Know Your Rights: Free Medical Bag When Flying

Did you know that most airlines offer people with medical conditions free medical baggage allowances?

If you take a look at some of the top airlines in the US and Europe, they all offer the same policy regarding medical baggage. The wording varies, but overall, all of the below airlines will allow a medical bag as an additional carry on, free of charge, as long as the bag does not contain any other non-medical items. So you can’t throw your laptop in with your diabetes supplies, but that’s quite ok!

These are the airlines that offer a medical bag as an additional carry on, free of charge:

…PLUS more! If the airline you are flying with isn’t listed above, just give them a call, or check on their website; I didn’t search for all of them!

But why is it important to keep your medical supplies with you instead of checking them? Medical supplies should not be placed in your checked baggage. The chances are slim that your bag will go missing or be temporarily lost, but you don’t want to chance it. Also, the check baggage area is not pressurized or temperature controlled like the passenger area, which is important for nearly all diabetic supplies. Also, your life depends on these supplies, so don’t let them out of your sight.

Who doesn’t want more room for goodies, trinkets and treats instead of insulin and test strips?

Here’s all of my baggage when I was flying from Frankfurt to Minnesota, and back. 

Tip: Invest in a clear, little tote with a clip lid. It should be clear so that TSA can see what’s in it without opening it, if necessary. And a clip lid, because, duh. I’ve been using the one pictured above since 2013 and it fits perfectly in the pink backpack pictured above, plus other miscellaneous supplies. This ensures that everything stays organized, but most importantly STERILE. I also wrote my name, phone number, and address with a huge “MEDICAL SUPPLIES” label.

Did you know this amazing bag allowance existed? What other tips do you have?


*Ryanair – requires a letter from your doctor in order for a medical equipment baggage waiver. See link above.
**Condor – from my own experience in 2015, they offer a free medical bag. But if you’re flying with them, please check again.

P.S. Even though I did the research and offered links above, please check with the airline on what their current medical bag policy is before you get to the airport. I will not be responsible for baggage fees you incur.


      1. That’s great for just smaller or minimal needs but we travel away for 3 months out of country. Husband has many appliances for one of his conditions .I am fragrance chem sensitive so must travel with multiple products that will not cause severe reactions plus I have a cochlear implant and must lug a host if equipment parts etc to insure its ongoing capability . no way we as 72 and 73 year old could carry it on board.
        We create a smaller could be carried on size bag with everything in it and check it in.

        Alaska is generally very accommodating but occasionally agent might not understand that the items ARE medically necessary so be orepared


  1. Thank you so, so much for your wonderful and very useful website! I am form the EU, 23 years old and DT1 since I was 11. I am also on a keto-diet since a year. All the blogpost you posted that i’ve read so far, have helped me tremendously! I love it, amazing that you put your time and energy in this blogs so that other TD1 can be helped ❤


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