I had a chance to chat with my friend Kevin Mc Carthy in between segments today on his Travel Planners radio show. Of course he’s always full of good stories and bad jokes, but I found today’s conversation particularly interesting because it had to do with an access issue.A few years back Kevin was in pain, but couldn’t really take any time off from traveling. Kevin’s doctor said he could travel, but advised him to get one of those instant ice packs to use on the airplane. And to his great surprise (and mine too) he found that it contained Ammonium Nitrate — you know that stuff they use to make bombs. Immediately he wondered if he would be allowed to take it on the plane.
Good question, Kevin.
Of course he called all around, but the closest thing he got to an answer was “You should be able to take it.” Well Kevin went back and forth debating the whole issue, and finally decided to give it a try. He was of course questioned about the ice pack at the security checkpoint, and when he explained why he needed it, they gave him the green light. According to the TSA officer, Kevin answered the question correctly. If he would have said that he needed it to keep his beer cold, he would not have been allowed to bring it on board.
Which pretty much follows the whole TSA attitude about disabled passengers — if you have a medical need for something, even something that could be considered dangerous, in most cases they will allow it through security. The key phrase here is “medical need”.
So although those ice packs are allowed on the plane, there’s another quick fix if you forget yours. Just ask the flight attendant to fill up a Ziploc bag with ice, and you’ll have an instant ice pack. After all, you should always carry along a healthy supply of Ziplocs, as they’ve got a gazillion great travel uses.
And if you want to hear a great travel show, give a listen to The Travel Planners. Here’s a list of affiliate stations that air the show.