Asthmatics use a variety of inhaler medications to control their breathing. Although regulations posted at the United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website say that all these inhalers are allowed on airplanes, it is wise to take certain precautions when packing them in either carry-on or checked luggage.
The TSA says prescription medications, in general, are allowed in carry-on luggage. However, the medications must be in their original pharmacy packaging labeled with the passenger's name. Passengers who don't have their inhaler package with them will likely risk delays during the screening process.
Passengers should bring along a letter from a physician explaining the medicine's purpose and verifying that the doctor prescribed it for the passenger.
Bagging the Inhaler
The passenger shold pack the inhaler and any assistive device, such as an aerochamber, in a one-quart, ziplock plastic bag. In general, if a medically necessary item weighs more than 3 ounces or is not in a one-quart bag, the TSA says it must be declared to a security officer at the checkpoint for inspection.
The TSA is required to X-ray medication and medical supplies. However, before the screening process begins, a passenger may ask security officers to visually inspect the inhaler and any associated equipment if they want to avoid X-raying it. Instead of touching the medication and equipment, the TSA website says, the security officer will ask the passenger to "display, handle, and repack" the materials in order to avoid contamination and breakage.
The website Medicine Net says that non-prescription medications can also be carried aboard, but the passenger should keep them in their original packaging. It adds, "Take small packages containing the amount of medication you might reasonably expect to need while traveling."