Feds to allow new oxygen breathing machines on airplanes

The Federal Aviation Administration is expanding a rule that allows travelers who have medically diagnosed breathing problems to bring their oxygen machines on board airplanes.

The FAA plans to add three new portable oxygen concentrator devices to a list of approved breathing machines that travelers can use while flying, the agency will announce in Monday's Federal Register.

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The new devices that are being added to the list include two devices from SeQual Technologies -- the eQuinox and Oxywell -- and VBOX Inc.'s Trooper.

"Passengers will be able to carry these devices on board the aircraft and use them with the approval of the aircraft operator," the agency wrote. 

Airlines are not required to let travelers use these breathing machines on board, but the FAA is encouraging them to do so.

The FAA began looking into breathing machines on board aircraft in 2004, and published the initial rule allowing certain approved devices the next year. It has been adding to the list ever since.

"Before the publication of (the rule), passengers in need of medical oxygen during air transportation faced many obstacles when requesting service," the agency wrote. "Many aircraft operators did not provide medical oxygen service aboard flights, and those that did often provided service at a price that travelers could not afford."

This is the first time the FAA has added to the list of approved oxygen concentrator devices since seven were added in October 2012, according an agency spokesman. The list has grown to a total of 24 breathing machines that passengers can use on board.

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