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How to carry prescription medicine on airplane flights

Updated July 20, 2017

With the new, post-9/11 security restrictions, it can be hard to determine what you are allowed to carry on-board an aeroplane, and the last thing you want is a delay because of a non-permitted item in your carry-on. Luckily, it is allowable to carry on most prescription medication on aeroplane flights, but it is wise to familiarise yourself with the process before you fly.

Make a personal inventory of all your medications and medical items.

Decide what items you will need in the first few days of your trip. If you are travelling somewhere with pharmacy access, you can always replace a prescription that you don't use very often if your luggage is lost. But, you don't want to check anything you will need to take right away. Plan to carry on anything you need for the first couple days so that the pharmacy has ample time to order replacement medications if necessary. If you will not have access to a pharmacy, carry on all prescription medications.

Pack all liquids in 88.7ml. or smaller bottles if possible. Place all bottles in a 1-quart zip-top, clear plastic bag. Pack all liquids larger than 85.1gr. and other medications or medical items in a small bag that fits in your carry-on bag.

Label any medications that do not have labels to prevent delay at the security checkpoint.

Place the large plastic bag with 85.1gr. bottled liquids in a security bucket by themselves in plain view of the security officer.

Declare any liquid medication that you were unable to contain in 85.1gr. or less. Pull the small bag with the larger liquids or other medical items from your carry-on, and tell the security officer that you have medications you need to declare. This should include liquid medications, medical items like prosthetic breasts or bras containing gel, inhalers, eye drops, blood products and products used to cool any of the above.

Hand the bag to the airport security officer. You can ask to have them examined by hand instead of being sent through the x-ray machine; however, if they cannot get a clear view of them during physical examination, they have the right to send them through the x-ray or deny you access to the airport gates.

Things You'll Need

  • Prescriptions
  • 85.1gr. clear plastic bottles
  • labels
  • 1-quart zip-top, clear plastic bag
  • Small bag
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About the Author

Carrie Simmons has been writing in the travel industry for more than 10 years. She is the creator, producer and primary writer of Travel With Kids, an award-winning family travel documentary series. Her articles have also appeared in “USA Travel Magazine,” “Yuma Daily Sun” and “Travel Savvy Mom.”