Taking medication on a flight warning

Hi all

I hope i have these details correct as fed back by parents.

Regardless of whatever changes you hear about my 10yr old daughter fell foul of airport security at Gatwick last week after my mum tried to take her large bottle of piriton on the plane as she has a nut allergy. No problems with other meds but as piriton was overlooked and not on medical letter no way was it going to be allowed to travel total jobsworth at security but hey can understand why!

Bottle was bigger than 100mls(?) Fortunately mum was able to buy a smaller bottle once past security but a warning to all those flying check your bottle sizes and more importantly make sure your dr's letter states all medication that needs to travel in hand baggage with you!


16 Replies

  • Thanks Marmite.

    I have managed OK with my Drs letter about asthma , s/c & epipens and then taken my repeat slip with me.

    Pitty they don't make piriton single dose sachets.

  • I get a GP letter now covering everything as i couldnt take my oramorph through a couple of years back and had a job and half getting iot over there as it was a controlled drug then ....it isnt now but still as hard to get !!!

    ALways carry GP letter ,repeat scripts and all meds in original packets /bottles.

  • marmite did you no you can get piriton in tablet form and they are really tiny so she wont have a problem swallowing them. i beleive there are both piriton tablets and the piriteze tablet ( different form of the antihistimine but seem to treat the allergy just as well) at least you could always use the tablets to cover the journey and pack the liquid form in your main luggage if this is allowed


  • Lil tinx, I think the piriton tablets have an azo dye in ( one of the E numbers) which can affect quite a few people who are sensitive to colourings whereas the the syrup is e-number colouring free I think. Some people can't swallow small tablets esp if you are getting itchy especially a throaty allergy itch.

    Are you allowed to decant syrup into a small container and label it yourself? Would Jobsworth accept that?

  • According to the FAA, as long as the container holds 100ml or less, the baggage handlers won't give two hoots as to what is in it! In fact, if you didn't label it, you'd have even more chance of getting through untroubled. Perhaps decanting it but keeping the original Piriton box (folded flat) in your hand luggage with it would be the best bet?

  • Piriton brand tablets contain E172 an Iron Oxide rather than an azo dye. I used to have the syrup for years but it contains a preservative which used to make my skin worse! On the syrup note if it's on prescription I know my pharmacist in Boots used to make up a smaller bottle of it for me to carry around in my bag and would print a label off for that bottle too!

  • Piriton syrup is on prescription so she just took the bottle given by chemist, mum offered to decant into smaller bottle but was a total no. Due to her additional needs she can't swallow pills of any sort. It was all fine given there is a boots at airport!

    PeakSteve is correct it was purely the size of the bottle that was the problem not what was in it hence warning to other travellers!

    Other meds were on letter and no problem whatsoever.

  • The only problems I've ever had with airport security were by my own doing, when I came out with 'it's hardly a bomb!' when thy were being funny about seretide. Never again...

  • sorry my suggestions were completely rubbish and all together usless , i should have thought a bit more about it more i posted it i no those things . sorry. but glad you mum got it sorted

  • Advice from a frequent flyer!

    If your meds are labelled with proper Pharmacist's prescription labels and your name on, and you are carrying a document from your medical practitioner (GP hospital etc), then regardless of the 100 mls rule, you wont be stopped from taking them on board in your hand luggage. My letter states that it is medically necessary that I have them with me in case my condition deteriorates.

    I fly transatlantic, frequently, with nebs, epipens, oxygen, a wheelchair, stick, the whole shebang. My prescription includes supplementary feed drinks which come in 330ml bottles and which I need to have during the day/flight. I also carry a huge (250ml) bottle of cetirizine (Piriteze) syrup

    The worst I have had at LHR this year, was the jobs worth who insisted on reading every item's label and ticking it off on my letter (from Debbie at RBH)-took ages, and I built up quite a queue of unhappy passengers behind me. But wouldn't we all rather be safe than sorry in this world?

    Even with all the signage, it's actually the people who still think their 500ml bottle of water will be undetected in the xray machine-that snarls up the system more than me and my extensive medical hand luggage and letters!


  • Hi

    This is from the TSA website:

    Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions


    You may bring all prescription and over-the-counter medications (liquids, gels, and aerosols) including petroleum jelly, eye drops, and saline solution for medical purposes.

    Additional items you may bring include:

    Liquids including water, juice, or liquid nutrition or gels for passengers with a disability or medical condition;

    Life-support and life-sustaining liquids such as bone marrow, blood products, and transplant organs;

    Items used to augment the body for medical or cosmetic reasons such as mastectomy products, prosthetic breasts, bras or shells containing gels, saline solution, or other liquids; and,

    Gels or frozen liquids needed to cool disability or medically related items used by persons with disabilities or medical conditions.

    You are not limited in the amount or volume of these items you may bring in your carry-on baggage. BUT if the medically necessary items exceed 3 ounces or are not contained in a one-quart, zip-top plastic bag, you MUST declare to one of our Security Officers at the checkpoint for further inspection.

    For more information on these measures, please read our memo outlining our policy. Changes in Allowances for Persons with Disabilities at Airport Security Checkpoints (PDF, 101 KB)


    My daughter has a liver problem and takes 10 medicines a day all in liquid form, we took 10 x100 ml bottles in my hand luggage, I put them in the clear zip bags and gave them to the security guy who just checked they were labelled and that the name on the bottle was travelling...no problems...

    Truly x

  • Are inhalers part of the liquids allowance?

    I have always in the past put my 2 inhalers in a clear plastic bag, seperate to the one with my toiletries in and have passed through security with absolutely no issue whatsoever.

    After a weekend visit to Belfast when I only took hand luggage I was stopped at security and told that I did not have any additional allowance for my inhalers. I dealt with her by questioning whether that would be discrimination to reduce my liquids allowance purely because I have asthma and also pointed out that I'd gone through security at the same airport with the same bags previously with no trouble. She looked a little embarrased and let me through.

    I've been searching airline websites to find out what the truth is in this matter and they are really vague. Does anyone know if inhalers are supposed to go in the same bag as other liquids or if I can take them in a seperate one?

    It's a little thing and it's bugging me.

  • I flew to Dublin a few months back and never even gave it a thought, just stuck everything in the hold. But will need to find out as planning a long trip soon, and hope someone can answer this. Checked insurance, and as long as I have no more than two asthma medications to control my symptoms then no special clauses apply, and no hospital admission in the last 12 months. Great one thing less to sort.

  • I didn't think there were any inhalers that were 100ml or larger in size anyway. Remember, the limit is 100ml *per item* - there's no overall limit on how many liquid items you can carry.

    I think any customs official who takes issue with you having two clear plastic bags rather than one is being incredibly picky, but is it really a major problem to stick all of your liquids into one bag for the few minutes it takes to pass through customs?

  • There is a limit on the quantity of liquids that can be taken in cabin baggage - everything must fit within a single resealable 20cm x 20cm plastic bag. However, I've flown from Heathrow and Bristol with inhalers in a second plastic bag or left in hand baggage (loose/boxed) without any problems or being asked for a doctor's letter (although did pack a repeat slip).

    From the BAA Heathrow website:


    ""Exceptions to the 100ml rule can be made for baby food or milk. However, you should only carry what you need for the flight, and you will be asked to taste at least 50% of the containers at security control.

    Exceptions may also be made for medicines. However, you may be asked to taste any liquid medicines, or to provide evidence (such as a doctor's letter) that you need them for your journey.""

    If you are stopped without a doctor's letter or repeat prescription slip (and the liquids bag is already quite full!) then pulling out the canisters and putting them in the single bag would probably work within the rules.

  • Have wandered around a bit more on the BAA website and found this on the FAQs page:


    ""I am asthmatic, can I carry an inhaler?

    Yes you can, but any spare canisters must be in your hold luggage.""

    Although on the AUK website, it's advised that if asthma medicines are checked-in, these should be placed in a heated area of the hold to avoid freezing.


    ""Checked in luggage

    Ideally you should carry all your asthma medicines in your hand luggage. However if you do need to pack some of your asthma medicines in your checked-in luggage, inform check-in staff that your luggage contains asthma medicines that can freeze at altitude and become less effective. Ask check-in staff for your luggage to be placed in the heated area of the hold.

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