Carefree travelling with medical equipment

Une femme en chaise roulante sur la plage

Crutches, defibrillators, syringes, wheelchairs, oxygen tanks, batteries: What types of medical equipment can you bring on a flight?

Here is advice on how to get through customs without headaches and focus on enjoying your travels.

What is considered to be medical equipment?

What is meant by medical equipment?

To find out, see the list (This hyperlink will open in a new tab) of items that must go through the metal detector gateway.

At the same time, get informed about prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. Be sure you’re not transporting any hazardous materials (This hyperlink will open in a new tab).

Either way, you’ll know exactly what you are entitled to bring (This hyperlink will open in a new tab) with you in your carry-on or checked luggage.

Before departure

Make a plan for your departure. Pull together all the necessary documents, such as prescriptions, medical certificate, explanations of your treatments, etc. You can get these from your doctor or healthcare professionals.

Then talk to your airline company since they all have different rules. Be sure you are authorized to transport your medical equipment. Take these measures before departure so that going through the security checkpoint is a breeze. Something that's good to know in your case: The two-bag limit on carry-on luggage doesn’t apply to medical equipment. That’s a relief!

Un médecin écrit sur une tablette de papier

Getting through customs in a flash

The important thing is to have all your documents handy. That way, you can quickly prove that you need to bring your medical equipment.

Do you have a prosthesis or an artificial limb? Do you use a mobility device that could be affected by the magnetic fields of screening equipment? Let the security agents know as soon as you arrive at customs.

After assessing your medical equipment, the agents may require an additional verification. You should comply but ask that it be done in private.


If you need syringes during your trip, be sure to bring extra ones. This will save you from running out and having to buy some in a foreign country.

But be sure to pack them in your checked-in luggage. It is prohibited to go through customs with them, except if you need some during the flight. If you do, remember to have the medication you need to inject labelled in your name by the pharmacy.

What about the airline companies’ security regulations? You probably know from experience that they often change without notice. And since they vary from one country to another, you should be ready to provide documentation and clear explanations.

Go to Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (This hyperlink will open in a new tab) to check what is authorized by customs. And don’t wait till the last minute. Leave yourself enough time to pull together all the required documents.


Where should ostomy bags and collars be packed? In the carry-on luggage since they are subject to a security check. Here’s a tip: Cut the collars before your flight in case you need some on the plane.

Put your tubes of paste, sprays and gels (in containers of less than 100 ml) in a one-litre plastic bag.

During the flight

Most medical appliances approved for transportation are accepted by airline companies.

However, you cannot use them during critical phases. During takeoff and landing, they could interfere with communication and navigation systems.

Usually, you don’t unpack them during the flight unless treatment is required.

Transporting batteries

Bring enough batteries for your needs. As a precaution, talk to your airline company. Some airlines prohibit lithium or alkaline batteries in checked-in luggage. Pack them with the devices that contain the batteries in your carry-on luggage.

Wrap up batteries with terminals to prevent them from coming in contact with metal objects. Note that charging stations in planes are not designed for powering medical appliances. Therefore, you need to take into account the length of the flight and possible delays.

Being well-informed is the secret to success

Travelling with medical equipment is serious business. Get informed before boarding. Too much to keep track of? Here are 9 tips so that you don’t forget anything. Relax, it’ll be fine.