Cass’s Travel Items When Flying with Sickle Cell Disease

Hi I’m Cass. I live with sickle cell disease (hbSS) and love to travel domestically and internationally. Here is what I travel with to keep me healthy while I am flying.



Medical equipment

Request a High Altitude Simulation Test (HAST) from your doctor/pulmonologist to track your oxygen saturation based on altitude. This test will determine whether you will need to fly with oxygen.

  1. Portable Oxygen Concentrator (POC): You will need a prescription from your doctor to be eligible to fly with a POC. This can be rented or purchased. Insurance may cover costs.
    1. Nasal cannula
    2. Charging cords
    3. Extra batteries
    4. Doctors note for POC
  2. Power bank: To ensure you can charge your POC or other important devices.
  3. Pulse oximeter: To measure your oxygen saturation while flying.
  4. Wearable (apple watch): To track your general health

Staying healthy

Make sure you stay as healthy as possible while you’re flying. These items are to minimize sickle cell symptoms and general health.

  1. Medications: Travel with meds in your personal item or any item that will not be checked in to ensure the airlines do not lose your medications.
    1. Daily meds/supplements
    2. Pain meds
  2. Snacks: Make sure you have food to take medications
  3. N95 mask: To ensure you do not pick up germs while traveling and get sick while on your trip
  4. Disinfectants: To ensure you do not pick up germs while traveling and get sick while on your trip
  5. Water bottle: Flying is dehydrating, so you will need to drink extra water and anticipate extra bathroom breaks

Travel clothes (dress in layers)

  1. Shirt
  2. Sweater/sweatshirt
  3. Jacket/coat
  4. Hat
  5. Scarf
  6. Compression socks – Great for blood circulation
  7. Comfortable shoes

Staying warm

  1. Hot water bottle
  2. Electric hand warmers

Pro tips

  1. Roller luggage: Don’t carry any personal items. Use a roller luggage to carry that wait when traveling to conserve your energy
  2. Travel with disability placard if renting a car: All U.S. states recognize each other’s disability placards, and many countries have partnerships that will also recognize disability placards from other countries