Last Updated on March 27, 2023
- Yes, you can take insulin and other liquids that are medically necessary on a plane
- You can also bring medical devices like an insulin pump or continuous blood glucose monitors if accompanied by insulin
- You should notify TSA agents at airport security that you are traveling with medically necessary diabetes supplies
Flying with insulin and other diabetic supplies is essential for diabetes management.
But there are special instructions that you must follow when you bring these items on a plane.
TSA Insulin Rules
In the United States the Transportation Security Administration has the responsibility to prevent dangerous items from getting onboard planes.
For this reason TSA officers screen your carry-on luggage at the airport security checkpoint and they also screen checked luggage behind the scenes.
Liquids are usually only permitted on planes in limited quantities.
Because insulin is a medically necessary liquid the usual 3.4 oz liquids limit does not apply so you can take insulin on an plane even in containers greater than 3.4 ounces.
You do need to follow some special instructions at the airport security checkpoint.
Please notify the TSA officer that you have diabetes and are carrying supplies with you. Insulin pumps and supplies must be accompanied by insulin, and insulin in any form or dispenser must be clearly identified.
Unused syringes are allowed when accompanied by injectable medication. You must declare these items to security officers at the checkpoint for inspection. We recommend, but do not require, that your medications be labeled to facilitate the security process.
Used syringes are allowed when transported in Sharps disposal container or other similar hard-surface container.
The best place to keep diabetes supplies is in your personal item bag. The personal item bag is hand luggage like a handbag or small backpack that is stored under the seat in front of you.
Occasionally your carry-on luggage might be gate-checked if there isn’t enough space in the overhead bins, whereas you should also be able to keep your personal item bag with you at all times.
If you will travel internationally it is important to check the airport security rules of your destination country.
Need More Information? Ask The TSA
Elizabeth asked the TSA about traveling with insulin pens:
Insulin should be kept cool and extreme temperatures avoided.
Many passengers wish to travel with a cooler bag or lunch box.
Insulin bags are allowed through the security checkpoint. To keep insulin cool at a safe temperature. You can store insulin alongside freezer packs or gel packs.
If you wear a medical ID bracelet you don’t need to remove it during the security screening process.
However it might be better to remove it to reduce the chance that you’ll need to undergo additional screening and pat downs.
If you have any equipment that can’t go through the x-ray machines like a glucose meter you can ask for a hand inspection as an alternative.
You can also bring drinks to treat hypoglycemia in your diabetes bag too that are larger than 3.4 oz
Glucose tablets or hard candy are considered to be solids and can be packed without restriction. You might find these to be more convenient since they are light-weight.
You don’t need to bring a doctor’s letter when you are flying with insulin.
Pharmaceutically labeled containers that include the patients name are not required.