pills being put into a daily pill reminder container.

Pills do not necessarily need to be in their original bottles when flying. However, carrying them in their original bottles is best to avoid any issues or confusion with airport security. 

Also, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) doesn’t require passengers to carry their pills in original bottles. However, various countries have certain laws that require pills to be carried in their original bottles.

That said, I’d advise you always to carry pills in their original bottles and keep a record of all prescriptions, especially if they are heavier narcotics. 

Related: Does the FAA Check Pilot Medical Records?

How should you take pills on a plane?

There is no restriction on the number of pills or liquid medication you can bring on to planes, as long as it is screened. You can take your medications on board in your carry-on baggage as well as in your checked bags. You should pack all your medications in your carry-on if you need access to them immediately.

Does TSA look through pill bottles? 

Airport security screens and inspects luggage before it is approved for transport. Medicine or pills are also x-rayed, but the passenger may request a visual inspection.

However, the TSA does not typically look inside pill bottles. Solid pills in bottles are not individually inspected, but pills in liquid form are checked. TSAs regulations are fairly simple and easy to follow:

  • Keep pills in your hand luggage or in your checked luggage: All medications must be kept safe in your carry-on, your luggage, and even in your purse. This is because you can easily access them and do not have to rummage through your luggage to find them. Solid pills do not need to be checked, but liquid pills do need to be checked by a security officer. Also, the dosage of liquid pills on the flight cannot exceed 3.4 ounces. Therefore, the pills (solid and liquid) must be appropriately packaged.
  • Prescriptions must undergo an x-ray screening or visual inspection: This is usually done for liquid medications. It is always advisable to inform a security officer if you are carrying pills in liquid form to avoid confiscation of your pills. Liquid pills are fragile and can possibly become contaminated if exposed to x-rays. Therefore, it is best to ask for a visual inspection at the checkpoint to ensure that your pills are safe.
  • It is unnecessary to present or declare medications: Since your pills go through the standard X-ray screening, TSA security officers do not ask for them. However, some officers ask for them anyway to make sure they are safe. Also, your flight could be delayed if your pills are found to be controlled substances.
  • Pills do not have to be in prescription bottles: As I mentioned earlier, the TSA does not have to find your pills in their prescription or original bottles. This is especially true for solid pills, which are allowed with or without the original bottle. You can travel with them as long as they are properly packaged and secure.

If you want to travel to another country, you should check the security regulations of that particular airport. Regardless, I recommend that you take your pills in small amounts to avoid unnecessary delays. Only take enough to get you through your trip.

Can you take unmarked pills on a plane?

TSA laws are fairly simple and allow passengers to bring all types of drugs and vitamins. 

However, that doesn’t apply to security agencies in different countries. If you’re carrying unlabeled pills, you may be denied entry to your flight and possibly accused of having illegal pills on you. 

This isn’t likely going to happen, don’t want to make you aware of what could possibly happen. Just be careful, and double-check before you go.

There are some inherent risks with traveling with unlabeled medication. So if you want to carry unlabeled pills, here are a few things I recommend keeping in mind;

  • Find out the security regulations at the airport of the country you want to travel to.
  • Have a pharmacy or laboratory verify the authenticity of the pills. (or just carry them in their original bottles or packaging
  • Keep a record of all pills purchased while on your trip to avoid certain frustrations at the airport.
  • Keep the pills safely packed in a good container.
  • Make sure you go through the airport security with enough time before boarding the plane. 
  • Although taking unmarked pills onto the plane is not a crime, it’s not 100% safe to do so. You might encounter an official who could use them against you. Play it safe.

How do I take pills on a plane?

So it’s best to stay out of trouble and avoid taking unmarked pills on planes.

Pills can be taken in various ways, forms and compositions on airplanes. However, these pills must be thoroughly screened before they can be taken on the plane. Subsequently, the pills may also be transported in liquid form. Additional medicines in liquid form include;

  • Aerosols (inhalers).
  • Gels, ointments and creams.
  • Medical packs such as IV (intravenous) bags, ice packs or gel packs.

These are all allowed on airplanes, especially for asthma patients and patients with heart attacks. Besides, screening is just an exercise to avoid certain unpleasant circumstances. These include terrorism, drug trafficking and many more.

Besides, it’s best if you obey the security officials and go through the screening process to avoid problems. Also, note that the transportation of pills is usually allowed only if the proper procedures are followed.

Can you take unmarked pills on a plane?

The TSA allows travelers to bring all types of medication on board, including vitamins, despite unmarked containers, but be sure to check local laws as they might differ from the TSA’s.

Can I bring Ibuprofen or Tylenol on a plane?

You can pack Tylenol, Ibuprofen, vitamins, and other over-the-counter medications and vitamins in your carry-on luggage. You can also put the pills in a pill reminder and not have to have them in their original bottle.

Can you take liquid medicine on a plane?

3.4 ounces or more of liquid medication in reasonable quantities is allowed in carry-on bags. Medically necessary liquids do not need to be stored in zip-top bags. … As long as it is screened, you may bring unrestricted amounts of medication, whether in pill or solid form.

How do I pack liquid medication for a flight?

You can carry liquid medication greater than 3.4 ounces in your carry-on luggage. If you have questions about the medication, tell an officer during screening. Remember that liquid medicines may need additional screening, especially in quantities over 3.4oz. 

As a recap

Do meds have to be in their original containers when flying? No rule requires travelers to have their medications in their original prescription bottles, so traveling with your pills in a pill case or some other container is fine. In addition, unless you are taking liquid medication, you will not have to inform the officers about your medication.

I hope this article helped. 

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