Do Most Airlines Check Your Supplements and Medications?

Travel pill box containing probiotic supplements and medications to keep a person healthy

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It’s hard to know if you can bring your supplements and medications on the plane with you.

You don’t want to get to the airport and realize that you can’t bring your important supplements and medications with you on the plane, or worse still have them confiscated.

The short answer is that some airlines check your supplements and medications, and permit them within your hand luggage.

However, there are several things you need to be aware of and a few things that you can do to make sure that your items are brought on board safely.

Better to be prepared

Most airlines do not check your supplements and medications. However, there are a few that will ask to see them. Always be open and willing to meet the agent’s requirements. The last thing you want is for them to be confiscated.

It is always best to be prepared and have them with you when you travel. This way, you will not have any problems or delays when going through security. Most of the time, you will not need to disclose what they are for. If asked, just state that you use them for health reasons and they are required.

The truth is that many airlines do not check passengers’ personal items in advance of flights, meaning they could get mixed up with other people’s things or lost altogether. This leaves travelers at the mercy of the TSA when they are on board an airplane.

What happens if I am checked?

Most airlines will be fine with you bringing supplements and medications providing you declare them and place them within your hand luggage. However, if they are in liquid form, then the rules will become much stricter. This is understandable as it would be hard for security to ascertain whether the liquid is a probiotic or not.

You can’t bring liquids over 100 ml through airport security. But some probiotics are in the form of a liquid, and they’re often sold in 150ml containers. So does that mean you can’t bring your probiotic supplement through the airport?

The answer is yes if you want to keep it on the plane.

Probiotics will not be allowed past security checkpoints because if they are in liquid form it becomes hard for security to identify exactly what the substance is. Ideally buy your probiotics in capsule form and sealed within blister packs which stand a better chance of getting through security checkpoints as they are easier to see and know what they are.

Checking your luggage for probiotic supplements and medications
Checking your luggage for probiotic supplements and medications

What additional measures can you take?

But there are some things you can do to minimize this risk of not being able to take your probiotics or medications through security:

* Pack all medications in small bottles with labels identifying what each one is for. If possible, pack them into a quart-sized bag so that agents won’t need to open any containers larger than 3 ounces. Keep prescription vials in your carry-on luggage.

* Bring your supplements in their original bottles, not just loose pills or powder, because agents may have trouble identifying them if they are not packaged with a label. You can also place all of your supplements into a quart-sized bag together to make it easier for agents to identify them and differentiate them from other people’s supplements.

* You can request that agents screen your supplements and medications in front of you before placing them inside the plastic bins used to send items through X-ray machines. This way, you can make sure they were not damaged during transportation simply by placing them into a bin and then putting them back into your carry-on bag.

The bottom line is that your supplements and medications are safe so long as they remain inside your carry-on bag, but there is a risk of them being confiscated if you leave them unattended or place them in the cargo hold. Be careful about where you place them during flights, especially on smaller planes with tight storage compartments.

The need to have your probiotics with you

Some people need to bring their probiotics with them when they fly. This is because the air pressure in the cabin of an airplane can have a negative effect on your digestion, which may lead to stomach pain or other digestive issues. If you are one of these people, here’s how to avoid getting caught by airport security and having your probiotics confiscated:

1) Store your probiotic pills in your carry-on bag instead of checked luggage so that you’re less likely to lose them if it gets lost or stolen.

2) Check TSA regulations before coming up with a plan for bringing them through security as some airports prohibit any liquids over 3 ounces (100 milliliters), including water bottles and medications like prescription drugs and supplements like probiotic capsules.

3) Ask what you can do to avoid having your supplements or medications confiscated by airport security at the ticket counter instead of waiting until you’re already in line for security; this might get them to let you keep them if your situation is a legitimate emergency.

4) Talk with a customer service representative from your airline ahead of time to figure out if there are any special rules or exceptions about carrying supplements through security.

5) Carry your water bottle through security empty so that it doesn’t have to be pat down, then fill up at a drinking fountain once you’re on the other side.

Summary of what you can and cannot do

  • Unless your prescription is in liquid form, you do not need to provide it to an officer or warn them that you are traveling with it (See next bullet).
  • In excess of 3.4 ounces of liquid medication in appropriate proportions is allowed in carry-on bags for the flight. Medically necessary liquids do not need to be kept in a zip-top bag. You must, however, inform the officer that you have medically essential drinks before proceeding to the screening checkpoint. Medically necessary liquids will be subjected to extra inspection, which may include the request to open the container.
  • As long as your medication is tested, you can carry as much as you like in pill or solid form.
  • You can take your medication with you in both carry-on and checked luggage. In the event that you require immediate access, it is highly recommended that you pack these goods in your carry-on.
  • Although the TSA does not require passengers to have prescriptions in prescription bottles, states have their own rules governing prescription medication labeling, which passengers must follow.
  • Medication is generally screened by X-ray, but if a passenger does not want their medication X-rayed, they can request a visual inspection instead. Before any things are passed through the X-ray tunnel, this request must be made.

In Conclusion

It is important to ensure that you are allowed to bring your supplements and medication onto the plane. It may be a good idea for some travelers to pack their medications in checked luggage, as this will allow them peace of mind knowing they’ll have access if needed during travel.

If you need help packing or want more information on what types of medicines can be brought through airport security, reach out to the customer information desk at the designated airport.

Likewise, talk to your travel agent as they will have been asked similar questions surrounding supplements and medications before.

A quick reminder .. aim to provide the most up-to-date information, help, and advice for YOU to make informed decisions. If you are unsure or uncertain and require more clarity, please reach out to us and we will gladly come back and advise you as best we can.

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