Flying with Ostomy Supplies

May 11, 2022 2:56 am


I will be flying for the first time with my pouch. I usually carry a bag with emergency changing supplies when I leave home. Of course, this bag includes small curved scissors. Will it be allowed on a plane and if it's not, do you just pre-cut a pouch and pray it's the right size? My stoma size fluctuates, so if guys have suggestions, they are welcomed and appreciated. I know a lot more than I did back in August when I started this journey, but I still feel vulnerable and lost at times.



May 11, 2022 6:17 am

Hello Catonya702.

The first time I flew with stoma supplies the border force had no hesitation in confiscating my 'special' scissors, despite my protests. if I had known this was going to happen , I would have either left them at home or put them in my main luggage. After that, I had my wafer holes cut to size. However, if your stoma changes then that poses a problem.

Alternatively, after that incident I started thinking of something other than scissors to cut the holes and came up with the concept of 'pastry cutters'. these would probably be okay for a temporary solution but they are usually fixed sizes in a set. I then thought I would try my hole-cutting tool attachment for my hand drill. ( it only worked with a jig to hold the wafer in place) so was too fiddly to be practical.  However, in my shed, I found an old-style cheap hole cutting tool which had a whole set of interchangeable  hole saws. I took the ones that were closest in size to my stoma and ground the saw-edge off until it became a sharpened blade. This worked well for cutting holes and all it needed was hand pressure (although at first I did use a hammer!).

As I see it, the beauty of this cheap DIY system is that there are a range of hole borers that fit in the same device, so if your stoma changes size or shape you would have the option of changing the cutter. 

Having put in all the  DIY work to make something suitable for myself, I then saw that one of the manufacturers of stoma gear were offering what sounded like the same sort of hole-cutting gadget. I'm sorry, but it was a long time ago and I cannot now recall which company it was.   I have found that the larger manufacturers have R&D departments where they experiment with new ideas, so if you contact a few of them, they might have such a device in their store.

The hole boring device is not pointed, like the scissors, so is unlikely to be viewed as a 'threat' by border patrol.

I hope this information is helpful.

Best wishes


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May 11, 2022 7:26 am

I've had my scissors confiscated by airport guards.  I bought new scissors once I got to where I was going.  Coming home, they didn't confiscate them!  I thought about getting a note from my doctor to keep with my ostomy supplies when I traveled.  It would say something like:  These are necessary patient supplies, including scissors, for an ostomy patient.  I have also simply packed my scissors in the suitcase that I was checking rather than on my carry-on.  I never had a problem with my pouch in flight, and the scissors would be back in my possession when I claimed my luggage upon landing.

May 11, 2022 7:43 am

If you are taking a suitcase with you, put your scissors in that. If your stoma size fluctuates that much, then take several different sizes to manage with. You could also contact your airline and airport for assistance. In the UK, I believe that airlines will allow medical accessories without charge, though I have not done so. At my local airport, you can get an ostomate lanyard which allows you to use express boarding and not have to go in long queues for security checks. I suppose you could try plastic scissors, but I dare say security is alert to the danger of plastic knives and might still pull you up. Good luck, Patrick.

Meadow Snow
May 11, 2022 11:33 am

I've been on holiday and flown with my last stoma, this would've been 2013-2015. What I did was I pre-cut several bags before leaving home, and I put my scissors in my checked luggage. If you want to keep your scissors in your handheld luggage (just in case of the very unlikely event your suitcase goes missing) then get your doctor/ostomy nurse to write a note explaining why you need the scissors with you. I also have a travel certificate that Coloplast sent me (which I didn't have with the last stoma) so I'll also be making sure to use that when I go through security next time I go on holiday. And if you do decide to keep your scissors in your handheld luggage, I would also talk to the security agents before sending your luggage through the scanner, make sure they are aware of what you've got with you.

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ron in mich
May 11, 2022 12:56 pm

Hi all, the last time I flew was 2014 to Hawaii and I put my supplies in a large Ziploc and wrote on it "ostomy" and took it with me in my carry-on bag and wasn't a problem.

May 11, 2022 8:52 pm

There is another thing you could consider. I think it's Convatec that makes a pouch that has a 'moldable' hole, that you don't need to cut. You just adjust the size with your fingers. I had a couple samples I tried and it worked pretty well. I didn't end up going with this product for my regular use because I don't really like the way they empty, but it might be something to use just for the purpose of flying.


Past Member
May 12, 2022 1:22 pm
Reply to TerryLT

That's a great idea, Terry.

May 13, 2022 4:31 am


I live in Washington state, and I've flown 3 times since the first of the year. 2 domestic flights, and one international. Each time I packed a backpack for my personal item. (I found a super cute/functional one on Amazon for $20. It slipped over the handle on my rolling carry-on.) I packed an emergency change, including scissors, in my backpack. TSA standards are smaller than 4 inches. I brought the curved-end medical ones. I packed all of my extra supplies in my carry-on. This way, if you get separated from your luggage, you have the essentials. If your airline charges for a carry-on or you need additional space, contact them ahead of time. I flew with Alaska and JetBlue, and they were extremely accommodating. I never paid an extra fee, and I was allowed to board first. *bonus*
Going through customs is also really simple. Just state you have an ostomy when you go through the scanner. A couple of times they had me pat down the area where my ostomy was, and then check my hands for explosive residue. They were always kind and respectful.
Let me know if you have any other questions.

May 17, 2022 12:45 am

Ostomy scissors are not an issue. They have round ends and are way below the TSA regulations for "less than 4" from the pivot point."

As a new ostomate who was concerned about air travel for my recent vacation, I did a lot of online research. I printed out the TSA medical alert card so you can discreetly advise the screeners about your condition, which is going to set off the scanners and require a pat down, and also help with the supplies you may be carrying in your carry-on luggage. FYI, you should pack twice as much as you think you will need and make sure they are in your carry-on in case the airline loses your luggage. Maybe not be as much of an issue domestically because you could probably have supplies overnighted to you in an emergency, but I was traveling internationally.

The pastes and barrier rings technically have to go in your one-quart liquids ziplock, but I was able to package all my supplies in a gallon ziplock and label them as medical supplies. I didn't have any issues. On the advice of another ostomate, I was even able to include a sealed bottle of vitamin water for hydration. I knew that would be a gamble, but it was only a $2 gamble for my 8-hour flight.

I was especially concerned about the return flight because I was traveling internationally and don't speak the language. I found a card online from one of the supply manufacturers that had a simple explanation in multiple languages to carry with me. I packed everything except my emergency kit in my checked bag for the return and did not have any issues or need to use my translation card.

I'm thankful I had no issues but glad I did my research in advance and knew what to anticipate in case I was challenged. The TSA has rules related to medical issues, so you need to know your rights and what you can ask for. There are horror stories out there, but being prepared, knowing your rights, staying calm and polite while you stand up for yourself and your dignity are the key.

Good luck and safe travels!