My Asthma Had Me Stopped By Airport Security

Back in May, I joined NEXUS, to enjoy expedited service (aka shorter lines) going through airport security in Canada and the United States (you can also use it by land, except I don’t drive, and I am not often driving with other NEXUS members). Last week I used NEXUS for the first time. A friend going to a completely different place had a flight an hour before mine, and we met at Starbucks prior to our flights (I don’t mind going early to the airport, especially when I could buy my friend a Pike with toffee nut before he moved away. I didn’t even cry on him, thanks). I asked him how long it had taken to do security on a Monday morning—start to finish, he took 20-25 minutes, and I took 11. So that paid off. Nothing was amiss—my backpack of candy, medicine, nebulizer, iPad and keyboard and I sped through security and I proceeded to have an excellent flight. Pre-approval FTW.

Departing Calgary, my friend Jessica and I both entered the NEXUS line with our cards and boarding passes.  I tossed my backpack and stuff into a tray behind Jessica, just like I had in Winnipeg—with the exception of the agent asking to see my medication, and when I almost sent it through the scanner with the pencil case I use open, she actually told me “I’d close that, it’s dirty in there.” which cracked me up. Jessica and I passed through the metal detector and waited on the other side, where they took some extra time checking out her bag with the x-ray machine as we waited after walking through the metal detector. I peered over as they moved onto my bag, noticing them checking out my nebulizer compressor in my backpack. I used to take it out but nobody cared so clearly that’s what I get for not removing it!

Our bags got pushed out of x-ray land, and both of our bags got manually inspected—Jessica's for a roll of kinesiology tape we’d just purchased at Rexall (mine was in my checked luggage), and mine for… Drumroll please… My nebulizer.

I’ve honestly been waiting for my neb compressor to be screened for a long time. When I peered over at the x-ray screen, I knew exactly what they were looking at. As the security officer pulled my tray off the conveyor and told me he was going to check it out, I told him “I have a nebulizer for asthma,” then followed him down the belt. He was super nice, by the way, and as he began opening my backpack I said, “Of course, it’s right at the bottom of my bag.” I probably apologized because I’m Canadian that way.

He swabbed the neb for explosives, and of course, it was fine. (Although when I was checking in for my flight I did accidentally say that I was carrying dangerous goods—an apparently common mistake people make when checking in on the WestJet app, per the agent I spoke to at the airport! Oops!). Honestly, aside from holding up the line a tad, I could care less if my bag is searched. They probably saw a plastic snake and dinosaur in there, too.

The big question? Well, he found a bag of gummy Jolly Ranchers with the fruit candy goo in the middle and said, jokingly (I think), “Is there less than 100 milliliters of gel in those?"
I couldn’t tell if he was joking, he seemed to be. I just said, “Well, they got through in Winnipeg on Monday?”—more a question than a statement.

So… Nebulizer? Good to go. Gummy candies with gooey stuff in the middle? Air travel grey area.
He let me keep them. ;)

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