Airline Carry-On Rules Slightly Relaxed

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As you probably know, a terrorist plot foiled in the United Kingdom on August 10 raised the threat level in the United States and prompted the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to ban passengers from carrying liquids and gels onto aircraft. At the time, the only exceptions were baby formula, breast milk, and prescription medicines that had the passenger’s name on them.

On August 13, the TSA announced that it was relaxing its ban on liquids somewhat. According to the adjusted rules, airline passengers may now bring the following items onboard:

  • Liquid prescription medicines, including insulin, if the name on the prescription label matches the name on the passenger’s ticket
  • Up to 5 ounces of liquid or gel treatment for low blood glucose (such glucose gel)
  • Up to 4 ounces of essential nonprescription liquid or gel medicine
  • Small amounts of baby formula or breast milk, if a child is traveling

All other liquids and gels, including amounts of allowed items that exceed the limits listed above, must be packed in checked luggage. There is no limit to the amount of insulin or prescription medicines that you can bring onboard (provided that it is labeled). You are allowed to bring onboard any diabetes-related medical devices you need, including blood glucose meters, test strips, lancets, syringes (when accompanied by insulin), insulin pens or jet injectors, and insulin pumps and related supplies. You can also carry on any nonliquid medicines, such as pills or inhalers (you should carry these items in their original containers so that they are clearly labeled).

All of the items that you carry onboard will have to pass through the x-ray machine to be screened. If you prefer, you can ask a TSA security officer to do a visual screening of your medicines and medical devices.

Some of the rules put into effect on August 10 remain in place. Only one piece of carry-on baggage and one personal item such as a purse or briefcase are allowed onboard. In addition, all passengers must remove their shoes during the security screening process.

If you have any questions about the security process or about what is allowed onboard aircraft, you can visit the TSA Web site or call the TSA Contact Center toll-free at (866) 289-9673. (If you call, you can expect to be on hold for a while.)

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