Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Traveling With a CPAP Machine

I recently received an e-mail from a gentleman who had just started using a CPAP machine. He was concerned about traveling with his CPAP and wasn't sure if it could go in his carry-on bag or if it would receive special screening. These are common questions we get quite often from people who have never traveled with their CPAP machines, so it seemed a blog post was in order.

For those who don't know, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines are respirators that are commonly used to treat sleep apnea and as you can imagine, they are extremely important to the people who need them.

Our officers are very familiar with CPAP machines and see them numerous times daily. I wouldn't suggest placing your CPAP machine in your checked baggage, because if your baggage is misplaced, you'll be without your machine.

So here is how it all goes down. The CPAP machine will need to come out of its case and be placed in a bin prior to being sent through the X-ray, but the facemask and tubing can remain in the case. We realize the X-rays bins aren't exactly sterile, so if you like, you can place your CPAP machine in a clear plastic bag before you put it in the bin. After your CPAP machine is X-rayed, it may need to undergo an Explosive Trace Detection test where a small white swab will be run over your machine and then analyzed for trace amounts of explosives.

Testing a C-pap machine. If your CPAP machine needs an ETD test, you can request that gloves be changed and a new swab be used.
Why the special treatment? As we've discussed before (here & here ), when we can't get a clear X-ray image of an item, we have to take a closer look. There are certain parts of the CPAP machines that are difficult to see on the X-ray.

I hope this helps. Safe travels!

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team


If you’d like to comment on an unrelated topic you can do so in our Off Topic Comments post. You can also view our blog post archives or search our blog to find a related topic to comment in. If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact a Customer Support Manager at the airport you traveled, or will be traveling through by using Talk to TSA.


69 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Bob. I started usind a CPAP machine six months ago and have taken seven roundtrip flights. The CPAP was taken out of the bag for inspection three times. Does this mean that TSA has a random check protocol on CPAP machines or that TSOs are not being consistent in implementing official TSA policy? Either way, thank you for letting us know that we can demand the TSOs use new gloves and swabs. I'll definitely take that bit of advice.

Anonymous said...

What about CPAP users who're required to use distilled water in their devices? Has a memo finally been circulated to allow the water through, or are those bottles still confiscated at the checkpoint?

Anonymous said...

We should never have to demand or even request that TSOs use fresh gloves when moving from touching one passenger to the next, or from passenger's belongings to the next. It should be standard protocol.

Anonymous said...

"If your CPAP machine needs an ETD test, you can request that gloves be changed and a new swab be used."

Why are clean gloves and a new swab not standard procedure?

Anonymous said...

"Either way, thank you for letting us know that we can demand the TSOs use new gloves and swabs."

No, you can request that they chance gloves and swabs. Big difference.

FriendlySkies said...

"you can request that gloves be changed and a new swab be used."

Yeah, nice lie, Bob.. I don't use a CPAP, but I ask for a new swab whenever a TSA clerk needs to ETD something of mine. On numerous occasions, I've been told that they do not have to change the swab, and then continue to touch the item...

:rolleyes:

While we're at it, what are you going to do so my NEXUS card is accepted?

Rocco said...

And remember, everything blogger bob said was a procedure can be randomly altered or circumvented at the will of the TSA screener, just so terrorists never can bank on them doing the check the same way twice.

So really, I don't know why he posted it, since it's not 100% the same all the time. And if a TSA guy decides to do something different...in the name of freedom...he has the right to.

Unless this is the *one* policy that is an actual, done 100% of the time policy. Bob?

Anonymous said...

"Our officers are very familiar with CPAP machines and see them numerous times daily. I wouldn't suggest placing your CPAP machine in your checked baggage, because if your baggage is misplaced, you'll be without your machine."

Too bad the TSA isn't "very familiar" with the 4th Amendment. You know, the one that protects citizens from being searched by government agents without PROBABLE CAUSE and SEARCH WARRENTS.

And don't give me that "Administrative" nonsense, there is no mention of "Administrative" exemptions in the Bill of Rights.

Jarrett said...

Are there any special considerations if CPAP machines are placed in checked luggage?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"If your CPAP machine needs an ETD test, you can request that gloves be changed and a new swab be used."

Why are clean gloves and a new swab not standard procedure?

February 22, 2011 5:49 PM

...............
Because TSA could care less about your health and safety.

Anon_1984 said...

The fact that your organization is in contact with that many people, and your clerks do not change their gloves, is a public safety issue.

Revolting.

TSM, been here said...

Quoted:
""you can request that gloves be changed and a new swab be used."

Yeah, nice lie, Bob.. I don't use a CPAP, but I ask for a new swab whenever a TSA clerk needs to ETD something of mine. On numerous occasions, I've been told that they do not have to change the swab, and then continue to touch the item..."

--------------------
Uh, read what Bob said. He's talking about a CPAP, you are talking about "something of mine", hence not a CPAP. We do not have to change swabs for anything else.
We do have to change gloves as resquested.

Also, to the posters who said "Change gloves after every item". Do you really want to wait around while gloves are being changed to touch inanimate objects? Also, talk about bloated expenditures!

Really, I'll bet you request the guy who makes you lunch at the deli change his gloves right before he makes your sandwich? You don't do you? And that's something you put in your mouth? Can you say double standard?

How about the duy at Dunkin Donuts who uses a piece of wax paper to pick up your donut and then throws that same paper in the bag with the donut! Do you ask him not to?

Seems like everyone wants to hold the TSA to a standard they don't even apply outside the checkpoint.

TSM said...

Quoted:
" Anon_1984 said...
The fact that your organization is in contact with that many people, and your clerks do not change their gloves, is a public safety issue.

Revolting.

February 23, 2011 10:25 AM"
----------------------
See my deli post!

Anonymous said...

TSM, been here said...
Quoted:
""you can request that gloves be changed and a new swab be used."

Yeah, nice lie, Bob.. I don't use a CPAP, but I ask for a new swab whenever a TSA clerk needs to ETD something of mine. On numerous occasions, I've been told that they do not have to change the swab, and then continue to touch the item..."

--------------------
Uh, read what Bob said. He's talking about a CPAP, you are talking about "something of mine", hence not a CPAP. We do not have to change swabs for anything else.
We do have to change gloves as resquested.

Also, to the posters who said "Change gloves after every item". Do you really want to wait around while gloves are being changed to touch inanimate objects? Also, talk about bloated expenditures!

Really, I'll bet you request the guy who makes you lunch at the deli change his gloves right before he makes your sandwich? You don't do you? And that's something you put in your mouth? Can you say double standard?

How about the duy at Dunkin Donuts who uses a piece of wax paper to pick up your donut and then throws that same paper in the bag with the donut! Do you ask him not to?

Seems like everyone wants to hold the TSA to a standard they don't even apply outside the checkpoint.

February 23, 2011 12:05 PM

.........
I don't think the Deli guy or the Donut guy was pawing around in someones dirty underwear just moments before bagging my donut or making a sandwich, but you TSA people have put your hands in no telling what dirty things before getting to the next person.

If the gloves thing is no big deal then why wear them in the first place?

Mike E. said...

Rocco mentioned this already in a post above, but I wanted to point it out too.

Blogger Bob can explain the procedure all he wants, but time and time again we've seen examples of the agents at the checkpoints either ignorant of or just ignoring established procedure.

Requesting a supervisor isn't guaranteed to help either, and will possibly result in you being placed in one of the plastic jail cells while he/she tries to figure out a way to ignore the procedure you printed out from the TSA website and handed to him.

There is a HUGE disconnect between published TSA procedure and what actually takes place at the checkpoints. The standard TSA responses when these disconnects are point out don't make up for the fact that they continue to happen.

Bob, I'm telling you, if you guys could just get some level of consistency, it would do wonders for your image. Although I suppose your image isn't a high priority.

I look forward to hearing how many times this info on the CPAP machines is ignored by checkpoint agents.

Anonymous said...

"See my deli post!"

You do know there are laws regarding changing of gloves/ washing hands in the food preparation field?

I'd suggest you research the differences between those standards and the standards TSA uses.

Eric said...

So, I can "request fresh gloves and swab" when you CHECK MY FREAKING MEDICAL DEVICE?!? That thing puts air into my LUNGS, Bob. Why are you guys not AUTOMATICALLY taking every possible precaution to ensure cleanliness? You shouldn't even need to put your filthy paws on it to begin with - you don't routinely fondle computers, why do you need to fondle something that keeps me breathing when I sleep?

And, as Anonymous (Feb 22, 5:03PM) said, what about the medically-necessary distilled water I *REQUIRE* in order to use the machine? Have your people been trained to understand that it is a MEDICALLY NECESSARY LIQUID yet?

Anonymous said...

I have the sense that if it was not for the Americans With Disabilities Act, TSA would try to ban CPAPs.

As for the question about distilled water, the reservoir on my CPAP is bigger than 3.4 oz and the machine is not supposed to be full of water during transport. I would like to know if the TSA is aware of the fact that most distilled water is sold in gallon containers and therefore exceeds the limit of 3.4 oz. We should be able to carry this instead of trying to figure out where we can get distilled water at our destination.

For anyone looking for the TSA policy on CPAPs, here it is:
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds/cpap.shtm

Bob was very good at regurgitating this information. (rolls eyes)

Anonymous said...

TSM wrote: Really, I'll bet you request the guy who makes you lunch at the deli change his gloves right before he makes your sandwich? You don't do you?

If I just watched the guy making my sandwich handling anything not related to food preparation, you betcha.

There have been reports of TSA employees using restrooms wearing the same blue gloves and walking out on the floor to screen more passengers without changing those gloves.

Nasty.

Add this to the simple fact that you're talking about CPAPs - they're medical devices, they have water reservoirs, and they provide air directly. They're a perfect incubator for any number of things that could very easily be introduced by the screener's nasty gloves.

Of course, I don't expect any TSA employees to understand that - even the ones who were fired from the deli for not changing their gloves.

SSSS for some reason said...

"...Seems like everyone wants to hold the TSA to a standard they don't even apply outside the checkpoint."

The TSA holds us to a set of standards they can't even tell us about because it is SSI. So why can I not also hold them to a moving target of standards?

akhtar said...

I have traveled with my CPAP many times, and knowing in advance that I would have to take it out and have it screened by hand was very useful since I could plan accordingly.

I'd say traveling with my CPAP has turned out to be less of a hassle than traveling with toiletries (which is still a hassle).

Anonymous said...

TSM, been here said...
Uh, read what Bob said. He's talking about a CPAP, you are talking about "something of mine", hence not a CPAP. We do not have to change swabs for anything else.

So, the swab you use to test for explosives on my stuff has already been used to test someone elses stuff? If a Positive reading comes up, who's to say if it was my stuff or theirs that was made of C4? That's like taking two people's blood, mixing it, and testing the mix for drugs.

Really, I'll bet you request the guy who makes you lunch at the deli change his gloves right before he makes your sandwich? You don't do you? And that's something you put in your mouth? Can you say double standard?

The deli guy touches nothing but food. If he touches anything else, he is required to change his gloves by health code. TSA employees, however, touch other people. I don't want gloves that just "met" someone else's "resistance" (If You Know What I Mean) touching my stuff.

Anon_1984 said...

Some anonymous TSM said "see my deli post"

1. Smarten up, we are your customers and pay your wages.

2. I don't know about where you live, TSM, but where I live, and I go to any fast food outlet, they A-L-W-A-Y-S put on a fresh set of cheap, disposable gloves.

What part of basic hygiene is so difficult for the TSA as an institution to understand? This is grade 3 stuff people... but maybe that's the problem!

Anonymous said...

TSM, with your deli post.

You have got to be kidding me. If some screener is digging through another person's checked bag that might contain his dirty laundry, what would make you think it's okay for him to use that same gloves to search through the clean clothing in my bag? If a screener pat searches the groin area of a passenger, what would make you think it's okay for him to use that same glove to pat search around my shirt collar? Those examples are nothing like a deli worker using the same glove to touch everyone's sandwich on an assembly line behind the serving counter. The first sandwich does not pass contaminates to the second sandwich via his glove because everything the gloved deli worker touches are coming straight from the deli trays---not from the deli tray, to the gloved deli worker, to the customer, then back to the gloved deli worker. Your statement is indicative of why TSA screeners don't see this glove issue as a health problem. Do all of you think that way? Blogger Bob keep stating how screeners are highly trained, and how they are familiar with this and that and everything around them that they have to deal with. But then some TSM gets on here and makes an idiotic comment like that which proves the opposite.

Sandra said...

Bob, why does the TSA use tactics of intimidation to try to force passengers to submit? I reference Sharon Cissna from Alaska. She states that when she was refusing the pat down she was surrounded by individuals in an obvious attempt at intimindation.

Also, why have we not heard anything of a threat of an $11,000 fine for Ms. Cissna for refusing to complete the screening process? Was this also another attempt at intimidation by the TSA as you tried to do to John Tyner? It seems as if the threat of a fine is bogus, isn't it?

Screen shot made.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bob -- You're getting suckered into the old search engine ranking scam again. I thought you agreed to screen out innocuous posts with commercial links??? These make the blog lose any legitimacy it might have.


re:
S_th Th_mas said...

Kat said...

"If your CPAP machine needs an ETD test, you can request that gloves be changed and a new swab be used."

A CPAP machine is a medical device, requiring a prescription. Why are TSOs not required to follow medical standards in the handling of this device? This means the owner of the device should not have to "request" fresh gloves and swab. It should be REQUIRED, the same way fresh gloves are required of medical personnel touching a patient.

Anonymous said...

"We realize the X-rays bins aren't exactly sterile"

Nothing about a TSA check point is sterile or even remotely clean. It's fine if your young and healthy, not so good for the elderly, infants, and those with weakened immune systems.

avxo said...

Anonymous wrote: "Amendment. You know, the one that protects citizens from being searched by government agents without PROBABLE CAUSE and SEARCH WARRENTS."

You forgot the unreasonable part... The 4th Amendment protects us from unreasonable searches.

Forgetting that quite important bit is kind of dishonest of you, don't you think?

Oh and you misspelled warrants.

TSM, been here said...

For all you posters that jumped on my post about not changing gloves; If you had actually read what I said, I stated quite clearly:

"We do not have to change SWABS for anything else.
We do have to change gloves as resquested."

This post was in reference to screening inanimate objects as the previous poster was talking about a CPAP and the other poster I referenced spoke about "...someTHING of mine".

My post made no reference to screening individuals. NO WHERE in my post did I speak about the screening of individuals.


NO WHERE did I say that we do not have to change GLOVES. I said SWABS. We do have to change gloves between patdowns - Once again, No where did I say we did not.

My deli post was in reference to deli workers not changing gloves which I see freaquently (I've seen them handle cash than make another sandwich, etc).

Again talking about inanimate objects.

I have no issue with people disagreeing with me, but please at least quote me accurately.

Anonymous said...

TSM wrote: My deli post was in reference to deli workers not changing gloves which I see freaquently (I've seen them handle cash than make another sandwich, etc).

I've never seen this happen without a glove change.

Ever.

In what deli did you see that happen? I'd like to avoid it.

Anonymous said...

Jarrett said...
"Are there any special considerations if CPAP machines are placed in checked luggage?"

Only that it's more likely to be stolen, safer to carry it on with you.

Anonymous said...

I travel fairly often and like any other organization/company, there is good and bad in all of them. I have dealt with some wonderful folks from TSA and some not so wonderful. The bitterness here from the traveling public is just amazing. It tends to make me wonder how many of you complainers would be asking why security wasn't better should, god forbid, another incident happen. There is a reason these folks are here and you may not like the "inconvenience", but it sure beats the alternative of not making it to your destination. If you dealt with nothing but complaints and ridicule at your job for 8 hours a day/5 days a week, I bet you wouldnt be so pleasant either. The people at the airports DO NOT make the rules, so complaining to them about the rules does no good. They cannot change them. Lest, they put their job in jeapordy.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said... I travel fairly often and like any other organization/company, there is good and bad in all of them. I have dealt with some wonderful folks from TSA and some not so wonderful. The bitterness here from the traveling public is just amazing. It tends to make me wonder how many of you complainers would be asking why security wasn't better should, god forbid, another incident happen. There is a reason these folks are here and you may not like the "inconvenience", but it sure beats the alternative of not making it to your destination. If you dealt with nothing but complaints and ridicule at your job for 8 hours a day/5 days a week, I bet you wouldnt be so pleasant either. The people at the airports DO NOT make the rules, so complaining to them about the rules does no good. They cannot change them. Lest, they put their job in jeapordy.

February 26, 2011 11:32 AM"

I used to travel very frequently until the TSA adopted these draconian tactics in dealing with the flying public. I can tell you that in my experience maybe only 10-20% of the TSO's were shown to be nice to the people they are supposed to be protecting (this is laughable at best, but I digress).

I can tell that the TSO's can and do change the rules on a regular basis,so yes they do make the rules up as they go (and wonder why people get so angry and are "mean" to them). They are granted this ability under the guise of SSI or being unpredictable supposedly in order to not let the terrorists know their procedures. As of this date the TSA has stopped zero terrorists, but they have managed (I believe intentionally) to terrorize, harass, and possibly deprive a great many citizens of their rights as Americans.

What you are seeing is that some of us still believe that being a United States Citizen means something.

Spartacus said...

TSM West said.
Seems like everyone wants to hold the TSA to a standard they don't even apply outside the checkpoint.

And unlike any industry outside the checkpoint they all have standard procedures in writing and employees are accountable. Where as the TSA has guidelines that any TSA employee can change at time, for any reason, and TSO's are not accountable for even the most blatant violations.

avxo said...

TSM West said: "Seems like everyone wants to hold the TSA to a standard they don't even apply outside the checkpoint."

No, I apply my standards consistently; I'm sure some others do, just like I'm sure some others don't. Don't generalize.

I've seen deli/sandwich places that do what you describe. I simply leave.

And therein lies the difference between the deli and the TSA.

Once I cross some line in the sand and enter into your fiefdom, I am not allowed to leave unless you give me permission.

The deli shop can't prevent me from leaving without running the risk of facing serious criminal charges.

If, on the other hand, attempt to leave from your checkpoint, your staff may call police over to have me arrested for not completing the screening process, and I may be subjected for large civil fines.

And let's not forget, of course, the other important difference: I can choose one of the many other sandwich shops. I have no such choice with TSA for the majority of the destinations I fly to.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"I travel fairly often and like any other organization/company, there is good and bad in all of them. I have dealt with some wonderful folks from TSA and some not so wonderful. The bitterness here from the traveling public is just amazing. It tends to make me wonder how many of you complainers would be asking why security wasn't better should, god forbid, another incident happen. There is a reason these folks are here and you may not like the "inconvenience", but it sure beats the alternative of not making it to your destination. If you dealt with nothing but complaints and ridicule at your job for 8 hours a day/5 days a week, I bet you wouldnt be so pleasant either. The people at the airports DO NOT make the rules, so complaining to them about the rules does no good."

Ah, the Nurenberg defense. Didn't work in the 40's, won't work now. If the TSA conducted itself properly, showing passengers dignity, observing the Constitution, etc, I conclude the traveling public would be far kinder.

I've been told that if I don't like it, don't fly. If the TSOs don't like being treated poorly for their illicit behavior, don't work there.

TSM West said...

Spartacus said
TSM West said.
Seems like everyone wants to hold the TSA to a standard they don't even apply outside the checkpoint.

And unlike any industry outside the checkpoint they all have standard procedures in writing and employees are accountable. Where as the TSA has guidelines that any TSA employee can change at time, for any reason, and TSO's are not accountable for even the most blatant violations.

February 27, 2011 9:18 AM
And AVXO said

TSM West said: "Seems like everyone wants to hold the TSA to a standard they don't even apply outside the checkpoint."

No, I apply my standards consistently; I'm sure some others do, just like I'm sure some others don't. Don't generalize.

I've seen deli/sandwich places that do what you describe. I simply leave.

And therein lies the difference between the deli and the TSA.

Once I cross some line in the sand and enter into your fiefdom, I am not allowed to leave unless you give me permission.

The deli shop can't prevent me from leaving without running the risk of facing serious criminal charges.

If, on the other hand, attempt to leave from your checkpoint, your staff may call police over to have me arrested for not completing the screening process, and I may be subjected for large civil fines.

And let's not forget, of course, the other important difference: I can choose one of the many other sandwich shops. I have no such choice with TSA for the majority of the destinations I fly to.

February 27, 2011 7:52 PM
-----------------------------------
I realize we all look alike, but you quoted the wrong TSM

Anonymous said...

For all of you stating that you don't see the types of things I spoke about in restaurants... Really?

Ever eat at a McDonald's or any other fast food rest.? Yes the workers wear gloves but they make the food, than handle a cardboard box or wrapper that they take off a stack that was in a box inside a filthy truck, touched by god knows how many people when it was placed in the stack, then they make another sandwich, hand it off to thier coworker, etc.

Someone else brought up the point of Dunkin Donuts workers using tissue to get your donut so thier hands don't touch it then shoving the contaminated tissue in the bag with the donut!

Nothing exists in a vacuum....
Just sayin....

Bruce said...

i have prostetic knees.i get patted down every time i fly.can i demand a full body scan instead of annoying pat down

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"Someone else brought up the point of Dunkin Donuts workers using tissue to get your donut so thier hands don't touch it then shoving the contaminated tissue in the bag with the donut!

Nothing exists in a vacuum....
Just sayin...."

Just saying what, exactly? That because private businesses occasionally violate proper procedures we should allow the Federal Government to do so as well? Really? REALLY?

The problem is that people should not be touched at all by Federal "officers" as a pre-requisite for boarding an airplane.

Anonymous said...

I have read all the comments and it still boggles my mind when there are so many who complain about everything during the screening process. TSA is here for a reason. Some people, I think, just need to complain about something to make their lives better!

Anonymous said...

I wish every TSO was sensitive to how tied to that CPAP I am. If the statistics are correct, someone with apnea is six (6) times as likely to be involved in a traffic accident if the apnea isn't being treated. The statistics for increased chance of stroke or heart attack aren't very comforting, either. From experience I can tell you that without CPAP my thinking was foggy. At times, I couldn't catch on to what someone was asking me to do, even if it was relatively simple.

To further complicate things, a CPAP is basically forcing air into my air passageways. So when a TSO says to put the CPAP in one of those (dirty) bins or hand carries it over to the ETD table, I'm thinking that all that stuff is going to be in my lungs that night. I can (and do, daily) wash my mask and tubing, but I can't wash the inside of that CPAP. Yes, the TSO changes his gloves once he gets to the table, but he has already increased my risk.

And I have worried about what would I do if the CPAP was broken during my travel. I have to have a prescription to obtain one. Even if I carried by prescription with me, how many places have extra machines just lying around for people who need one on a moments notice.

So when I'm line the x-ray line, I'm a little stressed. If I'm on business travel, I've got a company laptop in one bin, my CPAP in another bin, a third bin for shoes, wallet, cell phone (the company makes me carry it), and an iPod (that one is mine). If I decide to carry a camera, I might need a fourth bin. Most times, the TSO says we have to examine the CPAP so would you come with me while we do it. Great, I've got three bins in one place and I need to be in another. I'm a little stressed here, guys. Plus I'm worried what's going to go into my lungs. And I don't much care for traveling. Please don't mistake my stress for anger. The TSO's just doing his job, but it is rough to be polite when you've got this much stress going on.

Some TSO's seem to understand and let me collect my stuff and carry the CPAP over to the ETD. Others seem to want me to abandon my stuff (or worse, my company's stuff) so that he can get his ETD work done and over with. I'll try to be polite (and maybe cheerful) if you guys will try to be polite and cheerful.

Anonymous said...

I have not flown for some time. I am shocked to discover that TSA agents are not changing their gloves between contacts. I would think that this is clearly a violation of local and state health codes.

Anonymous said...

I just got my cpcp machine and you bet I will be asking to change gloves and swabs. Just reading thru this post was a nightmare. Not just about tha tsa people but most posters her trying to quote someone. Why are you quoting everything someone else has said if your just upset about only one sentence? It makes it confusing to see where the quote ends and your comment begins. I do have a flight coming up in a couple of month so with what I have been reading I will have to be at the terminal earlier than what I would normally because my machine wil have to basically double screened.

Anonymous said...

I have just gotten a job recently that involves a lot of traveling and have had the pleasure (or lack thereof) dealing with traveling with my CPAP. Before I go any further a must acknowledge the need for some security as a way of keeping us safe. That being said, firstly, I agree with Anonymous on June 3, 2011 10:46 PM. Traveling with a CPAP is very stressful! The fear of loss and damage and health concerns is a major factor in my travel with my CPAP. Currently i feel that TSA should not be allowed to physically touch my CPAP. This is Medical machine that is expense and hard to obtain if something happens to it. Most people, and note I said most people no generalizations, don’t care about they handle stuff unless they are physically held accountable, which is not the case as the blame would probably go to TSA or not all, or if the item in question is their own personal stuff. So the chance of damage or worse contamination with germs and bacteria is increased. Also to the point the mask is left alone, that is false. The one and only time I took my CPAP through carry-on before I started put in with my check-in bag, and before its said I had no idea I shouldn’t till now from reading this and some other blogs tonight, they removed my mask and proceeded to swab and prod at it. When I got to the hotel I had to do a major cleaning of how dirty they got it. So if you are making us take it out to do your so call “EDT” Search we should not have to ask for a change in gloves and that is the major point. It is not that we are saying that TSA does not use gloves; it’s that we should not have to ask TSA agents to change them. Changing gloves should be automatic after every use. To use the excuses that we are not hold others to the same standard in weak. We need to hold ourselves to a high standard on our own and independent of what other people do!! The food industry is has a very high standard and the fact that a couple of places might not follow is not a green light of every to throw away the rules. By the way, the use of McDonald as an example is very lacking. McDonalds has a separation of duties, you don’t see cashiers making sandwiches they fill drink orders but they don’t make sandwiches. They have separate people toward the back that make them. So if TSA is insistent on checking our CPAP, they need to take care like the food industry or an even better example the medical industry. The medical industry changes gloves after every patient and sterilize all their equipment after every use!!! As CPAP machine is medical the same standard must be used. There cannot be any short cuts on the matter! A consistent standard must be in place and followed for all our safeties!

Anonymous said...

(con't )

Now to the next point is the issue about complaints. It was said earlier that “If you dealt with nothing but complaints and ridicule at your job for 8 hours a day/5 days a week, I bet you wouldn’t be so pleasant either. The people at the airports DO NOT make the rules, so complaining to them about the rules does no good. They cannot change them. Lest, they put their job in jeopardy. “. I will have to agree that the screener’s job is a difficult job. But what customer service job is? Before my current job I worked in retail as a sales associate and lead with manager’s responsibilities so I have dealt with a lot of customer issues. Though screeners job has a little more of a chance of being more volatile, it still a customer service job and customer service must be applied. I agree with what someone else said “If the TSA conducted itself properly, showing passengers dignity, observing the Constitution, etc., I conclude the traveling public would be far kinder”. Getting and attitude and not getting a straight answer when asking a question about the security screening process and the example given “I've been told that if I don't like it, don't fly.” is rude and uncalled for. Do you guys realize if the majority of us stop traveling by plane that the majority of the TSA agents won’t have jobs? In retail that in majority, would not be accepted. Steps and chances would be given to change but if no change is made they would be gone. Retailers now that customers are the life blood of their business so if too many issues come up they may lose money. We deserve respect as your customers as you deserve respect as employees that are just doing their job unconditionally of what someone whether customer or agent does. Again, a customer service standard must be put in place. If you guys would only listen to what is being said you would find it that it would easier for a lot more of us to deal with the inconvenience that is going through screening.

Anonymous said...

Flew through BWI and FLL in the last 7 days, carrier was Southwest. Neither TSA screening point performed an ETD test. I couldn't tell if they noticed the CPAP machine at all.

Inconsistency seems to be the TSA way. I've had screeners insist I'm "doing it wrong." When I ask them how it should be, they make up some variation of the process. In the bag, out of the bag, in its own bin w/o a bag, components separated, etc.

I assume that the last airport I passed through was the most "up to date." When I have pointed out that I am following the procedure that the screeners at another airport required, I have been told that I'm wrong.

Heck, I know I am wrong -- with so many interpretations of the process, how could I ever be right?

Jeremy Spencer said...

"Are there any special considerations if CPAP machines are placed in checked luggage?"

Interesting question!

valorie davenport said...

This is not something that needs to get posted on a blog, I think a simple update on a website would do just fine.

jake simmons said...

Why should anybody have to "request" a swab and glove change? I say, if these medical devices were prescribed by doctors then there should be standard regulations in place so that TSA is obligated to practice cleaner hygiene when handling ones medical equipment.

Foxhunter42 said...

I wonder if you can answer this. I am being required to travel with a battery pack for my CPAP (I'll say for insurance purposes). I recently received the battery pack and it looks like something TSA would prevent me from carrying further if not clearing the entire terminal. What is your experience with CPAP batteries?

Blogger Bob said...

FoxHunter - I'm not aware of any problems with CPAP batteries. Is this going to be in your carry-on bag, or in your checked bag? If you're carrying it on, my suggestion to you would be to run the battery separately through the X-ray in a separate bin or bowl. That way, if it does look suspicious, they'll be able to get a good look at it without all the normal clutter in the bag.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Mark and Cyndy Weiss said...

so if I have this right i just take the batteries out of my case and have them scanned separately? Thats all there is to it?

Jack Hadin said...

Say thanks a ton Bob. I established usind a CPAP machine 6 months ago as well as have taken seven roundtrip flights. The CPAP finished up being taken from the bag for inspection 3 occasions. Does this mean that TSA has a haphazard confirm protocol on CPAP devices or perhaps that TSOs tend to feel not being solid in applying formal TSA policy? Both system, say thanks a ton for permitting you know that we are readily able to interest the TSOs utilize brand new mitts and also swabs. I'll definitely take that chunk of info.

Cost of CPAP

Anonymous said...

As a person with multiple disabilities, my main concern with my CPAP is simply to have enough time to get everything ready: fold up walker, pull out CPAP, pull out computer, take off shoes, and inform TSA of prosthetic knee, and then to regain control of my belongings after xray. I really wish there were a "one passenger at a time" gate before the xray machine. That s the part I dread the most in flying is that intensely chaotic (for me) screening time.

Anonymous said...

While I empathize with frustration concerning inspection protocols for a CPAP, I can also understand why it is necessary. In particular, the CPAP's with a humidifier reservoir could, with slight modification, be used to bring explosive materials on board. Xrays can't ID everything.
My guess is that a plot to do just that was foiled. It did not make the newslike the shoe bomber, but the policy was put in place in response.

Anonymous said...

Concerning placing CPAP (or for that matter, any other personal belongings in bins if you are concerned about contamination. It is as simple as carrying a small supply of clear plastic bags that you can slip around your personal items before you put them in the trays for xray. Just dispose of the bags after screening. I normally use two gallon ziplocs inside my case, one for tubing and one for my mask Those do not need to be removed from the case, just the CPAP machine itself, which I prepack in a clear plastic bag so I do not have so much to juggle at screening. I discard it before repacking my CPAP and keep extras in the case.
Concerning CPAP replacement if damaged in transit. Check with your insurance company and find out which suppliers accept their coverage. In a pinch, for something like a broken mask or hose, you should be able to buy those at most medical supply companies even if not exactly your usual mask. I broke the top half of my mask on the first day of a cross-country family car trip. Duct Tape repairs lasted until I got home and could order a new one. All travellers should carry a small flat spool of duct tape. Wrap a few feet around a piece of cardboard or plastic. Great for a leaky hose, too.

Cameron Motes said...

Hi. "Either way, thank you for letting us know that we can demand the TSOs use new gloves and swabs." We need to begin a fiber movement, if a TSA guy decides to do something different...in the name of freedom...he has the right to.

Bill Stewart said...

I hear a lot of people complaining about security at airports now days but I want to thank you all. It seems to me like you are all trying to make it as easy and painless as possible while keeping us safe. Like your example with cpap machines, sure it has to be looked at but you are making it simple and quick. As long as everyone just follows the rules I have never had a problem with security.

Anonymous said...

Bill Stewart said...
"I hear a lot of people complaining about security at airports now days but I want to thank you all. It seems to me like you are all trying to make it as easy and painless as possible while keeping us safe. Like your example with cpap machines, sure it has to be looked at but you are making it simple and quick. As long as everyone just follows the rules I have never had a problem with security."


I agree Bill. I have just been diagnosed with sleep apnea and I travel a lot. I have been in out of airports weekly for the last three years and for the most part TSA is polite and business like. I have only received a full body pat down once and we were as a nation at Orange when this happened. I am more frustrated with the passengers who did not read the TSA website before coming to the airport and try bringing dipping sauces and large bottles of juice and complain because they have to take off their belt and shoes. They make moving through the line slow and frustrating. Then they wonder why TSA is stressed and running behind when their flight is about to take off. These rules are listed on TSA's website and have been for the past 12 years.


Unknown said...

We have traveled for years with our Cpap machine and I can't imagine why you would need fresh gloves or swabs. I stand beside the guys testing and they don't touch the inside of anything they wipe the outside of the machine. I don't think they've ever messed with the tubing. And if they did I would probably wipe everything with alcohol anyway. As for the distilled water we just stop on the way from the airport at a drugstore or grocery and get a jug I think they are less than a dollar.

Anonymous said...

I'm eligible for PreCheck. When I fly through IAD, they still make me take my CPAP machine out of the bag. When I fly out of SAN they say it is not necessary to do so. Which is correct?

islego said...

Can we not get some consistency on this? Some places do take the CPAP out of the bag, some don't. When I asked a TSA agent why it has to be removed he stated because of the water reservoir on the machine. Mine has no reservoir and it shows clearly that is doesn't on the scan.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I'm eligible for PreCheck. When I fly through IAD, they still make me take my CPAP machine out of the bag. When I fly out of SAN they say it is not necessary to do so. Which is correct?
November 1, 2013 at 4:58 PM

Dear Anonymous: IAD is correct, SAN in incorrect.
Best regards.

Anonymous said...

islego said...
Can we not get some consistency on this? Some places do take the CPAP out of the bag, some don't. When I asked a TSA agent why it has to be removed he stated because of the water reservoir on the machine. Mine has no reservoir and it shows clearly that is doesn't on the scan.
November 15, 2013 at 8:01 AM

Iselego
The reason is not the reservoir it is the overall ability to see through the unit, especially the often dense motor portion. TSA doesn't remove it from your bag, it is a function you are to do automatically upon arriving at the divest tables. Those airports (or individuals rather), that do not require it are in error or do not understand "which" bag it must be removed from. Regretfully the "rules" are written rather formally and as you may be aware many glean what they understand, rather than applying the intended legal description.
Best regards.

Linda Carter said...

I travel with my distilled water all the time when i travel taking my bi-pap machine. i use the aluminum hiking containers and fill it up. The bottle is marked with my name, what it is, and medical use only.

I take it out and put it with the bi-pap and they test the water and close the cap and im good to go. never had an issue of not taking it. in an approved leak proof container, clearly marked and i can use the water during my trip for up to2 weeks.

Anonymous said...

This scrutinized screening for cpaps is stupider than the tsa is in whole. Go pound sand.

Scott, Jamie, Brenna, and Colleen said...

Has anyone here travelled with a CPAP battery? These are like small car batteries and I am wondering how that would be received at the security checkpoint.