Tips For Flying With Breast Milk
How to Travel With Breast Milk On A Plane
Updated April 2020.
Transporting breast milk can be made easier and less stressful with a bit of knowledge and understanding of airport policies. Air travel with breast milk usually requires dry ice (a dangerous good) to keep it frozen. However, flying with frozen breast milk is still considered a liquid, so occasionally, the same airport rules regarding liquids apply. This usually applies if your baby is NOT flying with you.
Another consideration is whether you can bring dry ice into the aircraft cabin. Whilst airports have their own policies about what they will allow through to the boarding gate via security, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) DO permit up to 2.5kg per passenger (under certain conditions), it is ultimately up to the individual airline whether they will permit items such as dry ice into the cabin.
In all cases, when flying with frozen breast milk and dry ice, do check with your airline in advance, print out the policies for the airlines and relevant aviation authorities, emails (see the below chart for details) and all other relevant paperwork.
Always allow extra time at the airport. Passengers travelling with dry ice in the cabin, is not a common procedure for many airlines, so they may need to double check with seniors or manuals to verify the process.
Below are airport security regulations to help you plan air travel with breast milk. I approached the airports and airlines directly for this information. Be aware that countries policies vary greatly, so don’t be caught out!
- Is there a limit to the amount of breast milk you can travel with?
- What watertight containers will you use to transport your breast milk?
- Will your airline/airport allow dry ice or cool packs? If neither use a Ziploc bag and fill with ice cubes which are easy to replenish at the airport and on the plane.
- Where can I pick up/purchase dry ice?
- What documents do I need? If you are flying within the USA, print out this information sheet from the TSA showing transportation of breast milk is allowed.
Airport regulations for flying with breastmilk
ALL American airports
The rules for flying with breast milk remain the same whether your infant is accompanying you or not. Formula, breastmilk and juice in qualities greater than 3.4 ounces or 100ml are allowed in carry-on baggage and do not need to fit within a quart sized bag. Please pack these medically necessary liquids in a way you can present them for inspections at the check point. Please inform officers of your medically necessary liquids and place them in a separate bin from your other items.
ALL Australian airports
“Passengers travelling without their infant or toddler may only take expressed milk on board an aircraft in containers of 100ml or less and contained in a transparent, re-sealable plastic bag that has a total volume of no more than one litre. Expressed breast milk in larger volumes may be carried in a suitable insulated container in checked-in luggage.
ALL Canadian airports
Passengers flying with or without their child will be permitted to bring breast milk in quantities greater than 100ml provided it is presented to the Screening Officer for inspection prior to screening.
Gel or ice packs are also permitted. Dry ice may be permitted if certain conditions are met. Dry ice may be transported with the approval of the air carrier, in carry-on baggage or in checked baggage. Quantities of dry ice must not exceed 2.5 kg per person and the package must permit the release of carbon dioxide gas. When carried in checked baggage, each package must be marked – DRY ICE or Carbon Dioxide Solid and must indicate that the net weight is 2.5kg or less.
Changi Airport -Singapore
It must be stored in 100 ml bottles or breast milk storage capacity bags, as long as the max capacity is not more than 100ml. No more than 1 litre can be brought inside the cabin. Dry ice will not be allowed on board.
This is governed by international regulation (ICAO). While technology and processes used may vary from airport to airport, all liquids and gels must be screened and their state, quantities, temperature, packaging etc. controlled. Some of these international regulations are paraphrased/outlined below (although please check with ICAO and/or IATA to confirm).
- The passenger must declare the nature of any carried liquid to the airport security and airline.
- The airline is responsible and must agree to carry any liquids.
- The temperature of carried liquid is also regulated, so a small variation can affect the screening process. (E.g if it is a frozen solid.)
- The hygiene of the liquid must remain undisturbed.
Frankfurt – Germany
If the baby is not travelling with you, then the 100ml limit must be complied with for hand luggage.
Expressed breast milk of breast feeding mothers travelling without their child is exempted from the 100ml requirement. To facilitate the screening process, you should present these exempted items separately to the security screening officer for x-ray inspection at the check point.
London Gatwick LGW – UK
If a passenger is not travelling with an infant, they are permitted to bring up to 2 litres of breastmilk.
Dry ice (carbon dioxide, solid), is allowed to keep breastmilk frozen according to IATA EU regulations. It can be brought in the cabin and hold in “quantities not exceeding 2.5 kg per person when used to pack
perishables not subject to these Regulations in checked or carry-on baggage, provided the baggage
(package) permits the release of carbon dioxide gas. Checked baggage must be marked “dry ice” or
“carbon dioxide, solid” and with the net weight of dry ice or an indication that there is 2.5 kg or less dry ice.”
London Heathrow LHR -UK
Expressed breast milk over 100ml is permitted even if the child is not travelling up to a maximum limit of 2000ml/ 2 litres. You can bring dry ice, but in a small amount and you will be asked to explain the reasoning behind this. However at LHR, there is no need to bring dry ice with you as they have an agreement with the retailers, that once you are airside you can get the ice for free. Make sure you contact the airport before hand so you can make sure your milk is correctly packaged for the hold.
Paris – France
First option, if the milk is packed in dry ice and put in the hold, the passengers must get the information from their airlines.
Second option, if the passengers bring it on as hand luggage with ice cubes, they must present to the security agent a relevant certificate written by a doctor or lactarium or other authority which confirms a special dietary requirement. In this case, the passengers must show it to the security check staff member. Without any certificate, the passengers will not be able to travel with it.
If you are not breastfeeding, powdered milk and liquid formula can be brought on board over 100ml. At some UK airports you can pre order milk and supplies from Boots a week in advance and pick up after security, hopefully making your time in line a little shorter.
|Country||Breastmilk allowed also when NOT traveling with an infant.||Frozen Milk Allowed in hand luggage||Frozen Milk Allowed in hold luggage||Extra information|
|Australia||Yes, up to 1 litre||Yes||expressed breast milk onboard an aircraft in containers of 100 millilitres or less and no more than one litre in total. 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. 20×20 cm or 15×25 cm). See Home Affairs information here.|
|Canada||Yes||Yes||Yes||Dry ice is permitted with the approval of the air carrier|
|Germany||No – must be under 100ml||Yes||Yes||Lufthansa permit dry ice if under 2.5kg.|
|Singapore||Yes||Yes, but no dry ice.|
|United Kingdom||Yes, in containers up to 2,000ml/2 litres||No||Yes||Gel packs are permitted to keep milk cool. See UK gov regulations here For Dry ice information see LHR and LGW above this table.|
|U.S.A||Yes||Yes||Yes||Ice packs, freezer packs, frozen gel packs and other accessories required to cool formula, breast milk and juice are allowed in carry-on. The FAA limits passengers to 5.5 pounds (2.5 kgs) of dry ice in a carry-on or checked bag, but the package must be vented and marked as dry ice. The FAA stipulates that you must get airline approval before flying with dry ice. Tip: Additional non-hazardous ice packs (blue ice, gel packs, etc.) can be used to supplement the dry ice. However, for carry-on baggage, if the product contains any liquid or gel in excess of 100 ml (3.4 oz) per container, the TSA security rules require that the product be in the frozen state (i.e., solid) when the passenger goes through security screening.|
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