Living with a medical device that you need to use constantly can make even the most benign aspects of modern life much more challenging. If you or someone close to you has such a need, then you will already no doubt understand from first-hand experience just how difficult things can become. Flying is an activity, often a necessity, which generally lends itself well to creating high-stress situations.
From dealing with airport security to navigating busy airport terminals, as soon as you are inside the building with your medical device, things can immediately start to become more difficult. Traveling without your device is clearly not an option, for many people they cannot even be without it for the duration of their flight, and so the best that you can do as a traveler is to prepare ahead of time.
Let’s take a look at what the TSA, and America’s three biggest airlines, have to say on the matter, and hopefully clear up any questions you may have.
The job of the TSA is to ensure the safety of all travelers who pass through American transportation hubs. In pursuit of this, the TSA maintains a list of items which are prohibited when flying, it is worth familiarizing yourself with this list, although medical devices are exempt. The TSA’s main concern is security, therefore, the advice they give to travelers tends to concern accommodating disabled travelers as they pass through airport security.
The design of medical devices has improved greatly in recent years owing to advances in biomedical engineering. If you are someone who has an interest in medical devices, then consider enrolling with Rutgers University and studying a biomedical engineering degree online. By studying with Rutgers online, you can fit your degree around other commitment. Despite many of these devices being much subtler and compact now, it is still up to individual airlines whether you can actually bring a medical device on a plane.
American Airlines request that you inform them at least 48 hours before you travel of any special requirements relating to medical equipment. Once you contact them, they will confirm that the device is approved and eligible to be brought onboard. American Airlines keeps a page about medical devices on its website.
Similar to American Airlines, Delta requires that you inform them ahead of time regarding any medical devices you want to bring onboard. Unlike American Airlines, Delta provides little information on their website. You should, therefore, contact the airline as soon as you can if you are traveling with them while carrying a medical device.
Again, you should contact the airline prior to travel if you plan on bringing a medical device onboard. United Airlines provides the most information of all three major airlines on their website, making it a useful resource rather than a cursory addition, as with the other two.
The bottom line here is that you are at the mercy of individual airlines when it comes to bringing medical devices onboard, so check before you fly.