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How to Prepare for TSA Screenings with Incontinence Products

How to Prepare for TSA Screenings with Incontinence Products

Kara Miller |

Traveling with incontinence products can present unique challenges, especially when navigating TSA screenings. The bulk of these products can take up much needed space in your suitcase and lead to additional inspections. In this blog, we will provide practical tips to help you prepare for TSA screenings, pack effectively, and manage leaks while flying to ensure a smoother and more comfortable travel experience.

Before You Travel

Before your trip, it's essential to familiarize yourself with TSA guidelines regarding traveling with incontinence products. The TSA has specific protocols for passengers with medical conditions, including the allowance of larger quantities of medically necessary liquids and the use of the TSA Cares program, which provides assistance during the screening process. Understanding these guidelines can help you navigate security checkpoints more smoothly and reduce any anxiety related to additional screenings. 

 

 

TSA Card

The TSA Notification Card is a discreet way to inform TSA officers about your medical condition or the presence of medical devices, including incontinence products, without having to verbally disclose sensitive information in public. Available on the TSA website, the card can be printed, filled out, and presented to the TSA officer at the security checkpoint. This card helps expedite the screening process and ensures that you receive appropriate accommodations, minimizing any potential embarrassment or discomfort. 

Preparing for the TSA Screening

There are several steps you can take to prepare for TSA screening to ensure a smooth and discreet experience. Arriving early at the airport allows you ample time to go through the screening process without stress. Keeping your boarding pass, TSA card, and identification card in easy-to-access areas can also help reduce stress and simplify the process. In addition to these pre-TSA steps, there are also steps you can take while you are preparing for the screening to make your trip easier. 

Inform TSA Officers Discreetly

When preparing for TSA screenings, you can discreetly inform officers about your medical condition by using the TSA Notification Card. Simply hand the card to the officer at the checkpoint to communicate your needs without drawing attention. If you do not have the card, you can quietly inform the officer about your condition and request a private screening to discuss any concerns away from the public eye. You always have the right to request a private screening for any reason. If you request this, a TSA agent will take you to an enclosed space for your screening. 

Use TSA PreCheck for a Smoother Experience (make comparison chart with clear and global entry)

Enrolling in programs like TSA PreCheck, CLEAR, or Global Entry can significantly streamline the screening process for travelers with incontinence products. TSA PreCheck allows you to pass through expedited security lanes, reducing the need for removing shoes, belts, and light jackets, which can make the experience quicker and less invasive. These lines also often move much more quickly which can help reduce the stress leading up to the screening. 

A person removed air with a vacuum from a space saver bag.

Packing Tips for Incontinence Products

Packing effectively for a trip with incontinence products can help ensure a smooth and stress-free travel experience. In this section, we'll provide practical tips on how to organize your carry-on and checked luggage to make security screenings easier and ensure you have all the necessary supplies readily available. 

Organize Your Carry-On Bag

Organizing your carry-on bag efficiently can make your journey smoother and help you navigate TSA screenings with ease. Here are some tips:

  1. Use Clear, Resealable Bags: Pack your incontinence products in clear, resealable plastic bags. This not only protects the items from contamination but also allows TSA officers to quickly inspect them without having to handle each item individually​ or remove them from your carry on.
  2. Use Compression Bags: Incontinence products can be bulky, use compression bags to save space. These can significantly reduce the volume of your items, making your carry-on more manageable
  3. Keep Essentials Accessible: Place the items you are most likely to need during your flight, such as a few incontinence pads or wipes, at the top of your bag or in an easily accessible pocket. This minimizes the need to unpack your bag in the airport or on the plane​.
  4. Label Your Bags: Clearly label your resealable bags with the contents to make it easy for you and TSA officers to identify the items without opening each one​.
  5. Limit Liquids to TSA Guidelines: Ensure any liquids, gels, or creams you carry comply with the TSA 3-1-1 liquids rule. Pack these items in a separate, clear bag and place them in an outer pocket for easy removal during screening.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your carry-on is well-organized, making the screening process faster and less stressful while keeping your essential items easily accessible.

A woman packs a box for shipping.

Consider Shipping Supplies Ahead of Time

If you are traveling domestically, particularly if you are visiting a friend or loved one's home, shipping incontinence products and other bulky items ahead of time to your destination can help reduce the stress and hassle of airport security screenings. This ensures you have all necessary supplies without overloading your carry-on or checked baggage, making your travel experience more comfortable and efficient​.

Another option is to bring enough supplies in your carry-on for your traveling day, then purchasing more products once you land in your new location. 

For tips on traveling with incontinence, check out this blog!

What to Do If Selected for Additional Screening

  1. Stay Calm and Professional: Maintaining a calm and professional demeanor can help ease the process. Understand that additional screening is a standard procedure and try to remain patient and composed.
  2. Request a Private Screening: If you are concerned about privacy, you can request a private screening. Inform the TSA officer discreetly, and they will conduct the additional screening in a separate area away from the public​.
  3. Calmly Explain Your Condition and Supplies: Clearly and calmly explain your medical condition and the incontinence supplies you are carrying. Using the TSA Notification Card can facilitate this conversation and help the officers understand your needs without requiring you to provide detailed verbal explanations​.

After the Screening

After completing the screening, take a moment to reorganize your belongings and ensure you have all your items. If any of your incontinence supplies were handled or removed from their packaging, check to make sure they are still in good condition. Additionally, use this time to locate restrooms and other facilities you may need before boarding your flight. Staying organized and prepared will help reduce stress and allow you to continue your journey with confidence​.

Additional Resources

For travelers dealing with incontinence, there are numerous resources available to provide support and information. Online support groups and forums offer community and advice from others who understand your situation. 

Additionally, organizations like the TSA provide resources and programs, such as TSA Cares and Passenger Support Specialists, to assist travelers with medical conditions during the screening process. These resources can offer valuable tips, emotional support, and practical information to help you travel with confidence.

Finally, if you experienced a poorly trained TSA agent you can report the incident to the supervisor at the checkpoint or you can submit the concern to the TSA contact center

Join our private Women’s Incontinence Support Group

Join our private Men’s Incontinence Support Group

Useful Links and TSA Contacts

Planning ahead is key to ensuring a stress-free travel experience when dealing with incontinence. By taking proactive steps, such as familiarizing yourself with TSA guidelines, using a TSA Notification Card, and organizing your carry-on efficiently, you can navigate airport security with greater ease and confidence. 

Remember, we often worry that others are focusing on us, but in reality, people are usually preoccupied with their own travels and rarely notice as much as we think. With careful preparation, you can minimize anxiety and focus on enjoying your journey.

5 minute read