How to fly with a stoma bag

Aeroplane window shot
wing and sunset
Photo by Freddy Castro on Unsplash

When I had my last ostomy surgery, a lot of the women talked about all the amazing travels they’d been on and how they were sad they couldn’t travel with a stoma. Their main thought was that you can’t fly with a stoma bag but THEY WE’RE SO WRONG!

We had a really long discussion about all the things you can still do with a stoma and how travelling is still possible. Since having my stoma, I’ve been to quite a few different places and done lots of things, including even going to a waterpark!

Girl sitting out looking over bright blue sea

5 full proof tips for when you fly with a stoma bag

My first tip is to try and book an aisle seat. Whilst I love sitting by the window (gotta get that photo out of the window to post on all of social media!) it just isn’t practical for going to the toilet.

Whilst you probably won’t be emptying your bag more than if you were on land, the bag might get a little bit full of air. Plus, if you’re long haul (or over 3 hours) it’s more than likely you’ll have to empty at least once!

Tip #2 is don’t skip meals. I know it’s hard to know what to eat, especially when you’re crossing time zones, but try and eat regularly like you normally would. That way you reduce the chance of your bag filling up with air and your output will stay as normal as possible.

Don’t forget to get yourself a travel certificate. You can download one from SecuriCare here or give them a ring on 0800 585 125 (New customers) or 0800 318 965 (existing customers). It explains to people about stomas in many languages so if you set the scanner off in security, you can be taken to a different room to be searched and they’ll know what your ostomy is. Luckily, I’ve not had to use it this time but it’s handy to have!

My fourth tip is to think about what you drink before the flight and whilst you’re on it. I try and stay away from fizzy drinks to reduce the air in my bag. Also, whilst the cheeky post flight pint is always tempting, alcohol will dehydrate you (as does being in a plane) so it’s best to stay away from anything which will make you more dehydrated.

My fifth and final tip is to remember to empty your bag before you get on the plane. I forgot to do this once and found I had to empty my bag of air about an hour into the flight. However, on a different trip, I emptied my bag about 20 minutes before we boarded and I was fine. I decided to empty it near the end of the flight but more due to not knowing how long the queue at border control would be and I didn’t want to be uncomfortable.

Girl sitting out looking over bright blue sea

Can I take my stoma supplies on an aeroplane?

One question I’ve been asked about lots about when talking about how to fly with a stoma bag is whether you can take your stoma supplies on board with you.

My biggest tip for flying with a stoma is to split your supplies with half in your hand luggage and half in your main bag just in case either go missing.

Another thing to note is that you can’t take aerosols in your hand luggage on a plane. Therefore these need to go in your main bag. If you’re only taking hand luggage, you can get wipes which will take your bag off – if you’re interested give SecuriCare a ring and they’ll talk you through it!

A big tip for fellow ostomates is to ring up your airline and get a medical waiver letter. This means that you can carry on your stoma supplies on board with you with no questions. If you have other medications or injections (such as Humira) then you’ll have to do it for those as well.

Don’t forget to leave your tips for travelling with a stoma in the comments below! What was your biggest fear travelling with your stoma?

Ostomy section of KTMY sponsored by SecuriCare & CliniMed

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