- Notify the screener that your child has diabetes and you are carrying her supplies with you.
- Be prepared to show the doctor's letter and prescription labels.
- Advise the screener if your child wears a pump that it cannot be removed because it is connected to a catheter inserted under the skin.
- Insulin pumps and supplies must be accompanied by insulin with a label clearly identifying the medication. You may request a visual inspection rather than walking through the metal detector or being hand-wanded. However, this may subject your child to closer scrutiny or a "pat-down."
- Bring your patience and a smile.
Living with Diabetes
1 AnswerAt the airport security check-in:
1 AnswerCarry-on diabetes supplies for your child should include:
- diabetes devices and supplies
- doctor's letter and prescription labels for all medications and medical devices (not required but may help speed up security check-in process)
- snacks (i.e., peanut butter and crackers)
- fast-acting sugars (i.e., 5 oz. container of glucose gel, cake icing, glucose tablets or raisins)
1 AnswerBe sure to pack twice the amount of diabetes supplies that you think your child will need while on a trip. Your packing list should include:
- blood glucose (BG) testing supplies
- pump and/or continuous glucose monitor (CGM) supplies
- ketone testing strips
- glucose tablets or fast-acting sugar to treat low BG
- a medical ID card (your child should always wear a medical ID bracelet)
- day and night phone numbers for your D-team
- all your contact numbers
- snacks like peanut butter and crackers
- first aid kit
- anti-diarrhea pills
- anti-nausea drugs
1 AnswerThe Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has not provided any consumer information that explains additional screening for insulin pump wearers. TSA states: "If you are concerned or uncomfortable about going through the walk-through metal detector with your insulin pump, notify the Security Officer that you are wearing an insulin pump and would like a full-body pat-down and a visual inspection of your pump instead. Advise the Security Officer that the insulin pump cannot be removed because it is inserted with a catheter (needle) under the skin."
However, the American Diabetes Association has received reports from several travelers which suggest that there is a new TSA policy subjecting all pump-wearers to additional screening. Specifically, on multiple occasions when TSA personnel have become aware that a traveler uses an insulin pump, they have done a comprehensive hand and explosive check of all of the traveler's carry-on baggage, not just medical supplies. In light of these reports, we recommend that you allow extra time to be processed through airport security if you wear an insulin pump.
1 AnswerThe Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has created an optional notification card that individuals can hand to screeners to inform them in a discreet manner that they have a disability, medical condition, or medical device that may affect security screening. While this card will not exempt anyone from security screening, TSA believes that this can facilitate the screening process.
1 AnswerYou have the option of requesting a visual inspection of your insulin and diabetes associated supplies rather than putting them through X-ray. Keep in mind that you must request a visual inspection before the screening process begins otherwise your medications and supplies will undergo X-ray inspection. You should separate your medication and associated supplies from your other property in a pouch or bag. Medications should be labeled so they are identifiable.
In order to prevent contamination or damage to medication and associated supplies and/or fragile medical materials, you should be asked at the security checkpoint to display, handle, and repack your own medication and associated supplies during the visual inspection process.
Any medication and/or associated supplies that cannot be cleared visually must be submitted for X-ray screening. If you refuse, you might not be permitted to carry your medications and related supplies into the sterile area.
1 AnswerWhile the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) does not require you to have your prescription with you, having it may expedite the security screening process if you are subject to additional screening. TSA states that "It is recommended (not required) that passengers bring along any supporting documentation (ID cards, letter from doctor, etc.) regarding their medication needs. It is recommended, not required, that the label on prescription medications match the passengers boarding pass. If the name on [the] prescription medication label does not match the name of the passenger, the passenger should expect to explain why to the security officers."
1 AnswerUnder normal conditions, insulin can safely pass through X-ray machines at airport terminals. If you have concerns about X-rays, you can request hand inspection. Also, insulin should never be placed in checked baggage. It could be affected by severe changes in pressure and temperature. Inspect your insulin before injecting each dose. If you notice anything unusual about the appearance of your insulin or you notice that your insulin needs are changing, call your doctor.
1 AnswerDespite the general rule prohibiting passengers from bringing most liquids and gels through security, people with diabetes may take their insulin, other medications such as Smylin, Byetta, and Glucagon, and other liquids and gels, including juice and cake gel, through TSA checkpoints, even if they are in containers greater than 3.4 ounces.
Although the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) does allow multiple containers of liquid or gel to treat hypoglycemia, as a practical matter you may want to consider alternative forms of carbohydrates, including glucose tablets, hard candy, or raisins.
All medical liquids in containers greater than 3.4 ounces must be removed from your carry-on luggage and declared to TSA personnel. They should not be placed in the quart-sized zip-top bag used for non-medical liquids.
1 AnswerHere are some general tips as you prepare to travel by air if you have diabetes:
- Arrive at the airport 2-3 hours prior to flight.
- Review the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)'s website for travel updates.
- Whenever possible, bring prescription labels for medication and medical devices (while not required by TSA, making them available will make the security process go more quickly).
- Pack medications in a separate clear bag and place in your carry-on luggage.
- Keep a quick-acting source of glucose to treat low blood glucose as well as an easy-to-carry snack such as a nutrition bar.
- Carry or wear medical identification and carry contact information for your physician.
- Pack extra supplies.
- Be patient with lines, delays, and new screening procedures.