Friday, September 5, 2014

TSA Travel Tips - Traveling With Medication

Medicine in pill organizer.
One of the more popular questions we get from travelers is: “Can I travel with my medication.” The answer is yes, with some qualifiers. Here are a few tips that you might find helpful.

  • It is not necessary to present your medication to, or notify an officer about any medication you are traveling with unless it is in liquid form (See next bullet).
  • Medication in liquid form is allowed in carry-on bags in excess of 3.4 ounces in reasonable quantities for the flight. It is not necessary to place medically required liquids in a zip-top bag. However, you must tell the officer that you have medically necessary liquids at the start of the screening checkpoint process. Medically required liquids will be subjected to additional screening that could include being asked to open the container.
  • You can bring your medication in pill or solid form in unlimited amounts as long as it is screened.
  • You can travel with your medication in both carry-on and checked baggage. It’s highly recommended you place these items in your carry-on in the event that you need immediate access.
  • TSA does not require passengers to have medications in prescription bottles, but states have individual laws regarding the labeling of prescription medication with which passengers need to comply.
  • Medication is usually screened by X-ray; however, if a passenger does not want a medication X-rayed, he or she may ask for an inspection instead. This request must be made before any items are sent through the X-ray tunnel.
  • Nitroglycerin tablets and spray (used to treat episodes of angina in people who have coronary artery disease) are permitted and have never been prohibited.
For more information, you can contact: 

TSA Contact Center  The TSA Contact Center is here to help travelers prepare for upcoming flight. Whatever your question about traveling through TSA security, whether at the checkpoint or for checked baggage, we will get you an answer. The hours are Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 11 p.m., Eastern Time; weekends and federal holidays, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., Eastern time. The TCC can be reached at 866-289-9673. Passengers can also reach out to the TSA Contact Center (TCC) with questions about TSA procedures, upcoming travel or to provide feedback or voice concerns.   

TSACares Help Line - TSA Cares is a help line to assist travelers with disabilities and medical conditions. TSA recommends that passengers call 72 hours ahead of travel for information about what to expect during screening. Travelers may call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint. TSA Cares will serve as an additional, dedicated resource specifically for passengers with disabilities, medical conditions or other circumstances or their loved ones who want to prepare for the screening process prior to flying.  Travelers may also request a Passenger Support Specialist ahead of time by calling the TSA Cares hotline at 1-855-787-2227. The hours of operation for the TSA Cares help line are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. Eastern Time and weekends and Holidays 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Eastern Time. Travelers who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to contact TSA Cares or can e-mail TSA-ContactCenter@tsa.dhs.gov.

See you next week with more travel tips!  

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Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team 

If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

I had colon cancer surgery last year, and now require a pouch for the rest of my life. As there is something "liquidy" in the pouch, what do I need to do to prevent a "messy" situation (sorry...bad joke) from happening?

Anonymous said...

So it only took, what, MONTHS of questions for you people to finally be bothered to make what should have been a simple policy statement. Great! How many more months do we need to ask about the false positive rates on the naked body scanners before you even acknowledge the question is being asked?

RB said...

Why doesn't the TSA "Can I Bring My" tool acknowledge affirmatively that Medical Nitroglycerin medicines are allowed? Currently if a query is made for Nitroglycerin Pills it talks about LGA's and never states that these pills are permitted.

Would it really be that hard for someone at TSA to add a simple line of "Yes Nitro Pills are Allowed"?

And what is a traveler to do when TSA employees haven't been trained properly?

What immediate recourse is available to resolve an issue if airport TSA staff maintain something isn't allowed even when it clearly is?

If we point to this post the outcome will be something along the lines that the TSA Blog is out of date, we do it differently here, or some other flimsy excuse.

There should be a hotline for travelers to use that goes straight to HQ answered by a person who has the authority to override and document any such situation for any instance of when a traveler believes their rights are being abused.

Case in point, Stacey Amato was illegally held hostage by TSA employees including an individual wearing a suit (TSM?) and no one was available to advocate for her rights.

A poster at FlyerTalk reported that their medical nitroglycerin pills were confiscated and no amount of protesting with the checkpoint workers up to what appears to have been a TSM reversed that decision.

Situation likes these demand that TSA create Traveler Advocate positions that are available to respond to such issues.

What we know now is that TSA employees will do anything including violating the law to abuse travelers.

This issue is not closed!

Susan Richart said...

Why not be honest with your reading public, Bob?

It was the FDA article, https://grabien.com/story.php?id=13318, as well as the persistent requests both here and on FlyerTalk for a clear statement relating to nitroglycerin pills that prompted this thread.

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Anonymous said...

Those of us who work for the airlines are asked this question frequently. Thank you for the concise information.

Marsha x3 said...

Thank-you, blotter team.

I hope all screeners are informed that the policies you state here are the current policies.

I hope all screeners are informed that they are not allowed to confiscate any medication that meets the policies you state here.

I hope all screeners actually follow the policies you state here.

Anonymous said...

Except when prohibited by the TSA clerk as has been shown. Perhaps a day late and a dollar short, or were you shamed into making this post? How long before we here that a clerk would not allow this medication thru the checkpoint?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the "traveling with medication" information. It verified what I thought was the rule. Keep on blogging!168

SSSS for Some Reason said...

"....Nitroglycerin tablets and spray (used to treat episodes of angina in people who have coronary artery disease) are permitted and have never been prohibited."

Except when they were prohibited.

You can post all this stuff on the internet all you like, it doesn't mean squat when your screeners at the gate are given a set of SSI Instructions and the authority to 'make the call.' And it means even less when your agents, when challenged, still say 'do you want to fly today?'

Thank you for including that last bullet item, it is nice to see at least some questions get answered around here. Maybe next time you could try and explain how 21 ounces of liquids are safe when doled out into three ounce bottles but sixteen ounces is bad when in only one bottle. Or as you like to call it, the 3-1-1 rule.

Mike Toreno said...

Clerk Bob, what happens if a TSA clerk refuses to allow nitroglycerin pills? Is he fired? Has a TSA clerk ever been fired for laziness or incompetence?

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "I had colon cancer surgery last year, and now require a pouch for the rest of my life. As there is something "liquidy" in the pouch, what do I need to do to prevent a "messy" situation (sorry...bad joke) from happening?"

We see passengers with a huge variety of medical conditions every day. In your particular case the page for travel would be found here.

Anon sez - "Those of us who work for the airlines are asked this question frequently. Thank you for the concise information."

You are welcome, glad we could help.

Marsha sez - "Thank-you, blotter team."

You are welcome, I share in your wishes that none of our passengers have problems withcarrying their mmedications with them.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

I continue to wait for some justification for active duty military being included in pre-check, but not retired military or holders of current DoD or LE background investigations. military retirees have at least 20 years documented service to this Nation, pretty much proving their lack of risk. both DoD and LE background investigations should reveal any risk factors. active duty military do not, necessarily, have a background check or any significant length of service. neither citizenship nor a background investigation is required to enlist in the military, in fact there are likely illegal immigrants serving. if it is really about safety, then why are potentially unscreened non-citizens allowed through? sounds like it is just pandering to an admirable group to get PR, not adjusting the rules to ease screening on those who present a lower likelihood of threat.
Let me be clear: pre-911 screening should be the norm. it is all that is required, now that cockpit doors have been reinforced and locked, and flight crews and passengers know that the rules have changed and passivity=death. however, if we are going to continue this massive waste of tax dollars on security theatre, at least have _some_ of the rules make sense.

Anonymous said...

West, why does TSA use a screening protocol that has never found a dangerous object, but has left multiple people covered with the contents of their urostomy bags?

@skywaymanaz said...

"Nitroglycerin tablets and spray (used to treat episodes of angina in people who have coronary artery disease) are permitted and have never been prohibited."

If I didn't know better I'd think the posters here were jerks who week in and week out for months kept pestering you guys about the status of nitro pills . . . If I didn't know any better. Unfortunately I do know better. The issue would have been ignored if posters hadn't refused to let it go. The above quote seems like a very easy simple definitive answer. So no one running this blog was able to say earlier nitro pills are not banned without wiggly legalese letting the untrained off the hook? More like no one was willing to and kept passing the buck up the chain. Bob and West I'm sure you guys know there are many legitimate complaints like this and wish you could say more. It's just so obvious at times it is beyond painful seeing the CYA built into your statements. And TSA wonders why the public has such little trust in it. Anyhoo if nitro (and nail clippers) were never banned how should a passenger correctly challenge the screener? Will you only bother to respond to that concern several months later if I keep beating a dead horse?

Anonymous said...

Regarding the TSA policy, "Medication in liquid form is allowed in carry-on bags in excess of 3.4 ounces in reasonable quantities for the flight" is extremely unreasonable and hazardous to the passenger. If a passenger has more than the 3.4 oz limitation in liquid medication needed for his/her journey away from home and can only carry a limited amount on board the aircraft, what happens when the airline mis-sorts the passenger's checked baggage and his/her vital medication is either lost or substantially delayed? Additionally, while passengers have the option of purchasing toiletries at their destination and thus preclude ridiculous carrier charges for checked baggage, passengers carrying liquid medications do not have such an option without incurring substantial cost and difficulty in obtaining a prescription refill while away from home. TSA has the ability to test such medications, so the existing policy imposes an unreasonable burden and potential harm to the passenger.

Susan Richart said...

The "Can I Bring...." query for nitroglycerin pills STILL brings the "liquids, gels and aerosols" response?

Why can't the TSA get the app fixed in a timely manner?

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Alex said...

Okay, so what I don't understand is this: it's recommended (and smart) to keep your medication on you in your carry on luggage, yet liquid medication is only allowed in "reasonable amounts for the flight"? I am not going to leave expensive and necessary medication open to thieves, damage, or loss in my checked luggage, and I am ALSO not letting TSA personnel play "doctor" and get to decide just how much of my medication I'm allowed to bring on board with me. Ridiculous.

GSOLTSO said...

Skywayman sez - "Anyhoo if nitro (and nail clippers) were never banned how should a passenger correctly challenge the screener?"

The process built into the system to challenge a decision made by a TSO, is as follows:

1. Ask for an STSO, explain to them what is going on, and why you think the TSO is making the incorrect decision.

2. If you disagree with the STSOs decision, you can request to speak to the TSM - there is not always a TSM on location at some airports, so the mileage for this option may vary from airport to airport.

3. The next option is to contact Talk To TSA, found here on TSA.gov.

That is the basic process that is in place for disputing a TSO decision. I hope that this helped you.

West
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

re: WestTSA Blog TeamSeptember 14, 2014 at 8:21 AM
__________________________________

I agree that TSA has signage for LGA's at the checkpoints but also seem to recall similar signage for weapons. Isn't this the case?

I think the bigger question is why has TSA been so unsuccessful in getting the message out that weapons are prohibited in carry on bags?

I can't see this as anything but a major failure by TSA.

Youssef said...

Thanks Bob!
I've always had this question in my mind. The mother of my girlfriend need to know this to visit us without excuses.

Holly Pywell said...

Total staffs we may take with us:

*Water Food
*Medications
*Tools and Supplies (utility knife, duct tape, battery powered radio, etc.)
*Sanitation and Hygiene
*Clothing and Bedding
*Important documents (copies of your driver’s license, passport, *and birth certificate to name a few)
*First Aid supplies
*A lightweight backpack with a backpacking tent

Anonymous said...

I have a prescription for opioid pain medication in an odd dosage which requires me to break the pills. TSA took approximately 7 days worth of very expensive medication because it "could not be identified" even though the broken pieces were clearly the same as the rest of the pills in the bottle. Drs will not replace medication like this. I have to travel almost monthly now for work and this has happened twice in two months. What is the policy regarding narcotic pain medication and how can I travel with it without risking losing my medicine?

Republican Dad said...

My albuterol inhaler, in its box, with my prescription name and information on it right from Walmart was confiscated at FWA. I showed them on my phone the TSA website that said I could bring it on and they said we do not allow it here.

Greg Clancy said...

What do I do with the Albuterol inhaler for my down's syndrome son? Another passenger's Albuterol was confiscated even though that the TSA website said it allowed it.?

Greg Clancy said...

How can I get a nebulizer pre-approved through TSA? It is used by my down syndrome child. One commenter said that TSA does not always let them go through.

GSOLTSO said...

Republican Dad sez - "My albuterol inhaler, in its box, with my prescription name and information on it right from Walmart was confiscated at FWA. I showed them on my phone the TSA website that said I could bring it on and they said we do not allow it here."

Greg Clancy sez - "What do I do with the Albuterol inhaler for my down's syndrome son? Another passenger's Albuterol was confiscated even though that the TSA website said it allowed it.?"

As well as "How can I get a nebulizer pre-approved through TSA? It is used by my down syndrome child. One commenter said that TSA does not always let them go through."

Everything that I can find on inhalers indicates they are allowed, every bit of training I have had has indicated that inhalers (albuterol or other prescription inhalers) are allowed with a check to make certain they contain no possible threat items. The next time you fly, please contact TSA Cares a couple of days prior to flying. This will allow you to work directly with someone to arrange for assistance at the individual airport you are flying through. We have had many folks that have physical challenges (permanent and temporary), cognitive challenges, and many other situations that work better with some preplanning. The contact info for TSA Cares is 1 (855) 787-2227, Monday through Friday 8 A.M to 11 P.M. (EST), and weekends and holidays 9 A.M. to 8 P.M. I am sorry you have had challenges, and I am sorry that I missed commenting on these earlier. Hopefully your next time through will be a better experience for you.

West
TSA Blog Team

Unknown said...

Is prescription Axiron allowed in carry on luggage? It is in a pump bottle bigger than allowed for liquids.

Anonymous said...

I take a few meds and put in a weekly planner 2 of which are controlled. Can I place in planner or should they be in prescription Bottles

Anonymous said...

I am diabetic and take insulin. My insulin is in "pen" form which requires me to only attached a small needle to administer the dose. How can I take the insulin pens and the needles. My trip will be for 4 weeks so I will need to take enough medicine and pens for a month.