Aviation regulations designate CPAP devices as a necessary medical device. They are allowed to be taken as an extra carry on, at no extra cost. Have traveled with my ResMed A10 many times. The travel case that comes with the CPAP or at least the ResMed is very handy. It has a strap on it that slips over the extension handle on most carry on luggage pieces. Most CPAP devices are suitable for 110 or 220 volts. Check the name plate on the power supply. You just need an adapter to plug them into the 220 volt outlets. When you go through the security check you will have to take the CPAP out of the case, and remove the water container and put it in the tray separately. Don't ask me why, that is what they make me do! I have never attempted to use a CPAP on the plane. That would be a little more difficult, but still possible. Some overseas flight depending on the plane and class of seat will have an AC outlet that should be capable of powering a CPAP. You would have to check with your specific airline.
I have! I simply carried it on, along with my "carry-on", so I checked one bag, then onto the airplane I carried a fairly large backpack and my CPAP plus its accessories. I just put the CPAP at my feet and my bag in the overhead. As Sierra said, they will ask you to take out the CPAP from its case when going through security (they wanted me to remove the main part with the screen for whatever reason). I used to live in Germany, so I would like to add that they have different outlets over there! So dont forget your adapters.
Thanks to both of you! My main issue is a flight from Hamburg to Oslo, Norway that says no carry on bags. All checked bags are $50 apiece. Not only do I NOT want to pay $50 for my CPAP but I don't want it thrown in with all the other luggage. In the US you have to have your machine in it's approved bag so I doubt I could put it in my backpack. I'll have to check out the correct adapter for where we will be going.
My understanding is that the flight regulations are international, and they can't refuse medical equipment like a CPAP. It does not count as a carry on. But, check with the airline you are actually flying with. There is no advantage putting your CPAP in a backpack. Keep it separate so it does not count against your carry on and personal item (large purse) that is allowed. From experience I can tell you that the best carry on to use with a CPAP is one that has an extension handle with two bars -- at least with the ResMed travel case. It fits nicely right over the handle and slides down the two bars. The two bars and the velcro strap between them keeps it in place while you wheel it around the airport. My wife tried to use a backpack carry on combo bag that had a single bar extension on the pull out handle. It was a gong show, as the CPAP bag kept spinning around the handle.
I've had similar issues with interstate flights here in Australia because I usually travel with a budget airline Jetstar that has recently changed their policies regarding CPAP machines.
They are probably still subject to the laws that Sierra speaks of but I think that they choose to comply by not charging for CPAP machines that are placed in luggage. They use this new policy to justify weighing and charging for carry on CPAP machines.
It leaves the following options.
1) Pay the extra carry on fee.
2) Put the CPAP in luggage
3) Put normal carry on items in luggage (with additional costs) and carry the CPAP (this airline allows 7kg carry on)
4) Get a doctor to fill in the obtuse documents provided by the airline regarding medical status and CPAP usage.
The airline that I referred to above and in another thread Jetstar Policy refunded the charge that they applied for my CPAP and have since reverted to allowing CPAPs to be carried onto their planes without any charges.