Why Does the TSA Search My CPAP Machine?

Travelling is a beautiful past time, and many Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) patients who experience Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) naturally love to travel. That being said, patients are often surprised when they have to remove their CPAP machine while passing through the Transit Security Authority checkpoints at all major airports. The logic is that since the CPAP machine has moving electronic parts, an individual could reasonably hide a weapon or explosive inside without detection similar to a laptop. As a result, hundreds of thousands of CPAP using travelers have had the displeasure of removing their machine during the security process.


To Check or Not to Check?

The obvious choice then, is to simply check your luggage with your CPAP machine and mask so that you can quickly bypass the TSA line. Not so fast. According to Travel & Leisure Magazine, nearly 1.8 million pieces of checked luggage were lost in 2012. That’s a staggering number, and you could run the risk of losing the luggage that holds your CPAP equipment. Imagine your Hawaiian vacation encumbered with the effects of Obstructive Sleep Apnea – not so fun, right?


Then What Can I Do?

Sadly, you just have to play the game and work through the hassle. One tip is to carry your doctor’s prescription in your CPAP travel bag. This document serves as a type of insurance in the event that the TSA agents question you about your Sleep Apnea and your affiliation with the CPAP machine. You can display your document and add legitimacy in the event of an issue, so you can continue passing through security and onto the flight uninterrupted. After all, Maui is waiting.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource, but hopefully you now have a better understanding of how to accommodate the TSA security process. If you have a vacation home or cottage, consider purchasing a second CPAP machine to leave there so you can further cut down on the waiting time.