warning icon

This website uses the latest web technologies so it requires an up-to-date, fast browser!
Please try Firefox or Chrome!

prescription drugs on flightsCarrying prescription medications during air travel has some restrictions that many fliers may not be aware of. Not complying with the regulations, especially when it comes to carrying prescription drugs that are controlled substances, can land you in trouble. A number of precautions can be taken even before taking the flight. Whether you are flying international or even within the same country, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checks are inevitable and you would want to be prepared in advance. Air travel restrictions on carrying certain prescription drugs are intended for the safety of every person on board and it is recommended that one follow the TSA guidelines.

How to carry your prescription medications during flight travel

A quick guide to carrying medications when flying is given below. You can always refer the TSA website for the latest updates just before taking your flight.

  • Carry extra medication with you if you are expected to be away from home for a very long time and would not have access for quick refills.
  • Ensure that a copy of your prescription is with you at all times in your wallet or carry-on luggage. If you don’t have one, get prescription online to be safe.
  • The drugs that are allowed in carry-on baggage should have the proper label. The bottle should be the original one provided by the pharmacist in a licensed pharmacy. Also, the name for whom the medication is indicated and the name of the passenger should match. If you have to pack more than one drug, place them in their individual containers in a transparent plastic bag that is easy for security screening.
  • Injectable medications should be carried along with the empty syringes.
  • All medicines, syringes, and such should not be removed from the original packaging. If the drugs are mixed, they make it difficult for TSA officials to identify the individual medications and the time for completing security check could become too delayed.
  • Always show copies of the prescription when questioned about the drug. If there are any further issues, you could ask to speak with the supervisor.
  • You do have the right to confidentiality and you can always for a private screening process if you wish.
  • Security measures and travel restrictions constantly fluctuate. Ensure that you have adequate time of two to three hours before boarding time while going through the security checks.
  • There are higher restrictions in place for items like gels, creams, and sprays. All these preparations should only be in small containers that hold just three ounces or less. Put all these items together in a transparent zip lock bag that can be screened easily, and separately too if required.
  • Certain prescriptions like syringes and injections may be required to be kept under the care of airline staff. Ensure that they are packed separately to make it easier to pass them on to and retrieve from airline staff.
  • If traveling to a new country and unsure of its flight security laws, simply follow what you would in accordance to the US laws.
  • Always check with the airline in advance if you have to carry any special medications and see what their security policies are.

These are the general precautions that one needs to follow while flying and if carrying medications for personal use. Always be prepared by reading them before any trip and following the TSA’s security directives regarding transportation of drugs.