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The Transportation Security Administration has Specific Guidelines for Carrying Medications and Medical Equipment while Flying

June 7, 2006

Medication

  • When flying, medication and related supplies are normally x-rayed.  However, as a customer service, Transportation Safety Agency (TSA) allows you the option of requesting a visual inspection of your medication and associated supplies.
  • You must request a visual inspection before the screening process begins; otherwise your medications and supplies will undergo x-ray inspection.
  • If you would like to take advantage of this option, please have your medication and associated supplies separated from your other property in a separate pouch/bag when you approach the Transportation Safety Officer (TSO) at the walk-through metal detector.  Request the visual inspection and hand your medication pouch/bag to the TSO.
  • In order to prevent contamination or damage to medication and associated supplies and/or fragile medical materials, you will be asked at the security checkpoint to display, handle, and repack your own medication and associated supplies during the visual inspection process.
  • Any medication and/or associated supplies that cannot be cleared visually must be submitted for x-ray screening.  If you refuse, you will not be permitted to carry your medications and related supplies into the sterile/secure area.
  •  At the security checkpoint to display, handle, and repack your own medication and associated supplies during the visual inspection process.
  • Any medication and/or associated supplies that cannot be cleared visually must be submitted for x-ray screening.  If you refuse, you will not be permitted to carry your medications and related supplies into the sterile/secure area.

Traveling with Oxygen and Respiratory-Related Equipment

  • Supplemental personal medical oxygen and other respiratory-related equipment and devices (e.g. nebulizer, ventilators, and/or CPAP machines) are permitted through the screening checkpoint once they have undergone screening.
  • Any respiratory equipment that cannot be cleared during the inspection process will not be permitted into the secure side of the airport.
  • Oxygen users connected to oxygen are to inform the TSO if your oxygen supply or other respiratory-related equipment cannot be safely disconnected.
  • Only you can disconnect yourself to allow for your oxygen canister/system to be x-rayed.
  • Prior to coming to the airport check with your Doctor to ensure disconnection can be done safely.
  • If your Doctor has indicated that you cannot be disconnected or if you are concerned, ask the TSO for an alternate inspection process while you remain connected to your oxygen source.
  • Oxygen equipment will either undergo x-ray screening or physical inspection, and explosive trace detection (ETD) screening.
  • Oxygen suppliers or persons helping to carrying oxygen may accompany you to the gate or meet you at the gate once they have obtained a valid gate pass from the appropriate aircraft operator.
  • Oxygen being carried by the supplier or person will either undergo x-ray screening and explosive trace detection (ETD) screening.
  • Oxygen being carried by the supplier or person will either undergo x-ray screening and explosive trace detection (ETD) screening.

Arranging for Supplemental Oxygen When You Make Your Reservation

  • On August 11, 2006 the Federal Aviation Administration finalized their ruling on allowing pre-approved (by each individual Airline Company) portable oxygen concentrators aboard commercial flights. The two “allowed’ portable oxygen concentrator devices are the Inogen One and AirSep Lifestyle. However, this ruling does not “require” airlines to permit passengers to use the portable oxygen concentrators aboard commercial flights. Additionally, neither the Air Carrier Access Act nor   the Americans with Disabilities Act require airlines to provide oxygen service.  Consequently, airline policies, procedures and services on accommodating passengers who use supplemental oxygen vary widely. **Check with your airline concerning their policy on traveling with oxygen.
  • Notify the carrier when you make your reservation that you will need to use supplemental oxygen aboard the aircraft(s). Specifically ask whether: 1) the airline provides oxygen service, 2) it is available on the flights you wish to take,  3) must you provide a doctor's letter, or permit them to contact your doctor directly to verify your medical need, and 4) If they allow portable concentrators are there appropriate power outlets available to maintain battery power.
  • Keep in mind that not all airlines offer supplemental oxygen service, or may not offer it aboard all their aircraft.  

Arranging for Supplemental Oxygen during Layovers or at Your Destination

  • Notify the carrier(s) you are traveling with that you will need oxygen at the airport(s).  Let them know that your supplier (a specific name of person who is delivering is often needed to allow the supplier to enter the ‘secure’ side of the airport) will be meeting you at the gate with an oxygen tank.
  • Contact your local oxygen supplier and request that they help you to make arrangements for your oxygen at the city or cities you will be visiting. You will need to provide them with the depature and return dates, the airline(s), flight number(s), and the equipment you will need.  Make all these arrangements as soon as possible.  
  • Have a local phone number and a contact person in the event of any unforeseen situation(s), such as if their representative is not at the arrival gate when you get there.

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© 2017 American Association for Respiratory Care