Traveling with Type 1

Here is part of the story of our recent travel with my 5 year old son with T1 and our not so pleasant experience.  Hopefully no one will have these same problems, but, you might like to be aware that this happens.  As I had read in the books preparing for our trip, I knew that the plane ride could cause lows, so I had our juice boxes ready in the backpack.  Sure enough, an hour into our flight (2 1/2 hour flight) my son's numbers were low, so I treated him with a juice box.   Of course after drinking a juice box, my son needed to go to the bathroom.  Well, the captain had put on the fasten seat belt sign because we were into some turbulance.  We still had an hour left in the flight, so I knew we needed to get to the bathroom before then.  So, we went to the back of the plane, the doors to the bathrooms were closed and marked as occupied.  We were told by the flight attendant to go sit back down.  I told the flight attendant that my son has diabetes and needed to use the restroom.  He told me that the fasten seat belt sign was on that I needed to get back to my seat.  I explained to him again that my son has diabetes and had low blood sugar, was treated with juice and subsequently needed to use the restroom.  He told me that it was not safe for us to be out of our seats, to please go back and be seated!  I was so angry that I told him that I had a doctor's note explaining my son's condition and that I believe there is a law that permits anyone with a medical condition access to a bathroom.  (At this point, I was ready to be arrested myself if needed, I was so angry!)  The flight attendant then looked at the other flight attendant, shrugged his shoulders and finally opended the door for us.  Luckily, we didn't get kicked off the flight or anything, and I am not sure what laws apply in the sky, but I thought this was outrageous that I had to argue with the flight attendant to allow my son to use the restroom.  Not to mention, as a 5 year old, my son didn't need to hear an altercation between his Mother and a flight attendant as to whether he could perform a bodily function or not!  I will be looking into the laws further, before flying the "friendly skies" ever again!

WOW!  I'm so sorry you had to go through that.

I am planning to take my son on a plane for the first time this summer.  I have read all kinds of books and lists of things to have for a flight.  I never thought of the bathroom being an issue.  People in a public service should know some basic information about diabetes and other illnesses.   I'm also always upset when I have to pull out the diabetes card in a negative encounter.  I know when it needs to be done but I always feel I shouldn't have had to argue to the point of " I believe  it's the law".  And sadly, I have had to say it.

I hope the flight home was better and your trip went well.  Thanks for the post.


Actually the ride home was just as exciting.  Except this time it was before we got on the plane, it was the security people.  My son's endo told us to pack extra supplies, because we are allowed to.  Since my daughter is a year younger, 4 years old, we packed 4 juice boxes and 2 water bottles.  That way, if my son needed juice(or water),  I had an extra for her, because right now, there is so much jealousy.  Well, let's just say that the security woman that we got stuck with decided that she wanted to make someone have a bad day and we were in her right place at her right time!  Even with the letter from the doctor stating that we were allowed to have juice boxes with us due to diabetes, the security lady claimed that it is FAA regulations that each child with diabetes is limited to 2 juice boxes on a direct flight because the airline can supply appropriate means of food and drink should we need it.  So she confiscated 2 of the 4 juice boxes and 1 bottle of water.  She then took the gel cool pack that was packed to keep the juice cold and claimed that it is illegal to travel with.  My husband told her that it is also keeping the insulin cool and she said that since the insulin was not directly in the same area of the ice pack, that it was not meant for the insulin, it must have been for the juice.  We then asked for a supervisor, whom seemed to shy away from the security lady and only gave us a card with an address that we could write a complaint letter to.  I think the supervisor was scared of this lady too.  My husband asked for her to explain the policy and where he could find the written policy and the lady told him to step back and calm down.  My husband had not even raised his voice, he just wanted information.  The supervisor then told the lady to give us our things and asked us to please go to our gate.  So, beware of the security people too!

Ugh. Security people trying to exert their power rather than serve their customers! Gel packs are NOT illegal. I know from traveling with breastmilk (without my baby). Go to the TSA site and get the security regulations and bring the copy with you the next time. It is sad that you have to do this, but at least you will be better prepared to argue (or at least will know if they are right!). And write the complaint letter. You will not probably find out if it does any good, but none of her supervisors will ever know if you don't document your bad experience with this person.

And about the flight attendant - you should have asked if he was going to come clean up the mess after your son had an accident! Said with a smile, that might have gotten you into the bathroom faster because it would have been a negative consequence for him directly!

Wow.  We just went to disneyland and did not have any trouble like that - in fact, they did check my backpack on the way back because I had inadvertently left a cool pack (one time use) in it from a day at the park.  It was not in the same bag as the insulin at that time (that one went right through with plenty of liquid) so they checked all the contents of my backpacklooking for whatever had shown up on the xray.  When they found the pack I said - whoops, that was for keeping her insulin cool at disneyland but we don't need it any more, you can toss it - but they just gave it back and let up go on our way - with a smile no less. 

I am sorry you had such a bad experience.  What a sad lady that gets her enjoyment in life from tormenting people, especially people that have enough torment already.

You know, you can't count on an airline to have enough of anything, what if you had gotten stuck on the tarmak, what if they only had juice/soda your son hates.  I have been on flights where the food etc. was late and we took off without it.  What then?

I am new to this site but I was enfuriated when I read your posting.  I absolutely see the need for securtiy measures at airports( I happen to work at one) But there needs to be a common sense factor applied especially when there are children or elderly involved. Don't get me started when medical comes into play. We travel a lot so I have learned to allow extra time and not to react, I simply state that my daughter has diabetes (actually all you have to say is a medical condition and they can't even ask you what because of HIPPA laws)and wait for their response. If they indicate I will be restricted in any way I merely ask for a supervisor and say nothing more until one is at hand. As for the airline, I always get my family settled on the plane then find a flight attendant and explain that it might be necessary for my daughter to use the restroom due to her diabetes(this really all depends on wether it is a long flight or not and how her numbers have been running prior to boarding the plane). They give you the standard safety line but they also don't want to have to clean a seat full of ...   My daughter is now 12 so things really get smoother as they get older but there will always be something. I always get names, security agent, ticket agt, gate agt, flight attendant, I always send a note wether it is good or bad, I enjoy sending the good ones more of course.

 My husband used to joke when we traveled checking to make sure the boxing gloves were packed.

Dont be discouraged especially if you dont travel a lot just pack all your patience in one bag and courage in the other(so you dont want to break down and cry)

Hope your next trip goes more smoothly.


My experience with Airport Security people is $10.00 an hour emlpoyees trying to feel like they own the world. As with everything else our government has used a bad experience to take away freedoms and rights from the average person and like the lemmings this society has become they've gone right along cause they want someone else to take care of them instead of relying on themselves, it makes me sorry for spending 20 years in the military for what my country men to hand over everything to people you wouldn't trust to watch your kids for 30 minutes! You can justify it all you want to yourself but deep down you know that's the game they play!

Thank you for your service and you are right I wouldnt let any of them watch my children for a minute.     Where were they employed prior to 9-11? Now they know exactly how to thwart terrorism.  HA-HA