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Travelling with medical and disability devices and aids

If you intend to travel with medical or disability devices and aids, bring with you supporting documentation, such as a medical identification card or letter from your doctor, and be ready to present these to security screening officers at the screening point.

Domestic flights

There are no restrictions for prescribed medical devices and aids if you are travelling on domestic flights as long as you carry supporting documentation.

International flights

There are exemptions to allow passengers to carry medical devices and aids when travelling on international flights—when you are leaving and coming into Australia. Prescribed medical devices and aids are exempt from liquid, aerosol and gel, and prohibited item restrictions, but you are only allowed to carry quantities that you need for your flight. These may include:

  • hypodermic needles
  • gel-filled external breast prostheses
  • personal supplemental oxygen
  • items used to regulate the temperature of prescription medications or devices, for example storage containers, ice packs or gel-filled heat packs.

A medical practitioner or paramedic caring for someone, or an ambulance officer responding to an emergency may carry hypodermic needles, a defibrillator or aerosol for medical purposes.

Hypodermic needles

If you or your carer are travelling with hypodermic needles, you must present the needles and supporting medical documentation to security screening officers at the screening point. You will also need to present this to cabin crew as you board the plane.

Screening process

All travellers are required to undergo security screening at Australian airports.

Mobility aids and devices

  • Walking aids, such as a cane or crutches and wheelchairs can be taken onboard but will need to be security screened by x-ray or hand-held metal detector. Chairs and walking aids are available for you to use during this process.
  • If you need to remain in your wheelchair and you are unable to be screened and cleared by the security screening equipment, security screening officers may ask for your permission to conduct a frisk search. You can request that the search takes place in a private area.

Internal or external medical devices

You must inform the security screening officer if you have a medical device that might be affected by security screening such as a metal detector or body scanner. This includes implants, pacemakers, external prostheses, insulin pump, stoma and ostomy pouches. In these situations, it may be necessary for you to undergo a different method of screening such as a hand-held metal detector and/or a frisk search. If a frisk search is required, you can request that the search take place in private.

International travel

You may be screened by a body scanner which is designed to detect items worn or carried on the body. It will detect external devices (external prostheses, insulin pump, stoma or ostomy pouches) on your body, and you will be required to undergo further screening to clear them.

Your privacy protected

An example of the generic ‘stick’ figure produced by the body scannerThe results of a body scan will display as a generic human outline with a box overlay on the area of the body where items are located. If an item is detected, you will be asked to explain what the item is. If it is of a personal nature, you can request this be discussed in a private room and with a screening officer of the same gender. The screening officer may use a hand-held metal detector, an explosive trace detection test and/or a targeted frisk search of the area to security clear the items.

You will never be asked to remove or to show external prostheses, and a screening officer should never touch these items.

Are there any risks with medical devices and screening procedures?

Medical devices are designed and manufactured to international standards that require them to be protected from interference from external energy sources. The Therapeutic Goods Association recommends that if you are using these types of medical devices, to follow the instructions for use provided by the manufacturer. This includes taking notice of any warnings or precautions relating to operating the device in close proximity to other electronic radiation emitting products.