Can You Bring an Inhaler on a Plane? TSA Medication Rules

If you have a respiratory condition, such as asthma, and have been prescribed an inhaler by your doctor to use when necessary then you will obviously want to know if you can bring an inhaler on a plane with you when you travel.

The Quick Answer: TSA medication travel rules permit passengers to take inhalers on a plane with them in either carry on bags or checked luggage. If there is any possibility that you may need to use the inhaler during the flight then you must keep it in your carry on with you.

You should take note of the following rules, in particular when taking the inhaler and other medication through the airport security checkpoint.

Can You take an Inhaler on a Plane?

Can you take an inhaler through airport security

Do inhalers need to go in liquid bag?

Although they contain a liquid, inhalers and spare inhaler canisters are exempt from the TSA liquids rule as they are prescription medications. This means liquid medications can be larger than 3.4 ounces (100 ml) and they do not need to go in a resealable liquids bag with your other liquids either.

Normally inhalers are actually smaller than the 3.4 ounce liquid limit anyway but it is at least good news that they don’t need to use up valuable space in your one quart resealable liquids bag leaving more room for other liquids and aerosols.

However, they do need to be removed from your carry on bag or pocket and be placed in a separate security tray for screening. You must also bring the fact that you have the inhaler, and any other medication, to the attention of a security agent at the checkpoint.

It is possible that the security agents may wish to conduct additional screening tests on the inhaler before you are allowed to continue into the departure lounge and board your flight.

You would be advised to take with you any documentation you may have such as an asthma attack card, a note from a doctor or asthma nurse, prescription label – just in case.

@AskTSA inhaler questions

The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) offers a very good service on Twitter and Facebook where you can ask a specific question about whether you can take something through the security checkpoint and they will respond quickly.

This is an example response to a passenger’s question regarding carrying an inhaler on a plane through airport security:

Can You Bring an Inhaler on a Plane? TSA Medication Rules 1

This passenger asked how and where they should declare their inhaler:

How do you declare an inhaler at airport security

Do you need a doctor’s note/prescription for an inhaler?

You do not need either a note from your doctor or a prescription to show that you are entitled to carry an inhaler with you when traveling, but to be sure I would make sure you took one anyway.

This is the TSA’s response to a passenger who asked if a note from their doctor’ was required on Twitter:

Do you need a doctor's note/prescription for the inhaler?

Can you take an inhaler in your carry on?

Since there are no restrictions on taking an inhaler through the security checkpoint at the airport, then of course asthma inhalers are allowed in the aircraft’s cabin with you in your carry on luggage.

In fact, as with all essential medication, you should make sure you do have it with you in case you have an asthma attack during the flight. It is no good to you in your checked luggage.

Make sure that you can get to it easily in the unlikely event that you need to use it during the flight, perhaps due to the reduced air pressure or the air conditioning.

Can you use an inhaler while in flight?

Yes, absolutely you can. If you need to use any asthma inhalers or asthma equipment while in the air, whether you are having an asthma attack or not, then there will be no restrictions on its use at all.

So if you need to use your inhaler then you just go ahead and use it without worrying. Your health will be the most important thing, not only for you but for the airline and the aircraft’s crew too.

Will an inhaler explode on a plane?

Absolutely not. Your inhaler will be perfectly safe and will not explode on a plane, whether you pack it in your carry on (the best place to keep it in case you need it) or in your checked luggage in the aircraft’s hold.

Can you put an inhaler in checked luggage?

Although you are permitted to pack an inhaler and spare inhaler canisters in your checked baggage you would be well advised to pack them in your carry on bag instead. If you had an attack during the flight the inhaler is of no use to you in the aircraft’s baggage hold.

The last thing the airline or the crew will want is to have to divert the aircraft en-route to another airport in order for you to be given medical attention. They will do that of course but will not be happy if the only reason is that you packed your medication in your checked luggage.

So be safe and at least pack the inhaler in your hand luggage, even if you leave spare inhaler canisters in your checked luggage to use while you are away.

However, I would not recommend packing even your spare inhaler canisters in checked bags. This is because there have been instances of them being removed by security when the checked bags are screened. This is incorrect of course but that is no consolation if you arrive at your destination and find this has happened to you.

You would then need to try and obtain replacements, which in a strange town or country might be an issue.

So keep them with you at all times.

TSA traveling with medication video


As with all prescribed medication, you will have no problems taking an inhaler and spare inhaler canisters through the airport security screening process and on a plane in your hand luggage with you when traveling. Have a good and stress-free flight.


How do you pack an inhaler when flying?

You should keep your inhaler either in your carry on bag or in your pocket but make sure that the protective cover is in place to prevent accidental activation.

Do asthma inhalers count as liquids?

Because inhalers are prescribed medications they are exempt from the TSA liquids rules, so it doesn’t matter. You can take more than 3.4 ounces through airport security without a problem.

Can you take a nebulizer on a plane

TSA: Nebulizers are allowed in carry-on bags but must be removed from the carrying case and undergo X-ray screening. Facemasks and tubing may remain in the case. You may place the device in a clear plastic bag for X-ray. A TSA officer may need to remove the device from the bag to test it for traces of explosives. Liquids associated with nebulizers are exempt from the 3-1-1 liquids rule.