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Screening for Passengers Who Require Medically Necessary Liquids

This information was provided upon request from TSA Cares, August 2012

 

TSA limits the amount of liquids, gels, or aerosols that passengers can bring through a security screening checkpoint. The 3-1-1 rule states that all liquids, gels, and aerosols must be in 3.4 ounce (100ml) or less (by volume) containers; the containers should be in a 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip top bag; and 1 bag per passenger can be placed in a screening bin. Medically necessary items are not subject to the 3-1-1 limitation and are allowed through a checkpoint in any amount once they have been screened.

Passengers are encouraged to bring through the checkpoint only the amount of medically necessary liquids or gels they will reasonably need for the duration of their itinerary, allowing for delays, and to pack the rest in checked baggage. Passengers should inform a Transportation Security Officer (TSO) if a liquid or gel is medically necessary and separate it from other belonging before screening begins.

Liquids, gels, and aerosols are screened by x-ray, and medically necessary items in excess of 3.4 ounces will receive additional screening which could include screening with bottled liquid screening technologies. Depending on the technology available at the checkpoint, a passenger could be asked to open the liquid or gel for screening. TSA will not touch the liquid or gel during this process. If the passenger does not want a liquid, gel, or aerosol x-rayed or opened, he or she should inform the TSO before screening begins. Additional screening of the passenger and his or her property may be required, which may include a patdown.

If a patdown is required in order to complete screening:

  • The patdown should be conducted by a TSO of the same gender. Sometimes, passengers must wait for a TSO of the same gender to become available.

  • The passenger can request a private screening at any time and a private screening should be offered when the TSO must pat-down sensitive areas. During a private screening, another TSA employee will also be present and the passenger may be accompanied by a companion of his or her choosing.

  • A passenger may ask for a chair if he or she needs to sit down.

  • The passenger should inform TSOs of any difficulty raising his or her arms, remaining in the position required for a patdown, or any areas of the body that are painful when touched.

  • A passenger should not be asked to remove or lift any article of clothing to reveal a sensitive body area.

In addition to the patdown, TSA may use technology to test for traces of explosive material. If explosive material is detected, the passenger will have to undergo additional screening. For more information about the technology used to test for traces of explosive material, please visit: www.tsa.gov/about-tsa/technology.

Accessories required to keep medically necessary liquids, gels, and aerosols cool, such as freezer packs or frozen gel packs, are permitted through the screening checkpoint and may be subject to additional screening. These accessories are treated as liquids unless they are frozen solid at the checkpoint. If these accessories are partially frozen or slushy, they are subject to the same screening as other liquids and gels.

Supplies that are associated with medically necessary liquids and gels, such as IV bags, pumps, and syringes, are allowed through the checkpoint once they have been screened by x-ray or a hand inspection. Passengers should declare these items to a TSO and separate them from other belongings for screening.

A companion, assistant, or family member may accompany a passenger to assist him or her during any private or public screening. After providing this assistance, the companion, assistant, or family member will need to be rescreened. The passenger should inform the TSO of his or her need for assistance before the screening process begins.

TSA has created notification cards that travelers may use to inform TSOs about any disability, medical condition, or medical device that could affect security screening. Although these cards do not exempt anyone from security screening, their use may improve communication and help travelers discreetly notify TSOs of their conditions. This card can be found at: www.tsa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/disability_notification_cards.pdf.

If a passenger has concerns about his or her screening, he or she should ask to speak with a supervisor while at the checkpoint. Passengers also can report concerns by contacting TSA’s Disability and Multicultural Division at TSA.ODPO@tsa.dhs.gov or:

Transportation Security Administration
Disability and Multicultural Division
601 South 12th Street
Arlington, VA 20598

TSA encourages passengers with disabilities or medical conditions to arrive at the airport early and to visit www.tsa.gov for more information before they fly.

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This website is an educational resource. It is not intended to provide medical advice or recommend a course of treatment. You should discuss all issues, ideas, suggestions, etc. with your clinician prior to use. Clinicians in a relevant field have reviewed the medical information; however, the Oley Foundation does not guarantee the accuracy of the information presented, and is not liable if information is incorrect or incomplete. If you have questions please contact Oley staff.

 

Updated in 2015 with a generous grant from Shire, Inc. 

 

This website was updated in 2015 with a generous grant from Shire, Inc. This website is an educational resource. It is not intended to provide medical advice or recommend a course of treatment. You should discuss all issues, ideas, suggestions, etc. with your clinician prior to use. Clinicians in a relevant field have reviewed the medical information; however, the Oley Foundation does not guarantee the accuracy of the information presented, and is not liable if information is incorrect or incomplete. If you have questions please contact Oley staff.
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