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Airport Restrictions for Elderly

With all of the changes being made to airport security, what are my parents allowed to take on a plane when they travel? My dad needs to have his heart medication handy.
Mike in Florida, 48

Ever since the terrible attacks on 9/11, there have been many changes to airport security. The most recent changes were spurred by a foiled plot this past summer in England that allegedly involved liquid materials that could be transformed into explosives. Immediately in the U.S., all liquids were banned in carry-on luggage, and passengers weren’t even allowed to carry on any drinks such as water, coffee, or soda. But in September, 2006, some of those restrictions were eased. Passengers are now allowed to carry-on liquids in containers as long as they are contained in a zip-lock bag. In addition, water, coffee, and sodas can be taken onto the airplane as long as they were purchased in the airport terminal after going through security. Be aware that all of these restrictions are subject to change.

I’m happy to report that the new restrictions have no impact on your father’s heart medication. If other medications are in liquid form, just be sure to carry them in a zip-lock bag. I still suggest that your father clearly mark all of his medications. It’s also a good idea to carry a written prescription from his doctor along with a note detailing exactly what each medication is and why it is needed. This serves two purposes: it alerts the security guards that the need for the medication is legitimate, and in the event that your dad loses or spills his medication, he’ll be able to get a refill where he’s traveling.

A final note: If your parents have any special needs such as an aisle or window seat, a wheelchair, or special oxygen while traveling, contact the air carrier in advance and work out the details with them before you go to the airport. Airlines today are extremely accommodating to special needs, but they do require advanced notice.

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