Pheniox, Boston, La, Santa Anna, San Diego, New York, and Georgia.
It seems that each airport has different views on how to clear me.
Putting you pump in your carry on is not advised at it is exposed to x-rays, or pack insulin in checked luggage, the cargo hold gets very cold and could freeze it. (I had a Pump Malfunction error after going through the reg. screening I had to get a new Pump)
In Boston, I was told I could only have 10 synginges ! Really ! Pheniox and Atlanta were the worst, was taken aside behind a curtined area and had to lift my shirt to show then the inserting site, and have everything tested for “bomb” powder. Thank Goodness I had the insertion just above my waist. (I am female and usually inset the infusion below the waist and the CGM above) NC, I had to have all of my luggage splilled out on a exam table, to be examined. And I HAD a MD note to carry the equipment. —- I also forgot my insulin, so my MD had called a local NC pharmacy and they were able to give me one vile.
My trip to NY needed to be extended a few days longer than I expected. I went to a local Drug store (same chain I have at home) and was able to get some insulin and syringies based o the rx I had on file. ON a local overnight trip I forgot the syringes and was able to get 10 w/o an RX. I did show him the insulin bottle.
on a trip to San Diego for my son’s Grad, from the Marines, Medtronic overnighted me a loaner pump, and a week of related supplies because my luggage got lost. (They charged me for the loaner pump) and charged my ins for the supplies.
Now I carry everything in one carry on, with a note from the MD. Because this is necessary medical supplies they can not limit you to the one carry one rule. This bag does not count, this also goes for food I carry with me for long fights as airport or plane food is not often on my diet.
Every trip is a different experience some easy as pie, some more difficult than it should be.
Now that my son lives in another state and I fly out to visit him I will often mail him a box with some supplies I will need and limit what I carry on. I also carry a current RX from my MD for insulin pens and needles, and will search for a drug store for the area I am going to, within the same chain I use here at home. It reduces the hassles.
I am planning a trip in a few weeks and I have been told that security is very high, in the three airports I will need to be in. I have been told to expect issues.
I agree with you that all airports are different so I always allow a little extra time to ensure whatever process the people have in place can be followed. Also, the awareness of pumps and diabetes equipment has certainly become greater at most airports. Last year I got a known traveler number so I am always in the TSA pre-check line and this has helped alot in terms of being cleared quickly. The cost is $85, but if you are a frequent traveler it is well worth it. You get this number at any airport – I good use of time if your flight is delayed!
Insulin pumps and CGMs ought not go through airport X-ray or body scanners, don’t let security bully you into doing anything different. I never disconnect, I infuse insulin 24 hours a day, I just show up a little earlier than I used to and go through the manual pat-down process. Before they start, they ask about any painful areas, and I point out where my infusion set and CGM sensor are located. If I’ve thought about it when I placed them, I’ve put them where I can lift my shirt and show them; if not, they’ll offer to take the inspection to a curtained or closed-off room for privacy. They always ask me to handle my pump, then they check my hands and the pat-down gloves for residue, that’s just part of the show.
I do over-pack a bit, normally carrying 2-3x what I need. I’ve got a flat, insulated lunch bag to carry my insulins (Humalog and Lantus, so in case of any pump problems I can go back to multiple daily injections until they can overnight me another unit) and a hard plastic blue ice pack to keep the insulin cool that they hand-inspect during that pat-down. HALF of my other equipment and supplies–syringes, empty insulin cartridges, infusion sets, BG meter, alcohol swabs, bottle of glucose tabs, and a few protein bars–go into a carry-on that goes through the X-ray; the other half go in my checked luggage, just in case one gets lost or stolen.
Travel prep does take longer when you are using a pump, to the extent some people are willing to take a ‘vacation’ from pumping during short trips. Not me, the safety benefits of pumping and CGM far outweigh a little extra travel inconvenience.
Attitude is everything with the TSA. It’s a miserable job for them, too, but if you take the lead–show up a little early, be nice and polite (but firm when it comes to anything that jeopardizes your health), and respect that they’re just people trying to keep their jobs and keep air travel safe–it’ll work out okay!
I have traveled on airplanes many many times for business and fun.
I agree that different airports are different. I don’t have a pump or CGM so that makes it easier I’m sure. I don’t even try to bring juice anymore. I just buy a bottle once I get inside security. More expensive, but easier. I also don’t bring ice packs or anything for my insulin. It’s OK as long as it doesn’t get over 86 degrees. I carry it in my carry on. I don’t even take it out or mention it. I put my blood tester case with enough syringes to make the trip in my carry on and pack the rest in my checked bag.
I don’t tell them anything. I just go through like everyone else.
Of course, your mileage will vary.
my experiences in airports have been different…. even at the same airport! I live in the Hampton Roads area in Virginia so frequently fly out of Norfolk. Each time I have gone through TSA there (and it’s been often during the last 5.5 years), I’ve been treated differently. It honestly depends on the TSA people working. One time through, I had a (male) TSA agent recommend I bring juice in bottles that can be recapped instead of juice boxes. Another time, at the same airport, I almost got in a full out fist fight with a (female) TSA agent because she wouldn’t let me on the plane with my juice even WITH a letter from my endocrinologist declaring it a medical necessity. She kept telling me that I could ask a flight attendant for juice if I was experiencing a low, so I asked her if a flight attendant is allowed to help a passenger during take off or landing when EVERYONE is supposed to be buckled in. No thanks, I’ll take my juice with me.
When I flew out of Detroit a few years back, they didn’t seem to care about ANYTHING. I had my belt (which normally should come off, i just forgot I was wearing it) and when my juice got to the xray machine, they just asked whose it was an I said “mine, i’m a diabetic” and they essentially shrugged it off.
Flying out of boston once I got stopped going through the walk-thru xray because of one of my bracelets. The TSA agent said to just unclasp it and it will be fine to go through again. and it was.
I have come to learn to expect at LEAST a hand swab. One time I got the full treatment of getting a pat down (I was asked if I wanted to go behind a curtain but I said nope, do it right here so plenty of people can see), my carryon bag searched, my hands swabbed, the walk-thru xray, and the wand x-ray.
I always have a current medical declaration letter from my endocrinologist. I put ALL of my diabetes supplies in a clear gallon plastic bag and put it on TOP of all the crap in my bin for the xray so they can clearly see its medical stuff. I currently wear a tubed pump, but i don’t plan on unattaching. I have gone through the walk-thru xrays (both the old fashioned ones and the new fancy ones) with no issues with either DexCom or pump.
Its things like this that are the reason why I like to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to my flight’s departure. You never know how long or short the TSA line will be or what kind of mood the TSA agents will be in or how knowledgeable about diabetes they are.