Taking medical equipment and medications onboard
If you need to take medical equipment and medications onboard, there are a few important requirements to review before flying.
On this page
If you need to use medical support equipment onboard, as well as providing a travel clearance form (PDF), your equipment must be authorised as safe for use on our aircraft. More information on Qantas authorised medical equipment can be obtained from the medical support equipment list (PDF). No other equipment can be accepted. Any medical equipment used on our domestic services must be battery operated.
Onboard use of Continuous Positive Airways Pressure (CPAP) devices (both battery operated and electric) requires Qantas clearance, but doesn't require clearance from a medical practitioner. Simply complete the CPAP travel clearance form (PDF) and email to Qantas Special Handling. We'll review and make the necessary arrangements for you.
Strict safety rules govern the operation of electronic equipment onboard aircraft. Hearing aids and heart pacemakers are allowed.
- Inspection prior to your flight: medical equipment to be used onboard must be made available for inspection a few hours before departure and approved for use onboard. Normal carry-on baggage regulations apply to any medical support equipment to be used inflight.
- Notice periods: we need time to process clearances and make arrangement for special equipment. You must inform us and provide any clearances for travel up to 72 hours before your intended flight.
- Supply of equipment: you must supply all medical equipment that you require to travel safely. Remember to bring any medication that may be needed in your carry-on baggage.
We can provide stretchers onboard most aircraft. All charges (including the cost of ambulance transfers, change fees and cancellation fees etc) are the responsibility of the passenger.
Customers requiring stretcher services must:
- Contact Special Handling at least 72 hours prior to departure for international flights, and 48 hours for domestic flights, to confirm availability of stretchers.
- Contact Special Handling at your local Qantas office for medical clearance.
- Supply any medical equipment required to travel safely (for example respiratory devices). This medical equipment must have the approval of Qantas Special Handling.
- Arrange any necessary ambulance transfers.
Passengers requiring medical and mobility equipment for their own use may also check in medical or life dependant equipment and two pieces of mobility equipment without additional cost. Visit mobility assistance for further information on travelling with assistive devices.
If any of the above requirements (including stipulated time frames) have not been met by you, we reserve the right to deny uplift or carriage on the relevant flight until all our policy requirements have been met.
We will not accept liability or responsibility for any costs associated with denial of carriage, for example, hotel or hospital costs. However, you and any accompanying passengers will be able to use any unused portions of your ticket on a future date, subject to availability, and only once all policy requirements have been met.
Taking medications overseas
If you're taking medication and want to travel with it, you may need to carry a medical certificate. Make sure that you check the consulate website of the countries you are visiting before you go and carry all medication in your carry-on baggage.
What do I need to do?
- Contact the embassy of the country or countries you're visiting to ensure the medication is legal in that country;
- carry or enclose with the medication a letter from your doctor, with details of the medication, how much you will be taking with you, and stating that the medication is for your personal use;
- leave the medication in the original packaging so it is clearly labelled identifying the medication, manufacturer's name or pharmaceutical label, along with your name and dosage.
It is illegal to take Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) subsidised medication out of Australia for reasons other than for personal use. For more information visit Medicare Australia.
Bringing medications into Australia
Generally, a visitor to Australia may bring up to 3 months' supply of their prescribed medication without the need for an import approval or permit. However, some medications are subject to permits or import licence approval. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) issues import approvals to Australia for drugs which require a permit or import licence or for medication exceeding 3 months' supply.
We aren't able to refrigerate insulin or other drugs onboard. If your medication requires refrigeration you can carry onboard a small cooler. The cabin crew can replenish the cooler with ice as required.
Allergies and anaphylaxis
Because of the wide variety of possible allergens to which a customer may be sensitive, and the fact that our other customers may bring allergens with them, we can't guarantee an allergy free environment onboard or in our lounges. For this reason, we recommend that you carry any allergy medication you may need with you, including adrenalin auto injectors, in the cabin of the aircraft, keep them within easy reach and be ready to administer the medication if necessary.
We're aware of the challenges of peanut allergy sufferers and where possible seek to minimise the risks of exposure to peanuts through:
- The removal of peanuts as a bar snack on all our flights and from our owned and operated lounges.
- Minimising the use of peanuts or peanut based products in our inflight menus.
- The provision of an extensive range of special meals inflight that are specifically designed not to include peanuts or other nuts, or products of peanuts or other nuts in the preparation of the meal.
- Passengers may also be served a range of other nuts including almonds, cashews and macadamia nuts as bar snacks or after dinner snacks.
If you are carrying hypodermic needles you will need to declare them at the screening point. Under Australian law (and in accordance with international practices) hypodermic needles are classified as prohibited items within an aircraft cabin unless you can demonstrate a bona fide need to have them in your possession. You are therefore required to carry documentation and identification to confirm that the needles are required for a medical condition.
We allow you to carry needles onboard to cover the period from initial uplift and any on carriage until you are reunited with your checked baggage. Qantas doesn't object to the carriage of a small additional supply of needles within the cabin as a contingency for any unforeseen events. Needle supplies in excess of your inflight travel requirements should be carried within your checked baggage where there is no restriction on the number of hypodermic needles you may carry.
Not all airport screening points are managed by Qantas and screening authorities may have policies that differ from this policy. We can't accept any responsibility whatsoever in circumstances where screening authorities confiscate needle supplies in excess of what they consider appropriate for travel. It's recommended that when your travel includes overseas locations you contact the relevant authorities to confirm any carriage restrictions.
For more information about travelling with Diabetes visit the Australian Diabetes Council.