References to EU regulation or EU websites in our guidance will not be an accurate description of your obligations or rights under UK law.read more
If you need additional advice after reading the guidance on this page please contact your doctor
Your doctor can contact our Aviation Health Unit for more
If you use an electric mobility aid such as an electric wheelchair or scooter, you will need to give the airline some information in advance about the equipment, including its make and model. This is to ensure that it is loaded and stowed safely during the flight and is not a fire risk.
Check before you book if the airline has restrictions relating to equipment - these can vary depending on who you fly with.
Before travelling you should:
This will help if there are any issues with loading your equipment into the hold.
In partnership with the Queen Elizabeth's foundation for Disabled People awe have produced a film that gives wheelchair users, especially powered wheelchair users information and insight about travelling by air and the support available.
You may carry up to two mobility items free of charge. This applies generally for your trip rather than just the flight, so if there is something specific that you will need at your destination the airline should accept it as one of the two pieces of mobility equipment (provided
that it is a reasonable request).
You can travel with medical equipment and supplies provided that the amounts are reasonable.
Airlines are liable for any damage to mobility equipment. However, the amount of compensation may be limited to around £1,300 so you may want to take out extra insurance.
If your equipment is damaged, the airport is responsible for providing a temporary alternative while yours is repaired or replaced, but this does not have to be on a like for like basis.
Normally passengers may only take liquids past the security search point provided that they are in containers which hold not more than 100 ml. All liquids containers must be put in one transparent and re-sealable bag, which must not be larger than one litre in volume (approximately 20cm x 20cm). Suitable bags are usually available at the airport before you go through security.
You will usually only be able to fit about five 100ml containers into a bag of this size. If you are not able to fit all of your essential medicines, including inhalers and liquid dietary foodstuffs, into the bag, or if they are supplied in containers larger than 100ml, you may still be allowed to carry these in your hand baggage.
Before your trip you will need to:
Remember to take only what you need for your journey in your hand baggage. Extra supplies and larger containers of medicine can go in your hold baggage. Additional information may be found on the Direct.gov website: Direct.gov
Many aircraft either do not have refrigerators or have chiller cabinets which are cooled by 'dry ice' and are unsuitable for storage of medication such as insulin. The chiller cabinets and refrigerators are intended for storage of food only and most airlines will not allow medication to be stored in them.
If your medication does normally need to be kept cool, speak to your doctor or pharmacist about how best to store it during your journey. Most modern insulins can safely be kept at room temperature for a period.
Additional information may be found on the Diabetes UK website: Diabetes.org
Essential medical equipment that you may need to use during your journey, including hypodermic syringes and 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:
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 and to check if they have any extra requirements.
It is also advisable to check if the airport you are flying from has 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 and 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 and 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.
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.
We would advise 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.
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.
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