An estimated 90,000 people in the UK live with long-term catheters according to Incontinence UK. Designed to support those living with incontinence, catheters offer the freedom and convenience for individuals to live their day-to-day lives.
If you are considering travelling by plane with your catheter bag, you may be wondering whether this is possible. This article answers the question ‘can you fly with a catheter bag’ and explores the necessary steps you should take when doing so.
What is a Catheter Bag?
A catheter bag is, essentially, a urination bag, allowing for urine to be stored as it is drained through a urinary catheter (a flexible tube inserted through the urethra) out of the bladder. Often, individuals who have a catheter bag have urinary retention (are not able to urinate easily) or urinary incontinence (cannot control when they urinate) either temporarily or permanently.
Catheter bags allow for free movement and attach conveniently to the leg, which is why they may also be referred to as a ‘leg bag’. Those wearing a catheter and catheter bag can hide them beneath clothes during day-to-day activity.
Can you Fly with a Catheter Bag?
Yes, you can fly with a catheter bag. Catheters are a necessary medical device and can be taken on the plane with you in your checked baggage without any problems.
Other necessary items, including hydrophilic catheters with sterile water, or lubricants, can be taken on board in your hand luggage but they must comply with flight regulations, including no liquids above 100ml.
Travelling with a catheter bag doesn’t often cause any complications whilst flying, but, you can take steps to ensure that you remain comfortable and well when taking long-haul flights, which we detail in the section below.
Advice for Travelling with a Catheter Bag
When travelling with a catheter bag, there are steps that you can take to ensure your journey runs as smoothly as possible. If you’re travelling long-haul, we would advise travelling with a permanent catheter so that you don’t have to empty your catheter bag every few hours, which may be difficult in small aeroplane toilets.
Ensure that you travel with spare catheter bags, catheters, and any other necessary equipment, in case of delays or other unforeseen issues, and that these are accessible at all times. Carrying spare hand sanitiser, soap, and wet wipes are also advised in the case that a sink isn’t available.
Finally, calling your airline and airport security ahead of time will keep everyone informed during your journey, providing you with the support you need before and during your flight. Assistance may include instructing you where to go at security or helping you choose a suitable seat during the flight, to help you have a stress-free experience.
With a catheter bag, the thought of flying may be daunting, but, by ensuring you are adequately prepared and that you purchase appropriate travel insurance to cover you in case of any mishaps, you can remain stress-free and well during your journey and enjoy your travels.
If you have a catheter bag and want to ensure that you have appropriate medical insurance that will cover any medical emergencies related to your condition, you can purchase this from Navigator Travel. Get in touch to find out more about the insurance policies we offer.