Baggage Tips: Flying with Medical Equipment, Medications
and Medical Necessities

Passengers will be required to go through security checks prior to boarding an airplane. When a passenger has a medical device, this may mean jumping through hoops to ensure that their device or equipment is allowed on-board.

There are a few tips that can help make the problem easier on the passenger and airline.

Waiver Letters with a Specific Airline
Some airlines, such as Ryanair, have a waiver letter policy that makes it easy to travel with medical equipment or supplies. The airline (and most follow similar protocol) asks that anyone with pre-existing medical conditions who want to enter the plane with medical equipment or supplies contact their special assistance hotline first.

Doctors can supply you with a medical equipment baggage waiver. The waiver allows specified items on the plane and charges to be adjusted, which may be free.

Items that are specified in the waiver letter can be inspected much more easily if they are all kept in a separate bag. This will allow you to quickly pass through inspection and is often recommended by the airline.

CPAP Machines are Allowed
TSA rules allow passengers to bring CPAP machines on board as long as you meet a few recommended rules: valid documentation from your doctor must be provided and machines should be taken through security.

CPAP machines are allowed on board, and the machine will not count as a carry-on item. The Americans with Disabilities Act allows medical items to not be considered a carry-on. Medical equipment tags can help identify your machine faster and allow you to avoid concerns from TSA agents and flight attendants.

Breast pumps are also allowed on board, as per the TSA's rules.

Avoiding Embarrassing Removals and Complications
Doctor waivers, notes and a long talk with the TSA or airline prior to your flight will help you alleviate many of the embarrassing and/or frustrating rejections of medical devices. Incontinence, an issue plaguing many elderly people, is one of the hot topics for which the TSA has been scrutinized.

In 2011, the TSA required a 95-year-old woman to remove her adult diapers.

Passengers can also opt to: go through x-ray machines to avoid pat downs and remove the diaper before the pat down and put it on afterward.

You can carry the diapers on via a carry-on bag, too. Searches will occur when you are not being scanned under a scanner, so keep this in mind.

If you have medication that must be taken on the plane, they must be: properly labeled and brought on with a doctor's letter.

Medication is subject to additional screening. Liquids and injectable medication will fall under the 3.4 ounce limitation rule, so keep this in mind when boarding. A doctor's letter can help alleviate many of the questions and concerns from security personnel.

Diabetic equipment can be brought on the plane, but insulin must be clearly labeled and in the original pharmacy label. Pumps should be brought through in a private screening.

Pre-approved oxygen and respiratory equipment is only allowed in accordance to the FAA's regulations.

If you have casts or crutches, you'll be asked to go through the x-ray machine. Wheelchairs will be screened, and special screening is available on request.

Related resources
Risks from deep vein thrombosis
In-flight medical emergencies

Baggage Tips: Flying with Medical Equipment, Medications and Medical Necessities -- 18 June 2017