As the world opens back up and we start traveling again, it is important to know how to fly with feeding tubes, medications, and other medical supplies related to your GI disorder. Although it can be challenging, with proper preparation, navigating the TSA checkpoints can be easy and less stressful.
Preparing for your travel:
You can do a few things to minimize distress before traveling and arriving at your airline. TSA offers a list of things you can do to make you feel as comfortable as possible during this process.
- At least one month prior to your flight, it is important to discuss your travel plans with your healthcare provider. Have them write a letter that explains your’s or your child’s medical condition.
- You can visit the Oley Foundation for a sample letter
- Prepare a detailed list of medical equipment and supplies you will be bringing on your trip. (This can be included in the letter from your healthcare provider).
- Call the airline and ask TSA if you can get an advocate to help you through security. They can have someone meet you at curbside to assist you through the entire process.
- Fill out a TSA Notification card with your condition and print it out to present at your checkpoint.
- Check the state laws regarding labeling prescription medications.
For more information on traveling with a feeding tube, visit the Feeding Tube Awareness website.
Medical Supplies and Medication Screening:
- The TSA allows larger amounts of nutrition and medications in reasonable quantities. This means you are exempt from the 3-1-1 Liquids rule.
- Inform the TSA that you have medically necessary liquids and/or medications and separate them from your other belongings before screening takes place.
- You are responsible for displaying and handling your nutrition and medications during the screening process.
- Medications can go through a visual or x-ray screening to test for traces of explosives.
- Inform TSA if you do not want the nutrition and/or juice to be X-rayed or opened. Additional steps will be taken to clear the liquid.
- You may experience additional screening including a pat-down and inspection of your carry-ons.
- If you don’t feel like your TSA agent understands your medical situation or supplies, kindly stop them and ask them to really listen to your concerns to make sure you maintain comfort during this process.
For more information or advice on traveling, you can visit the TSA website or call TSA Cares at (855) 787-2227 before arrival.
Resources for this article:
The Oley Foundation
Feeding Tube Awareness
Check out other talks from our 2021 Virtual Advocacy Day