Your next adventure could be a vacation to Europe, a trip to visit friends or family, or even a trip to see a new doctor or specialist. Whatever that adventure may be, if it involves flying, we know that there are certain stresses and pressures that accompany airport travel for those of us living with chronic illness. Navigating TSA checkpoints and airport security with sharps, medications, liquids, and other medical devices bring up a series of questions and concerns for any conscious traveler. Lucky for you, we have your back. Check out our guide to navigating TSA with medications or medical devices to make your next adventure seamless and stress-free!
Bringing Medications Through TSA and Airport Security
When traveling with prescriptions or supplements, you should be prepared to experience extra TSA security screening at the airport. We recommend labeling everything with the original prescription labels so that TSA security officers are able to easily identify your pills, liquid prescriptions, or other medicines.
If you need to keep your medication cool or refrigerated, you are permitted to bring a partially frozen ice pack through security! Just remember that all items, including supplies associated with medically necessary liquids such as IV bags, pumps, and syringes must be screened before they will be permitted into the secure area of the airport.
We recommend labeling as much as you can, and taking the medications, syringes and liquids out of your bag before security screening.
Wheelchairs & Other Physical Assistance
Even if you do not use a wheelchair in your day to day life, if getting some extra assistance navigating through the airport is needed for you and your body – reach out and ask for help! TSA recommends making note of this need ahead of time on your flight reservation so that they can best support you through the security and boarding process.
If you are in your wheelchair as you make your way through security screen checkpoints you do not need to get out of your wheelchair during your screening, instead you will receive screening by way of a pat-down.
If you have any access-related problems as you make your way through the airport, ask to speak to the Complaints Resolution Official (CRO). These airline employees are specifically trained in the ACAA and will be able to advocate for you to resolve any accessibility based issues on the spot!
Portable Infusion Pumps, Sleeves, PICC Lines and other External Medical Devices.
TSA states that “if you have an external medical device, such as a port or feeding tube, let the security officer know about it when you reach the checkpoint. They will work with you to screen you appropriately, and to apply additional screening to the device itself while getting you through the checkpoint and headed toward your flight as quickly as possible.”
The TSA Notification Card
Even arming yourself with as much information as you can to make your trip through the airport as easy and stress free as possible, it can sometimes be helpful to have a person or information card to do some of the talking for you.
TSA has released a notification card for people with disabilities and medical conditions that you can bring with you as you navigate the airport. The card reads…
“I have the following health condition, disability or medical device that may affect my screening:
I understand that alternate procedures providing an equivalent level of security screening are available and can be done in private. I also understand that presenting this card does not exempt me from screening.”
Including relevant information on this card can help get you and screening officers on the same page, limiting the conversations that may be stressful and fatiguing to you! You can also use this card to share information with a TSA officer about your needs in a discrete manner. Head to the TSA website to print out your card!
Any Further Questions
TSA’s toll free helpline, called TSA Cares, enables travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and medical conditions to call 1-855-787-2227 with any questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint 72 hours prior to traveling.
Armed with the resources and information you need – adventure is not out of your reach!
What are your tips and tricks for making your way through the airport with an illness? Share them in our Friends in the Fight Facebook Group to help others tackle their next adventure.
All information sourced from TSA.gov