Essential medical equipment that you may need to use during your journey, including hypodermic syringes & needles, can be carried in your hand baggage. These items may need to be checked separately at the airport security.
You should only carry the equipment you will need during the journey in your hand baggage. The extra supplies that you will need during your time away from home should normally be carried in your hold baggage. Before your trip you will need to:
- Contact the airline to make sure that they know that you will be carrying the medical supplies & equipment.
- It is also advisable to check if the airport you are flying from has any additional requirements. There is often advice about this on the airport website. Don’t forget to check the requirements for the airport you will be returning from and any other airports you will be stopping at during your journey.
- Take supporting information such as a letter from your doctor or your prescription with you. You may need to show this to the security staff at the airport.
Electrically Powered Medical Equipment
You are allowed to take medical equipment on board an aircraft if it is essential for your journey.
Before your trip you will need to contact the airline to make sure that they know that you will be carrying the medical equipment & to check if they have any extra requirements.
There is often advice about this on the airport website. Don’t forget to check the requirements for the airport you will be returning from and any other airports you will be stopping at during your journey.
Take supporting information such as a letter from your doctor or your prescription with you. You may need to show this to the security staff at the airport. The equipment will usually be passed through the X-ray security scanner in a separate tray.
Most airlines do not provide an aircraft electrical supply for passenger medical equipment, therefore your equipment will have to be battery-powered if you wish to be able to use it during flight.
All batteries, including any spare batteries, must meet the airline requirements for carriage, whether carried as hand baggage or in your hold baggage.
- Please note, spare lithium batteries must be carried in the cabin. They are not permitted in hold baggage. Even where an electrical supply is available on the aircraft, it will not be guaranteed to be available throughout the flight and you should carry back-up in the form of batteries if necessary.
The usual requirements for passenger electronic equipment apply during flight & you will not normally be allowed to use the equipment during take-off and landing. Some devices have been tested and approved for use throughout flight but you must contact the airline well before the date of travel, to make sure that they know that you will be carrying the medical equipment and to check if they have any additional requirements.
Further information may be found on:
The international requirements do permit passengers to carry small oxygen or air cylinders for medical use, but only with the prior agreement of the airline.
Some airlines do allow passengers to carry their own cylinders or will supply (usually for a fee) special cylinders for passengers, whilst other operators do not. Additionally, where an airline does agree to carry a cylinder, there is no definition of the term “small”, but our guidance is that the cylinder must be small enough to fit under the passenger’s seat (if the cylinder is being used during the flight) or the overhead bin.
The British Lung Foundation provides advice and tips about flying, including travelling by plane with oxygen, and includes the contact details of a number of UK airports.
It is advised to check with the airline prior to buying the ticket, and where airlines agree to carry the cylinder, that agreement is obtained in writing to avoid any confusion when checking in for the flight.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machine
It is essential to check with your airline prior to booking your flight regarding taking your CPAP machine on board. In addition, it would be wise to check whether the airline will require a letter verifying its necessity from your General Practitioner.
There is no guarantee of a power source for your equipment on board the aircraft and therefore your airline may suggest that you use a dry-cell battery operated device.