Just wondering if there is anything special I should know regarding airports and insulin pumps. I will be leaving on my first vacation since getting my pump and I hadn't really though about it until now. Thanks!
i fly a lot, so here's my opinion:
it's a complete hassle to me to declare my diabetes (pump, insulin, stuff) to the body scanner operator, so I disconnect it and put everything in my carry on before i get to the machine. then I go through and re-connect it. done. if TSA has a problem with my insulin, stuff, whatever, it means they will search your bag by hand and so that's when I say - "I have sharps and insulin". and offer to help them and show them where it is. I have never had a problem flying weekly for 2 years. One body scanner op saw me take my pump off and offered "you know you don't have to do that" and I said there weren't many agents that knew what a pump was so it's just easier for me than to have to explain it every week.
the other way is to get in the special line and tell them you have a pump and supplies they will pat you down and swab your liquids, maybe even your meter and pump and test it for explosives. takes 2x as long. just saying.
more importantly have fun on your vacation. but here's what else I have picked up along the way
take extra everything, flights get cancelled and you'd be amazed what you can drop.
if you are going to a remote place, bring a backup system in case your pump falls in the ocean or breaks, a backup might be your old long acting insulin and syringes, or even a "loaner pump". MM would have hooked me up with a loaner pump when I flew to China, but I decided to take lantus and syringes. My endo hooked me up with "sample" lantus.
i once though I was going to have to change in infusion set in flight, good thing I had everything in my carry on.
people have reported nightmares with TSA getting nosy and asking for individual Rx, for everything you carry. never happened to me but I always either have the original bottles with individual Rx, or I know the Rx and how to confirm it if I am ever asked.
flying makes me run high, might be different for you. I use a temporary basal.
aaaaand, don't forget to have fun!
oh yea, Gina just posted the official information in the Forum
Thanks for the info!
Travelling usually takes little longer with the pump supplies. As Joe explained beautifully, always bring double what you need, spread out, and have a backup plan in case of a pump failure. I leave my pump on through security because I was told that the pump should not go through the x-ray scanners or whatever when they check your carry on, shoes and so forth. I carry a letter from my endo explaining that I can carry syringes and other supplies, however no one has ever requested this document (still always nice to have anyway). I am from Canada and have flown to the US and even the Caribbean with no problems. An officer got confused in Cuba when I didn't take my pump off when asked me once or twice to do so, but another security agent came over and explained it to her. I usually end up getting patted down and my items swabbed for explosives. Nothing out of the ordinary, they seem to know what they are doing and have seen pumps before (at least this is my impression). I was travelling with a couple of friends once and one of them, behind my back, told the security agent to come up to me and, with a serious face, tell me he had to do a "rectal examination". I didn't know what to think but found myself laughing hysterically when he told me he was kidding and was simply told to do it. Have fun on your travels though! Once you're there, it's smooth sailing!!
Adam, I hope you slapped that friend right up-side the head (after you laughed hysterically that is). LOL
I have not had any issues with flying either and I have the pump and now my gastric stimulator implant. I simply take off my shoes and put them in the container, put my supply bag in its container and tell the TSA officer that I require a pat-down. They are generally pretty quick about things and of course need to run liquids I carry through their scanners, but never give me any hassle at all. Even when all I had was the pump, I asked for the pat-down since the use of x-rays and scanners was said to have a potential of causing issues. One suggestion--have your pump infusion set in your stomach on the day you go to the airport. This allows you to disconnect easily without messing with clothing should a TSA officer not be familiar with procedures for diabetics. Otherwise, it could be a long and embarrassing process. LOL Like Joe and Adam have mentioned, the security people in the airports are given a lot better information now concerning the needs of diabetics and what devices and supplies they might be carrying with them when traveling. If you are polite and up-front with them from the first, you have much less trouble and loss of time spent working with them.
Carry plenty of supplies for the pump, alternatives, hypos, and HAVE A FABULOUS TIME!
I guess I do things a little differently from everyone else. I travel internationally a lot, so I have gone through airports in all different countries. I never disconnect, go through the body scanner with my pump in my pocket, then RARELY get the pat down. They typically don't care. They will wipe your hands and test for explosives, but that doesn't take any extra time.
I also always have all my meds in my carry on (5+ vials of insulin, bags of syringes, etc.) and I have told anyone that they are there. I simply put my bag on the conveyor belt and it comes out the other side no problem.
I actually wrote about my experiences with flying with the pump on my blog recently if you care to take a read: www.courtneytheami.com/.../flying-with-diabetes.html