Who is going to question me? Should I go through the metal detector? What should I carry on-board vs. in my checked luggage? These are just a few of the questions that may be streaming through your mind in the short distance between the parking lot and the tarmac.
Security is often a nerve-wracking part of the travel experience for many individuals with diabetes. But it doesn’t need to be this way! Below we will share a few tips of how to make this process as smooth as possible. Further, under the link to Doctor Travel Letters, you will find template forms to print and use while traveling in order to have the information you need available to those who need to see it—no hassle necessary!
Remember: the process begins way before you arrive at the airport! Always discuss questions with your diabetes team well before the date of departure. If you are still feeling unsure then it may be a good idea to check with the information provided about your specific airline’s policies. Some airlines may have helpful information on their website or a number that you can call to find answers to your questions before the day of departure.
TSA Mobile Application
TSA officials should be adequately trained in procedures related to a traveler with medical equipment. But in case they are uncertain about part of the process, be sure that YOU know what you can and cannot do. As you begin the packing process with security in mind, it may be helpful to download the My TSA Mobile application (online version at apps.tsa.dhs.gov/mytsa). This will help guide you through the process from what you can bring all the way down to live wait times for specific airport security venues.
Detectors and Scanners
The metal detectors will be one of the first steps of the security process. Metal detectors are fine for your diabetes equipment, but do NOT go through the X-ray machines or full body scanners. These machines can damage electronic components of CGMs and insulin pumps! Request a hand-wand inspection instead.
Keep glucose tablets and long-acting carbohydrate snacks available. But remember, liquids will NOT be allowed through security. Keep money on you, and plan to purchase a fruit juice or other sweet drink to keep on hand during the flight in case there is a moment when the food you need is not available.
There are certain practices not required by TSA, but which may expedite the security process. These include carrying your medications in their prescription bottles or original packaging, as well as carrying prescription copies. Having medications and equipment in clear sealable bags is also a good idea.
Remember, you have the right to carry the medical monitoring equipment and food that you need to manage you condition! Carrying a medical identification document as well as doctor’s forms will help you to smoothly navigate the security process. If a member of security personnel does confront you, always remain calm and inform them of your traveling situation. If they do not understand, ask to speak with another representative.