over the last few years. That's partly due to the equipment getting smaller & lighter, partly because more people have been diagnosed with sleep apnea (and so the TSA sees CPAPs more often), and partly due to TSA employees getting some training. It's been many years since the time I saw someone told they couldn't bring their CPAP on board "because it's scuba gear, and we don't allow pressurized containers on board."

The good news: as it's medically-required equipment, the TSA has ruled that it doesn't count against your carry on or personal bag quota. And if you happen to toss an extra extension cord (or a pair of socks?) in the bag, what are they going to do?

The two places where things can get weird are:

  • Do you want/need to bring distilled water in your carry on bag?
    I think having a doctor's letter saying it's medically necessary helps.
  • Do you want to try to use the CPAP while on board?
    If yes, does you have a battery, or will you need a power adapter?

Possibly useful resources:

  • First link is out of order
    – gatorback
    Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 16:53

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