First Aid Kits on Airline Flights

First aid kits on airline flights are adequate to respond to most in-flight emergencies. However, if you want to take a travel first aid kit with you to your destination, you may want to keep it in checked baggage or you must remove banned first aid items from your kit. Here is a list of approved first aid items that travelers can carry on airline flights.

First Aid Kit
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Most first aid items are relatively soft and not very dangerous to the average flight crew. Those items are still welcome in carry-on baggage for domestic airline flights in the United States. Flights overseas have, in most cases, banned all except essential items from carry-on bags. The approved first aid items for domestic airline flights include:

  • Gauze pads
  • Bandage scissors (blades less than four inches)
  • Roller gauze
  • Tape
  • Gloves
  • Triangular bandages
  • Elastic bandages
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Pain relievers
  • Moleskin
  • Lip balms
  • Barrier devices for CPR

Allowed in Limited Quantities

Heightened security on airline flights has led to restrictions on all liquids and gels. Solid items are still available, such as stick antiperspirants or lip balms. Here are restricted items commonly found in a first aid kit:

  • Hand cleaner
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Insect bite swabs

None of these liquids or gels can be in a container larger than 3 fl oz (100 ml) and all liquids and gels must fit into a single quart-sized resealable baggie.

Allowed With Permission From Security Personnel

Some first aid items must be approved for carry-on by security personnel prior to boarding domestic airline flights. These first aid items are usually essential supplies for specific medical conditions. It is important to declare these first aid and medical items while proceeding through airport security. These items will be allowed on domestic airline flights after inspection:

  • Glucose gels or liquids including juice for diabetic passengers (cannot be more than 5oz or 148ml)
  • Diabetic supplies including syringes, lancets, glucometers, pumps, etc.
  • Epinephrine auto-injector
  • Other medication and pumps such as Flolan for primary pulmonary hypertension
  • Nitroglycerin spray
  • 4oz or less of essential non-prescription gel or liquid medications (eye care, saline, sterile lubricant, etc.)
  • Liquid prescription medication if the label matches the name of the passenger

Talk to Security

Airport security will have to make decisions every day regarding medical supplies. If you have an essential need such as wound care items on a long flight, for example, speak to security about it. Safety on airline flights is important for all of us, but security officers will try to be reasonable regarding passengers' medical needs.

2 Sources
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  1. U.S. Transportation Security Administration. What can I bring?

  2. U.S. Transportation Security Administration. Liquid rule.

By Rod Brouhard, EMT-P
Rod Brouhard is an emergency medical technician paramedic (EMT-P), journalist, educator, and advocate for emergency medical service providers and patients.