Rules for Flights in the USA
Nebulizers are allowed in carry-on and checked baggage in the United States. But, TSA does specify that nebulizers traveling in hand baggage must be placed in a separate bin and scanned separately when going through airport security. Officers are also authorized to inspect nebulizers for traces of explosives.
The facemasks and tubes can stay inside the bag and don’t need to be removed. Any liquids you’re carrying for the nebulizer are exempt from the liquids rule. However, it’s recommended to pack your nebulizers’ technical instructions and your medicines’ prescription in case a security agent asks for them.
Although considered medical devices, nebulizers should follow carry-on standards and must be able to fit in the overhead bin or underneath the front seat.
Rules for Flights in Other Countries
Canada, Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, and India
On flights in Canada, Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, and India, nebulizers are allowed on planes in hand and cargo baggage. Yet, most airlines ask passengers to ask for previous approval for their nebulizer by contacting them directly. Nebulizers intended for in-flight use must be battery-operated as most air carriers lack power sources for them. Batteries should be under 160 Wh / 8 grams and spare batteries are allowed in carry-on only.
Although generally allowed, nebulizers must go through separate screening, and agents at the airport decide if they can board the plane. If your nebulizer produces any electromagnetic waves and interferes with the airplane’s system, the aircraft crew has the right to ask you to turn it off, although it’s very unlikely.
Most airlines will allow you to use a nebulizer only if it fits underneath the front seat to avoid inconveniences to other passengers. Carrying your prescription for medicines, a certification from your primary doctor, and having your nebulizer labeled are some of the recommendations for traveling with a nebulizer internationally.
On New Zealand planes, nebulizers are allowed in carry-on and checked baggage. However, some airlines will only accept authorized models onboard. Depending on the airline, you should fill up a Medical Information Form for Air Travel (MEDA), with details about your nebulizer device. Your nebulizer should be battery-operated, and lithium batteries must be under 160 Wh / 8 grams.
Chinese authorities allow nebulizers in hand and cargo baggage in planes with certain restrictions. When traveling with your nebulizer in the cabin it must follow the airlines’ restrictions for carry-on. Nebulizers should be battery-operated and the lithium batteries must be under 160 Wh / 8 grams. Spare batteries must travel in cabin baggage.
If you’re planning to use your nebulizer onboard you need to get the airline’s approval beforehand, and you need to fill a Medical Information Form for Air Travel (MEDA), and sometimes a Medical Clearance Form too that says you are allowed to travel. Make sure to contact your airline to learn the requirements for traveling with your nebulizer. If there is a respiratory infectious disease, some airlines will prohibit you from using a nebulizer on planes.
Sources: For writing this article, we took information only from official sources, like airline regulators, government websites, and major airlines. If you want to confirm that our information is accurate and up to date, click on any of the links mentioned above. We linked out to where we found this information for each country.
Disclaimer: The final decision of whether you can bring nebulizers on planes always rests on the security officer. Some airlines also have additional rules that may be different.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bringing Nebulizers on Planes
Are battery-operated nebulizers also allowed on planes (lithium or disposable)?
Battery-operated nebulizers are allowed on planes in the United States with certain restrictions. Battery-operated nebulizers must follow the battery standards for electronic devices. Lithium-ion batteries should be under 160 Wh and lithium-metal batteries should be between 2-8 grams. Batteries with a higher power output won’t be allowed on planes. You’re only allowed to carry two spare batteries onboard and they should travel exclusively in carry-on baggage. The ports of any spare batteries must be protected with tape or anything that prevents the terminals from making contact with anything else.
Are nebulizers considered medical items by the TSA?
Generally, nebulizers are considered medical items by TSA. They are allowed in carry-on and checked baggage when traveling in the United States, but they are subject to x-ray and physical screening. Most airlines offer accommodations for passengers that need to use nebulizers during the flight. Also, the liquid medication used with your nebulizer is exempt from the liquids rule. You should pack your medicine prescription and the technical information or pamphlet of your nebulizer in case security agents ask for them.
Read Next: Can You Bring Facial Sheet Masks on Planes?
Can I bring nebulizers through airport security?
Yes, you’re allowed to bring nebulizers through airport security in the United States. TSA permits nebulizers in carry-on and checked baggage. However, passengers traveling with nebulizers in carry-on must take them out of the bag when going through security so they can go through a physical inspection and X-ray screening. Nebulizers that operate with lithium metal or lithium-ion batteries must travel in carry-on luggage exclusively. Nebulizers that work with electricity can travel in checked baggage as well as hand baggage.
Is it better to pack nebulizers in hand or checked luggage?
For the most part, it’s best to pack nebulizers in hand baggage when traveling in the United States. TSA welcomes nebulizers both in hand and cargo baggage with certain conditions. When traveling in hand baggage, nebulizers are subject to physical inspection. Battery-operated nebulizers are permitted only in carry-on baggage and the batteries should be under 160 Wh (lithium-ion) or between 2-8 grams (lithium-metal). Spare batteries between 101 and 160 Wh are limited to two per passenger. Lithium batteries over 160 Wh and 8 grams will not be allowed on board. Although nebulizers aren’t exactly forbidden in checked baggage, passengers should keep them in a carry-on if their use is necessary during the flight. This is also the best way to prevent them from getting damaged or lost in cargo baggage.
Can I use a nebulizer during the flight?
In general, you can use a nebulizer during a flight in the United States. That said, it depends on the airline’s policy and the power source of the nebulizer. Many airplanes lack power outlets for nebulizers, so it’s best to have a battery-operated nebulizer charged and with spare batteries ready to be used onboard. Some airlines restrict in-flight nebulizer use to a list of pre-approved inhaling medicinal electronics. Make sure to contact your airline to see if you’re allowed to use your nebulizer during a flight.
Does the 3-1-1 rule for liquids in hand luggage also apply to nebulizer liquids?
The 3-1-1 rule for liquids in hand luggage doesn’t apply to nebulizer liquids in the United States. The TSA liquids rule establishes that all liquids, gels, and paste containers traveling in hand baggage must be under 3.4 ounces / 100 milliliters. All containers must also fit inside a 1-quart clear resealable bag. However, liquids medications are exempt from the liquids rule and passengers may carry more than stated by the TSA liquids rule. Carrying a medical note, a prescription, or the pharmacy’s medicine instructions is recommended in case you face any questioning about the liquids related to your nebulizer.
Are there any additional regulations for nebulizer medicine that I need to know of?
Overall, there aren’t any additional regulations for nebulizer medicine flying on United States airplanes. Nebulizer medicine count as liquid medications and are exempt from the TSA liquids rule as long as you’re traveling with a reasonable quantity. Yet, it’s recommended that passengers carry the prescription for the medicine and that the prescription’s name matches the name in the identification of the passenger. You must declare the liquid medicine when going through security and you must place it in a bin for inspection. For nebulizer medicine that needs to be refrigerated, you’ll need to pack it in a cooler bag. TSA will allow gel packs in the bag as long as they are completely frozen.
What’s the best way to pack a nebulizer in my luggage?
The best way to pack your nebulizer in your luggage is by packing it in your carry-on luggage. You can either carry the nebulizer in its own bag, or you can fit it inside your hand baggage with other items. But, you should be able to access it easily to take it out of the bag when going through airport security. Also, it’s recommended to keep the nebulizer in its original box or/with its original instructions, so agents can confirm the model in case they need to. This is easy to pack in your hand baggage, it’s lightweight and silent.
Will my nebulizer work in other countries with different electrical grids?
A nebulizer bought in the United States will not work in other countries with different electrical grids. Electrical plugs in the United States are Type A and B. If you’re traveling internationally, you will come across other plugs -type G in China and United Kingdom; type C, F, E, and J in Europe; type K in India; type I in Australia and New Zealand. Besides the plug style, the voltages change per country, which means a simple plug adapter won’t make your nebulizer work in another country. You will need a power converter to use your nebulizer outside the United States or charge its batteries. If you have a multi-voltage nebulizer then you might be able to use it in international destinations.
Are other inhaling medicinal electronics also allowed on planes (CPAP, BIPAP, and APAP)?
Other inhaling medical electronics like the CPAP, BIPAP, and APAP are also allowed in hand and cargo baggage on planes in the United States. TSA doesn’t establish any restrictions for these devices except for the fact that they must undergo X-ray screening individually when going through airport security. These medical devices are also subject to the airline’s standards and must be able to fit in the overhead bin or underneath the front seat. Some airlines have a pre-approved list of CPAP, BIPAP, and APAP models. Always contact your air carrier to see if your inhaling medicinal electronic is among the list of approved models by the airline.
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