Is Stethoscope Allowed in Flight?

Stethoscope is one of the most important medical devices for doctors. It is used by physicians to listen to the heart and lungs, check blood pressure, or diagnose lung problems. But can it be taken on an airplane?

The answer may depend on what kind of stethoscope you are using. If it’s a disposable stethoscope with earbuds (or “earpieces”), then yes! You can bring this type of stethoscope onto the plane as your carry-on baggage in its original packaging without any restrictions. However, if it’s not a disposable stethoscope with earbuds (or “earpieces”) then no; you cannot bring this type on board because they would fall under the category of electronic devices (read here).

What if I have a metal stethoscope?

A metal stethoscope, even powered by batteries is considered an electrical device that falls under rules for traveling with any type of battery-powered medical equipment. Under those rules, these electronics must be carried in checked baggage baggage only.

For persons traveling with a pacemaker – you will need to provide proof that your device is both TSA and FAA compliant. If it’s not, then you won’t be able to bring the device with you on board. You can either check with your doctor or call the airline for more information.

Is there any regulation on how I travel with batteries?

Lithium ion batteries are allowed as long as they’re installed in the electronic device (as intended) and spare lithium ion batteries are carried in carry-on baggage only. Lithium ion batteries that are not installed in equipment must be protected from damage and short circuit. As with most electronics, devices containing lithium battery must pass through x-ray screening.

What about traveling with a stethoscope as checked baggage only?

You can bring your stethoscope as part of your checked baggage allowance with minimum weight and has battery removed. You need to make sure that it’s properly packaged and sealed to prevent damage.

How to properly carry a stethoscope on a flight

Before traveling, it’s important to remember the following tips on how to properly carry a stethoscope on a flight:

  • Pack your stethoscope in hardshell case for protection from extreme temperatures and high altitudes.
  • If possible, consider wrapping your stethoscope in bubble wrap or foam padding for extra protection against impacts.
  • If these are disposable earbuds (earpieces) that come with the stethoscope, then you can keep them attached if they’re not yet contaminated. However, these earbuds (earpieces) will be removed at security checkpoint for separate examination.
  • Secure all pieces of stethoscope to prevent them from becoming loose during flight.
  • To pass through security successfully with a metal traditional-type stethoscope, you may also need to remove the metal parts and place them in a bin separately for X-ray screening. This includes all tubing, diaphragms, bells, and other metal components of your stethoscope.
  • If your stethoscope has batteries, then you’ll need to remove these as well. You can keep them in the device but they must be removed from their original packaging and properly protected from damage or short circuit. It’s best to place them in your checked baggage.
  • In addition, Check the airline regulations regarding medical equipment, as some airlines may have restrictions on what items you can bring on their aircraft

Have a safe flight!