Technical Support Document
Traveling (air or rail) with a Medical Oxygen Cylinder
"Specification 3AL (§ 178.46 of this subchapter) cylinders are authorized only for the following nonliquified gases: air, argon, carbon monoxide, diborane, ethylene, helium, mercury free hydrogen, krypton, methane, nitrogen, neon, oxygen, and xenon. Flammable gases shipped in 3AL cylinders are authorized only when transported by highway, rail, and cargo-only aircraft."There are two reasons that this section has been incorrectly quoted as to the reason why aluminum cylinders charged with oxygen are not allowed on commercial passenger aircraft.
"A cylinder containing oxygen, compressed, may not be loaded into a passenger-carrying or in an inaccessible cargo location on a cargo only aircraft unless it is placed in an overpack or outerpackaging that conforms to the performance criteria of Air Transport Association (ATA) 300 for Type I shipping containers."49 CFR Part 175.10(b) states the following:
"(b) A cylinder containing medical-use compressed oxygen, owned or leased by an aircraft operator or offered for transportation by a passenger needing it for personal medical use at destination, may be carried in the cabin of a passenger-carrying aircraft in accordance with the following provision:Although the sections of the 49 CFR regulation identify that medical oxygen cylinders for personal use can be taken on passenger aircrafts, the Aviation Consumer Protection Division (ACPD) of the DOT also states in its "Consumer Guide To Air Travel" in section 5 under "Hazardous Items" that it is illegal to carry on board or check in your luggage any of the following hazardous materials: specifically noting oxygen cylinders (unless they're empty).
(1) No more than six cylinders belonging to the aircraft operator and, in addition, no more than one cylinder per passenger needing oxygen at destination, may be transported in the cabin of the aircraft under provisions of this paragraph (b);
(2) The rated capacity of each cylinder may not exceed 850 liters (30 cubic feet);
(3) Each cylinder and its overpack or outerpackaging (see Special Provision A52 in § 172.102 of this subchapter) must conform to the provisions of this subchapter;
(4) The aircraft operator shall securely stow the cylinder in its overpack or outer packaging in the cabin of the aircraft and shall notify the pilot in-command as specified in § 175.33 of this part; and
(5) Shipments under this paragraph (b) are not subject to -
(i) Subpart C and, for passengers only, subpart H of part 172 of this subchapter;
(ii) Section 173.25(a)(4) of this subchapter.
(iii) Section 175.85(i)
1. The oxygen cylinder must be removable from any cart with wheels during the trip.In conclusion, if you are currently using, or are planning on traveling with someone who uses medical oxygen, we recommend that you consult your doctor prior to traveling. We also recommend that you contact the passenger airline carrier or rail system that you plan to use for travel, prior to traveling, and discuss your personal use of, or need for medical oxygen.
2. The oxygen cylinder must not require plugging into an electrical outlet.
3. It is highly recommended to take two times the supply required, a second oxygen cylinder, in case the trip takes longer than expected.
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