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Travellers with special circumstances

​The Department understands that some travellers may have special circumstances and has provided for alternative screening methods to be used, where appropriate, to ensure that all travellers are afforded respect and dignity throughout the screening process.

If you require assistance or if you have a prosthetic, medical device or medical equipment, it is recommended you inform the screening officer before you begin the screening process. If you have a letter or supporting documentation from your doctor or healthcare professional, you can show this to the screening officer at this time. This will assist the screening officer to select the screening method that is the most appropriate for you and your circumstances.

If you have any questions or are uncomfortable at any time throughout the screening process, you can ask to speak with the on-duty screening supervisor. You can also provide feedback about your experience by contacting the relevant airport directly.


Travelling with medicines, medical devices or medical equipment

Medicines you can take in your carry-on baggage

Domestic flights

You can take prescription and non-prescription medicine onboard domestic flights. However, if you are connecting to an international flight or your domestic flight is departing from an international terminal, limits apply.

International flights

A reasonable quantity of prescription and non-prescription medication (including special dietary and therapeutic products such as fish oil tablets) is allowed under the powder, liquid, aerosol and gel restrictions.

A reasonable amount is considered an amount to cover the duration of the flight, allowing for any delays. Screening officers will have the final say on the amount permitted. It is recommended that you take in your carry-on baggage only what is needed for the flight and pack the rest in your checked baggage. If you plan to bring medication onboard, it is recommended that you:

  • obtain supporting documentation, such as a medical identification card or a letter from a doctor or healthcare professional. The letter should itemise any prescription and non-prescription powder, liquid, aerosol or gel medication, (for example, ice or gel packs used to regulate temperatures), or the need for hypodermic needles.
  • check the restrictions for medicines and medical devices before you travel.
  • have medication and accompanying documents ready for inspection before you arrive at the security screening point.

For prescription medication, make sure the name on the prescription label matches the name on your boarding pass or the name of the person travelling in your care.

Medical devices and medical equipment you can take in your carry-on baggage

Medical devices and medical equipment are exempt from the powder, liquid, aerosol and gel restrictions that apply for international travel. These may include:

  • gel-filled external breast prostheses
  • personal supplemental oxygen
  • items used to regulate the temperature of prescription medications or devices, for example ice packs or gel-filled heat packs

Medically-required hypodermic needles are exempt from the prohibited item restrictions that apply for domestic and international travel. You must present the needles and supporting medical documentation to screening officers at the security screening checkpoint and to cabin crew as you board the plane.


Travellers who have a mobility aid, prosthetic, medical device or medical equipment

If you have a medical device or medical equipment, it may streamline the screening process if you have a letter or medical identification card from your doctor or healthcare professional that describes the device or equipment. It is also recommended that you talk with your doctor, healthcare professional or check the manufacturer instructions for guidance on whether the medical device or equipment is suitable for screening by body scanner technology or X-ray technology. If the device or equipment is not suitable for screening by body scanner or X-ray, make the screening officer aware of any restrictions before beginning the screening process.

Body scanners are designed to detect all items worn or carried on a person’s body. This will include prostheses and medical devices or equipment, such as an insulin pump or ostomy bag. The results of a body scan will only display a generic image of a human body and use a box overlay to outline which area of the body has alarmed.

Screening officers must be satisfied an individual is not carrying any prohibited items or weapons before the individual can proceed beyond the security screening checkpoint. If an alarm is triggered, the screening officer must conduct additional screening and is permitted to use methods that include hand-held metal detector, an explosive trace detection test or a targeted frisk search of the area to resolve the alarm. The screening officer must not remove, attempt to remove, or interfere with the medical device or equipment, or ask you to remove the medical device or equipment.

Where an alarm has triggered in relation to the area where you are wearing or carrying a medical device or equipment, you will be asked to explain whether you have any items on your person and what the item is. If you do not wish to discuss this at the security screening checkpoint or if you want any additional screening to be carried out away from public view, you can request a private room and a screening officer of the same gender.

If you have a mobility aid, such as a cane, crutches or wheelchair, and cannot hold the required pose(s) for the body scanner equipment, the screening officer will carry out screening using an alternative method(s).


Travellers who are hearing or vision-impaired

Hearing-impaired

  • Screening officers may use hand signals to gain your attention.
  • Hearing aid devices such as cochlear implants, external component of cochlear implants and middle ear implants will not be affected by metal detectors or body scanners.
  • You will not be required to remove your hearing aid device before being screened.

Vision-impaired

  • Screening officers will communicate each step and guide you through the screening process.
  • You may be offered an alternative screening process.
  • Canes cannot be taken through a body scanner. If you cannot be separated from your walking aid, you should inform the security screening officer who can arrange for alternative screening.
  • If you are travelling with an assistance animal, you will not be separated from them at any time throughout the screening process. The screening officer will carry out screening using an alternate method(s), and will ask your permission before undertaking an inspection of your assistance animal. Screening of your assistance animal will include a check of its collar, harness, leash and vest. Any items which can readily be removed may be screened using X-ray equipment.
  • Where it is necessary for screening officers to search your belongings, they should place the items back in their original location so they can be easily found again.

Travelling with children

Security screening for children and infants

Children and infants must undergo security screening. The screening method used will depend on whether the child can walk unassisted through the security screening checkpoint and the height of the child. Infants carried in a child carrier must be removed from the carrier before undergoing security screening.

Child carriers, including strollers and prams, must be screened along with other carry-on baggage. Many airlines have limitations on what items can be brought onboard an aircraft due to space and stowage constraints. If you are unsure, check with your airline before you travel.

Carry-on baby products

Domestic flights

There are no restrictions on the amount of powders, liquids, aerosols and gels you can take onboard a domestic flight for a baby or infant. However, if you are connecting to an international flight or if your domestic flight is departing from an international terminal, limits apply.

International flights

You are allowed to carry onboard a reasonable quantity of inorganic powder, liquid, aerosol or gel items on an international flight if you travelling with a baby or infant. There are no quantity restrictions for organic powders such as powdered baby formula.

Baby products allowed may include, but are not limited to:

  • baby milk, including expressed breast milk and powdered formula
  • sterilised water
  • juice
  • baby food in liquid, gel, powder or paste form

What is a reasonable quantity?

The quantity should be consistent with what may be required for the duration of your flight(s) and any possible delays. Screening officers have the final say regarding what is deemed a reasonable quantity. You may need to surrender some of your baby items if it has been decided that it is an excessive quantity of inorganic powder, liquid, aerosol or gel items for the flight.

If travelling without a baby

You may only take expressed breast milk onboard an aircraft in containers of 100 millilitres or less and no more than one litre in total. If you are carrying other liquids, such as toiletries, these items will count towards the one litre limit. It must be contained in a transparent, re-sealable plastic bag where the four sides add up to no more than 80 centimetres (e.g. 20x20 cm or 15x25 cm). Only one bag per person is allowed.

Expressed breast milk in larger volumes may be carried in a suitably insulated container in checked baggage. There are no restrictions on powder, liquid, aerosol or gel items for checked baggage.

For more information regarding travelling with powders, liquids, aerosols and gels or the security screening process more broadly, see:


Travellers with cultural or religious requirements

The Australian Government expects screening authorities to screen all passengers with respect and dignity. Selection for security screening is not based on gender, ethnicity, religion or employment. Screening authorities train staff to assist passengers with specific cultural or religious requirements.

Screening process

Screening officers must be satisfied an individual is not carrying any prohibited items or weapons before the individual can proceed beyond the security screening checkpoint. We understand that some cultures include elements of clothing in their religious observance. This may include hats, caps, and other headwear. A screening officer may ask you to remove the item for examination. The officer cannot force you to remove it, but may not clear you through the security screening checkpoint if you refuse. You may request the use of a private room to remove the item, if you wish.

Carrying religious items

Australian law may class some religious items as prohibited items or weapons. If you are not sure, pack these items in your checked baggage, or make other arrangements to transport these items to your destination.


Transgender passengers

The Australian Government recognises that travellers who identify as transgender may have specific concerns and questions about the screening processes used at Australian airports.

Body scanners

Australia's domestic and international airports use body scanner technology to screen passengers. Most body scanning equipment used in Australia features gender-neutral screening. However, some body scanning equipment may require the screening officer to select the gender of the person being scanned, which is often based on the traveller’s external appearance.

As with all passengers, additional screening will be required if the body scanner alarms. Screening officers must be satisfied an individual is not carrying any prohibited items or weapons, and are permitted to use additional search methods, such as a frisk search or explosive trace detection. If you do not wish to have this additional screening conducted at the security screening checkpoint, you can ask the screening officer for a private room. If a frisk search is required, you will be asked to consent to the process and be offered a private room.  At any point during the screening process, should you have any questions or feel uncomfortable, you can ask for a different screening officer to conduct the screening or ask to speak with the on-duty screening supervisor.


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