Oxygen for Rental for Father
November 10, 2012 6:57 PM   Subscribe

My 72 year old dad just was prescribed oxygen. He has portable units and then an electric machine for home use. He is supposed to fly from Dallas to Phoenix to visit me for Thanksgiving. I saw the Southwest regulations for his portable, but should I rent him a home machine or can he check his? Are they heavy? Are they expensive to rent?
posted by bkf to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
Best answer: Are you saying that he has a portable oxygen concentrator or just some small portable tanks?

If he just has tanks I would say rent a full-sized oxygen concentrator so that he won't have to worry about running out. You can kind of see from the pictures in that Wikipedia article that a full-sized one is about the size of a large trash can. The ones I've seen are fairly heavy and a hand truck with some rope is useful for transporting them and moving them up and down stairs.

Even if he has a portable oxygen concentrator, when I've visited relatives in nursing homes even though the home had portable concentrators for things like short trips outside they kept the residents plugged into the main lines in the wall most of the time. So I don't know how reliable they are long-term. It might be a good idea to have a back-up, anyways.

My relatives have always had insurance to pay for the machine rental and tanks but what I've heard is that if you have to pay for it on your own you need to negotiate hard, otherwise they'll try to soak you for whatever the maximum "retail price" they can get from you is. (Which is much higher than what is charged to insurance companies that are buying in bulk for many people at the same time.)

Also, don't forget to be careful about open flames and candles and all that if you normally do the dining table up all fancy for Thanksgiving dinner.
posted by XMLicious at 7:21 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you, that really helps. He has an o2 concentrator for home and the portables for traveling. I was going to try to rent him a concentrator for our house. His VA benefits and Medicare pay for his so maybe they'd pay for the week rental. I'll call around Monday. Thanks!
posted by bkf at 8:09 PM on November 10, 2012

If his O2 provider is part of one of the larger national chains like Rotech, Lincare or Apria, they most likely have a travel program that can help you out. When you start making calls, I'd start with his home provider.
posted by ThatSomething at 8:40 PM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Glad to help. ThatSomething has a good point there too. BTW in the Wikipedia article at the top it links to this FAA notice about bringing portable oxygen concentrators on planes.
posted by XMLicious at 9:50 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, another thing occurred to me - if you're going to rent a full-sized concentrator for him you may want to ask him to bring his tubing from the one at home along in his luggage. I don't know how much of a markup they'd charge to supply tubing along with the machine.
posted by XMLicious at 9:54 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm traveling and will have a compressor waiting for me at the hotel, compliments of the company that handles it at home. The rep said, "Everyone hates big companies but this is one situation where it has its benefits." He told me they've even delivered them to outposts in Alaska. There is no charge for the service.
posted by Mertonian at 1:58 AM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

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