Having an inhaler at hand is vital if you suffer from asthma, so you might be wondering if you can bring an inhaler on a plane.
According to TSA regulations, you can bring an inhaler on a plane in both your carry on and checked bags.
This applies to Ventolin, Albuterol or any other inhaler.
But what about when flying internationally?
Can you use an inhaler on a plane?
Can you take other important medial devices with you too, like a peak flow meter and nebulizer?
Let’s find out.
Table of Contents
- 1 Bringing an Inhaler in Your Carry on Bag
- 2 Bringing an Inhaler in Your Checked Bag
- 3 Domestic vs. International Flights
- 4 Airline Regulations
- 5 Will an Inhaler Explode on a Plane?
- 6 You Can Take a Peak Flow Meter on a Plane
- 7 As Well as a Nebulizer
- 8 What If You Have an Asthma Attack on the Plane
- 9 5 Tips for Flying With Asthma
Bringing an Inhaler in Your Carry on Bag
The TSA has a rule called the 3-1-1 Rule that forbids passengers from bringing liquids, gels and aerosols in containers larger than 3.4oz/100ml in their carry on bags.
As an inhaler is a medical device, though, it counts as an exception to the rule.
So while you will have no problem bringing an inhaler on a plane in your carry on bags, you should be aware that you should declare to a TSA officer that you are traveling with an inhaler at the checkpoint for inspection.
Note that the TSA do not require your inhaler to be labeled, but it can help smooth the process as you go through airport security.
The TSA state that “we recommend, but do not require, that your medications be labeled to facilitate the security process.”
If you need to use your inhaler at any point during a flight, whether that be during takeoff, midair, or landing, you will be able to.
Bringing an Inhaler in Your Checked Bag
If you want to pack your inhaler in your checked bag, you will also have no problem doing so.
Just place the inhaler in your bag, check the bag in, and that is it.
Make sure that you adequately protect your inhaler, though, considering its importance.
Domestic vs. International Flights
It makes no difference if you are flying domestically within the USA or internationally.
The same rules apply.
So, this means that you will have no problem bringing an inhaler on a plane in either your carry on or checked bags.
Again, you will need to take it out of your carry on and place it in a security screening bin for addition to screening.
All airlines follow TSA regulations.
So, this means that once you are past airport security, you will be fine to bring your inhaler with you on the plane.
Will an Inhaler Explode on a Plane?
If you are concerned that your inhaler will explode on the plane, don’t be.
There is no chance that your inhaler will explode on a plane, regardless if it is packed in your carry on or checked bags.
You Can Take a Peak Flow Meter on a Plane
If you want to be able to measure your ability to push air out of your lungs, so you can see how your asthma is affected when you travel, you’ll be pleased to know that you can take a peak flow meter on a plane in both your carry on and checked bags.
As Well as a Nebulizer
You can bring a nebulizer on a plane in both your carry on and checked bags.
You should be aware that the TSA state that your nebulizer “must be removed from the carrying case and undergo X-ray screening.”
You should also know that other countries may have different electric sockets and voltage, so you should plan for this to ensure that your nebulizer will work abroad.
What If You Have an Asthma Attack on the Plane
Planes have reduced air pressure, which can be an issue if you have severe asthma.
This is down to the drop in the amount of oxygen while onboard an aircraft at 35,000 feet.
Fortunately, as mentioned, you are allowed to use your inhaler on a plane.
As soon as you get on the plane, it can also be a good idea to inform a flight attendant that you have asthma to give them a heads-up in case you have an asthma attack during the flight.
Having a written asthma action plan for what can be done in case of an emergency is an excellent idea, too.
5 Tips for Flying With Asthma
While asthmatics safely fly every day without any issue, here are some tips to make sure that your flight will be go as smoothly as possible.
- Keep your inhaler in reach: In the event that you need to use your inhaler, it’s best to have it within reach, preferably on you instead of in your bag.
- Inform the flight attendants: As mentioned, it can be a good idea to give flight attendants a heads-up that you have asthma.
- Use the seat’s air vent: Turning on the air ventilation above your seat is a good idea, as it can help you to breathe more easily.
- Drink water: Regularly drinking water while on a plane can help you breathe a little more easily.
- Inform your travel companion: If the person you are traveling with doesn’t know you have asthma, tell them, so there will be no unexpected surprises if you have an asthma attack.
- Have a written asthma action plan: A written asthma plan that lists details of the treatments you need in an emergency can be vitally important.
Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.
Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.
Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).