The following information is provided to support passengers travelling with medical items.

It outlines the conditions that apply to medical devices, and when passengers should tell Aviation Security officers they have a medical device attached to their person to avoid misunderstandings.The Aviation Security Service respects passenger’s medical items, especially when attached to their person.

Artificial limbs 

If you have an artificial limb, the walk-through metal detector alarm will go off as you walk through. Following an alarm, you will be screened by an officer with a hand held metal detector or via a body scanner.

If you are screened by an officer with a hand held metal detector, before they begin, it is important you let them know you have an artificial limb. The officer will need to confirm this by:

  • Requesting you lift your sleeve, trouser or dress hem to show the artificial limb; and, or
  • Running their hand over the sleeve, trouser or dress that is covering the artificial limb

If you are screened through a body scanner, you do not need to tell the officers before you enter that you have an artificial limb, however once you have exited, it is important you tell the officer conducting the search.

Following the body scanner you will be subject to a pat-down search. This involves an officer, of the same gender, running or patting their hand over the clothed areas of your person. You can request this search occur in private, out of the view of others.

Breast prosthetic

If you wear a prosthetic breast, you do not need to tell the officer before entering the walk through metal detector, as it may not trigger the alarm.

If the alarm goes off, you will be screened by an officer with a hand held metal detector or via a body scanner. If you are to be screened by an officer with a hand held metal detector, you do not need to tell them of the prosthetic breast. However, if you are to be subject to a pat down search you may want to tell the officer of the prosthetic and have the search undertaken in private.

If you are screened through a body scanner, you do not need to tell the officer before you enter that you have a prosthetic breast, however once you have exited, it is important you tell the officer conducting the search if there is an alarm over the breast area.

Following the body scanner you will be subject to a pat-down search which involves an officer, of the same gender, running or patting their hands over the clothed areas of your person. You can request this search occur in private, out of the view of others. 

Colostomy bag

If you use a colostomy bag, you do not need to tell the officer before entering the walk through metal detector, as it may not trigger the alarm. If an alarm goes off you will be screened by an officer with a hand held metal detector or via a body scanner.

If you are to be screened by an officer with a hand held metal detector, you do not have to tell the officer unless the metal detector alarms in vicinity of the colostomy bag. If they request to view the colostomy bag you can request this occur in private, out of the view of others.

If you are screened through a body scanner, you do not need to tell the officer before you enter that you have a colostomy bag, however once you have exited, it is important you tell the officer conducting the search.

Following the body scanner you will be subject to a pat-down search which involves an officer, of the same gender, running or patting their hand over the clothed areas of your person. As part of this process the officer may request to view the colostomy bag. You can request this search occur in private, out of the view of others.

Medical electronic devices

Advise your airline if you need to take a medical device to use during the flight, e.g. continuous positive airway pressure device.

If the medical device is powered by lithium batteries check they do not exceed 8g or 160 Watthours [Wh].  If they do, they cannot go onto a plane.

If the battery exceeds 100Wh, you need the approval of your airline.

If you do not need to access the device during the flight and it is being carried as checked luggage it must be turned off and packed to prevent damage.

Metal implants

If you have metal implants you do not need to tell the officer before entering the walk through metal detector, as the metal implants may not set off the alarm.

Following an alarm you will be screened by an officer with a hand held metal detector or via a body scanner.

If the hand held metal detector alarms over the area the metal implant is located you may be subject to a pat down search.  Tell the officer you have a metal implant.

If you are screened through a body scanner, you do not need to tell the officer before you enter that you have a metal implant, however once you have exited, it is important you tell the officer conducting the search.

A pat-down search involves an officer of the same gender, running or patting their hand over the clothed areas of your person.  You can request this search occur in private, out of the view of others.

Oxygen tanks

You need the approval of your airline to take oxygen gas cylinders onto their aircraft.

The oxygen gas cylinders cannot exceed 5 kilograms and the valves and regulator must be protected from damage.

Liquid oxygen systems cannot go onto a passenger aircraft.

Pacemaker

If you have a pacemaker how you are screened will depend on the medical advice you have received.

If the medical advice is that you should not be screened by metal detectors tell an officer and request a pat-down search.

If the medical advice is that you can go through the walk through metal detector but the area of the pacemaker should not be screened by a hand held metal detector, the officer will screen you using the hand held metal detector except the area where the pacemaker is located.  You can place your hand over this area.  The officer will use their hand to check the area.

You may be required to be screened through a body scanner.  There are no known safety concerns for people with pacemakers undergoing a body scan but if you have concerns you can request a pat-down search.

A pat-down search involves an officer of the same gender, running or patting their hand over the clothed areas of your person.  You can request this search occur in private, out of the view of others.

Wireless medical devices

If you use a wireless medical device e.g. glucose monitoring system, it will trigger the walk through metal detector’s alarm.

Following the alarm, you must tell the officer that you have a medical device attached to your person, that you are in possession of a receiver that will be damaged if X-rayed, and the transmitter and receiver must stay in close proximity to the each other.

The officer may request to view the device and subject you to a pat-down search. You can request this occur in private, out of the view of others.

A pat-down search involves an officer, of the same gender, running or patting their hand over the clothed areas of your person.  You can request this search occur in private, out of the view of others.

Mobility devices (wheelchairs)

You must contact your airline for approval to take a mobility device onto their aircraft.

What happens if I have a restricted item in my luggage?

You will be asked to relinquish all dangerous goods and weapons found in your luggage, carried contrary to the restrictions. If you refuse:

  • you will not be permitted to move through the screening point, and
  • your airline will be advised of your refusal.

How does Aviation Security screen for restricted items?

We use a number of security measures, including x-raying bags to make sure there is nothing dangerous in them. If something is seen on the x-ray that needs checking, the bag will be opened, searched and any dangerous goods and weapons located will be removed.

 Ask Avsec

If you have any questions about this topic, use our contact form, or email reception@avsec.govt.nz