Flying With Rebif


I decided to be brave and go abroad on holiday this year. I take Rebif, the type that has be be kept cold, and I’ve not been through an airport with it since they really tightened up security.

I’ve got the letter from my MS nurse and the drug company, but what do I do with the syringes at security, do I have to put them temporarily in a clear plastic bag while they scan them?

I really have no idea and would be really grateful if you could share your experiences. Many thanks

Travelling by aircraft seems a daunting experience for anyone Disabled in wheelchair or not, but in reality it isn’t it can be a seamless experience as you are helped every step of the way, (that’s not meant as a pun).

I worked for British Airways for 26 years, as such travelled to many parts of the World. In fact in 1988 I travelled twice around the World, some 48,000 miles in 5 days on aircraft, sponsored for Charity. Not something I would recommend but shows you it is possible.

Stick to these guidelines and you will really enjoy the experience. First on booking your flight tell them you would like assistance from check-in to the gate. This could be a wheelchair with someone pushing or a lift on a Golf type buggy. The gate could be over one mile away so don’t think your doing any favour’s by not asking for help. The aircraft has a certain slot for take off, if you are late because of walking difficulties, THE AIRCRAFT HAS TO GO without you, otherwise it costs mega bucks.

If you have problems walking down the isle when you get aircraft side, no problem, quite a few aircraft now have small wheelchairs especially to take people up and down the isle. If you can’t walk whatsoever, no problem, tell them and facilities will be put in place from check-in to take you to the aircraft by ambulance, high lift you to the aircraft and trained medical staff to lift you in the seat. The golden rule here is ‘tell them.’

With some airlines you can pre-book your seat. If so get one that has more leg room and near the toilets, probably a bulkhead seat. The Civil Aviation Authority has made a ruling that no Disabled person can have a seat by an Emergency Exit for obvious reasons.

If for some reason you get to your destination and your wheelchair is missing or worse still damaged it is the airlines, or should I say good airlines signed up to something called the Haig Protocol to restore or repair your chair, see the airlines staff.

I remember I went to San Diego from Gatwick once and they left my chair behind. I was in a rush had to go down to Tijuana and the only one they had to loan me had a large sign above my head saying ‘AVIS Rent a Car.’ The times I was stopped in my Hotel by people saying “hey fella, where can I get a car.”### ### Have a good time, don’t worry as far as flying is concerned your husband will be looked after.

Equipment used for his disability eg wheelchairs; crutches travel free. I have no idea if this extends to a travel kit but I would think they were being rather padantic if they charged; mind you I would be very careful with so called ‘budget airlines.’ Give you airline a ring to clarify.

Don’t forget your EHIC card

As far as your injections are concerned you have all the documentation required. Yes declare everything; no problem but whatever DO NOT put your DMD in the hold baggage; might get lost.

### George

Hi Rosie - I have travelled many times with rebif and it’s been a breeze. No problems at all so don’t worry. I have a GP letter detailing all my meds including catheters which contain a minute amount of water. My little rebismart needles I have never put in a clear bag. Some airlines say you need to declare needles at check in and to air hostesses . I have had some weird looks from check in staff when saying i have needles which I have interpreted as so what you telling me for!!! So never mentioned to cabin crew. When going through security I always say that I am travelling with meds but have a doctors letter. Only twice I have been stopped - once to look at the ice block things the second time for some candles I had bought!!! Like George never in the hold. Cruise ship provided me with sharps box and offered me a fridge Don’t worry and have a fantastic holiday . Being nosy where are you going??? Hugs Minxx

Hi, I always mention to the check in staff that I have sharps i.e. medicated syringes in my hand luggage. I don’t take them out of my normal Rebif bag but I do put it separately through the scanner. Sometimes security ask me about it and sometimes they don’t. As long as you have a customs letter from your drug company, then you’re ok. I’ve haven’t had a problem to date. As for keeping the drug cool, how long is the flight? I’m using the new injector which has Rebif cartridges so unless I’m going away for more than a week, then I don’t need to worry about keeping it cool once the cartridge is in it. If more than a week, then have to take a spare set of cartridges and this can be hard work to keep cool on a long flight even with the cool packs. I have asked cabin crew to help out before now so that might be worth doing. They don’t have fridge but they do have storage for ice buckets etc. if anyone else sees this and has an idea as to how to keep the drug cool, that would really help! Have a lovely holiday!

Rebif is fine at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. I use FRIO bags for the cartridges - they keep the contents at room temperature no matter the external temperature. If I’m going for more than 2 weeks or if the dates mean that I’ll need 2 extra cartridges with me and not one, then I make sure that there is a fridge where I’m going and I take a fridge thermometer with me to check the temperature (mini fridges are often too warm - if that’s all you have and it’s too warm, ask to use one of the hotel’s fridges; they’re used to it because of diabetics having similar problems with keeping meds cool).

It’s sensible to take an extra cartridge with you - I nearly got stuck abroad when the Icelandic volcano erupted in 2010 and I didn’t have spare meds: very stressful!

You don’t need to put meds into a clear bag. At least, I never have and security have never bothered; I just tell them that there are meds in my bag and they wave me through (normally with a look of utter boredom). They’ve also never asked to see a letter - probably best to have one just in case, but I have to confess that I don’t bother any more.

Have a fab holiday :slight_smile:

Karen x

Slightly hijacking this post (sorry!) but it’s a similar problem. I’m on Avonex and we’re off to Spain for a week in October. I’ve got the cool bag and cool packs from the drug company. I only need to take one injection with me. I’ve got a little card that comes with the information booklet that needs a doctors stamp on it. The needle for the injection is separate to the injection. By the way, I work in a GP’s surgery, are they really going to know if I use a stamp from here? I can’t see them having time to phone up and check!

If I put the needle safely in my washbag in my checked in luggage and take the injection on the plane in the cool bag as hand luggage, will the little card that says I’m travelling with Avonex be enough information for security? The needles are in a sealed packet. We’re flying from Gatwick with BA. It won’t matter on the way back as the injection will be used by then and I have planned to wrap it up securely in a towel in my suitcase and put it in a sharps box when I get home.

It certainly makes travelling a little more complicated!!


Hey Lynne - I would be tempted to use GP stamp from where you work but my honesty head would kick in and I wouldn’t. Why don’t you ask your GP for a travel letter about your meds and needles. They do it all the time - mine did cost me £20 mind. No I wouldn’t put needle in hold I have had so many suitcases go missing. My meds co rebif provide small nifty sharps boxes for travel. Security have hardly ever caused me bother. Once when my GP travel letter was a year out of date and also stopped for some very suspicious candles I was carrying- lol!!! Sorry also once interested in freezer blocks - no bothe really Have a fantastic holiday Hugs Min xx