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Air travel

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by Momontherun, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. Momontherun

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    We are going to be flying in a few weeks. My son is pumping and this is going to be the first time flying with diabetic supplies. Do most of you carry a doctor's note saying type 1 diabetes on pump. We will also need prescription labels. What about going through security with juice boxes? Will they be confiscated or can they be declared a diabetic supply. Can the pump even go through the metal detector or do we need to let the TSA know he is requesting a pat down and then does one parents go with the child for a similar search.

    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. Darryl

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    We've flown a lot. We always request a manual pat-down instead of the scanner, but some people go through the scanner without a problem. We do have a doctor's note but have never been asked to show it (I would take one with you, including the Rx's). We have gotten food through after explaining to the TSA agent that it is for diabetes, however I'd bring only what you need for the trip and buy drinks once you're past security. Brings lots of dry carbs.
     
  3. mocha

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    On the pump, check the with the company. Animas pumps are not supposed to go through the full body scanners or through the xray (so do not unclip and send it through with your luggage). I would not chance the full body scanner. I have heard too many horror stories of pumps becoming bricks after going through those. It can go through the metal detector, but they always seem to set it off so your son will probably have to get a patdown anyway.

    As far as juice, you can bring it through. Just explain that it is a diabetes supply, and they'll probably take it and check for explosive residue.

    Personally, I've never had a doctor's note when flying. They've never asked. You can ask for one if it makes you feel more comfortable.

    Good luck! Hope you have a great trip!
     
  4. SandiT

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    I'm curious about the juices. You can take 3 oz. or smaller liquids on your carry-on without a problem. So if you need less than 3 oz. of juice, put it into small containers in a baggy.

    On the other hand, is this for snacks? Because if you're looking for an easy snack to take on board, you could try Atkins bars. They aren't something I'd use all the time... but most of them are about 15 carbs. They taste like a candy bar, but have good protein and fats to extend the action of the snack and are easy to just toss in your purse. I had about 6 in my purse on our way through a month or so ago. No problem.

    They do want all of those 3 oz. liquids to be in a baggy. So just put all of your juices into 3 oz. containers or amounts, toss it all into a baggy, and off you go.

    If questioned, explain then. But I doubt you'll get any trouble about it.

    The pump question I can't answer. Kira was (is) still on NPH for our flight, so I didn't have to deal with that at the time.




    I theorize that this is what I would do. I would disconnect the pump at the metal detector. Hand it to the person manning the body scanner, and tell him or her, "This is his insulin pump. It can NOT be x-rayed or it will destroy it. We're going to go through the scanner and ask for it back on the other side, so it doesn't set it off. You can watch me reattach it to his body at that time if you desire."

    You may want to, if you feel very anxious about it, get something from the pump maker stating that some have been rendered useless by x-ray or body scanning.


    Conversely, if you're right at the right time to be switching his insertion site, perhaps you could do MDI for the flight, let his pump go through in the baggage compartment? Just a thought, though I know it's not that simple.



    I have no experience yet with the pump, so I'm kind of talking out my you-know-what here, but those are the things I've thought of as I contemplated next year's visit to NC.
     
  5. Megnyc

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    1. I don't carry a doctor's note 99% of the time. From what I understand at least if you are flying in the US the TSA doesn't even have the right to request one. If it makes you feel better I would bring it though-- better safe than sorry.

    2. I also don't bring prescription labels unless they are already on the containers. I am unclear on what the actual rules on this are though. This link says that meds don't have to be in the original container but I am not sure about the actual labels.

    http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/what-expect-if-passenger-needs-medication

    3. Juice boxes are fine but it is probably easier unless you are flying out of a super tiny airport to just buy them on the other side of the check point. Even in the smallest airports at least in the US there is a way to buy a regular soda past security.

    4. I have no issues walking through a metal detector but I don't go through the full body scanners. You can request a patdown. It is usually done right past the metal detector so there is no reason you can't be with your kid. You may want to have someone watch your bags as they come through the machine because it can take awhile to get a supervisor of the right gender to show up to do the patdown.

    I know there are tons of horror stories online but I have never really had any major problems flying. My parents actually calculated this using my frequent flyer account and passport the other day and I have flown internationally 58 times (often multiple flights- so way more in total flights) and domestically hundreds with diabetes and the TSA folks have been 100% professional every single time.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2013
  6. Megnyc

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    Also, just to clarify several things another poster suggested above.

    I would NOT hand the pump off to the agents under any circumstances. Your son 100% has the right to keep it on. If there are no full body scanners all that will probably happen is they will have him touch the pump then swab a wipe across his hand and put it in a machine. It will obviously show that the pump does not contain explosives and you will be free to go-- no pat-down :cwds:

    If there are full body scanners, you have two options:

    1. If you want to do everything possible to avoid your son going through a pat-down you can pull the infusion set at the restroom right before the security checkpoint. Then stick the pump in your pocket and send your son through the scanner, nothing will pick up and then he can hang out on the other side waiting for you. Just tell the agent that you have a pump (they don't need to know it isn't actually yours) and want a pat-down. They will do a standard pat-down and have you touch the pump/reservoir and then swab your hands for explosives. Again, it takes 3-5 minutes once they finally get someone over to do the pat-down. That's it- just stop by the next restroom or a quiet gate to stick a new infusion set it.

    2. Leave the pump/infusion set on your son. Tell the TSA agent that he has a pump and is opting out of the scan. They will call over for a male supervisor and do a pat-down and again the typical touch pump then swab for explosives.

    It really isn't a big deal at all. I just wouldn't want to hand the pump off to the TSA folks because they have no training in what to do or not do with it.
     
  7. KylorsMom

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    So don't hate me but I worked with TSA for ten years until last nov ;) Here is my advice, you can get a dr note wif you want but you really don't need it. The way TSA figures it, a terrorist could forge a dr note to get something through so they will take it if you offer but it is really just to be polite.

    As far as juice and snacks. Just let them know that your child is diabetic and they are medically necessary. Snack sized juices and sodas should be ok, just don't get a huge jug of apple juice (do any of us have those anymore anyways???)

    And from what I have seen, most pumps can make it through a metal detector without issue. They may want to test your hands. I, personally would just opt for the pat down, it takes about 90 seconds and especially for kids, they aren't very invasive anymore. TSA will feel like they were thorough and you can just get on with life, instead of having to go through the scanner or explaining to a bunch of different people about the pump :)

    Can't guarantee that all tsa employees will be accommodating (they are suppose to but as we all know, there are some airports where it seems the TSA has been forbidden from smiling):rolleyes:

    Good Luck!! And have a fun trip!
     
  8. Megnyc

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    Totally off-topic but I was excited to see you are from Idaho!

    My extended family is all up in Bonners Ferry which isn't that far from Moscow if I am not mistaken. If you work for the TSA at the airport in Spokane then I am sure we have met. For several years we were flying in and out of Spokane at least once a month.
     
  9. libbymom

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    We have flown several time since my son started pumping (Ping). We just tell them that he is wearing an insulin pump and it cannot go through the scanner or x-rays. It's never been a problem. They take him through, ask him to touch his pump, and then swab his hands.

    We've also never had an issue with any of his supplies, including juice boxes and bottled water or Vitamin Water. I just have them all in one bag and tell them that they are his diabetic supplies.
     
  10. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    I agree with all of the above. In dozens of flights we've never disconnected nor have we ever been asked to. I would never even think of disconnecting and handing my kids pump over to a stranger. Terrible idea, actually.
     
  11. Williamsville mommy

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    Just flew this past break and it was a little time consuming, that's it. Told the TSA agent before hand that she was on pump, needed a manual search, and had a bag full of medical supplies. They never asked for letter, barley looked at medical supplies, were more concerned about the darn juicy juice, almost wanted to keep it but explained why we had it. Other than that it was no problem!!
     
  12. KylorsMom

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    I am in Moscow!!! And totally excited to find someone who knows Idaho :)
     
  13. Jennifer126

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    We are planning on flying in June and when I purchased the tickets I asked questions and they advised me to let the first security person, who takes your tickets to even let you in line for security, know and they are supposed to make sure you are put with an agent who is more familiar with medical issues so that it is less of an issue. We plan on arriving early and all of that so I am not looking to beat the line or anything but if there are staff that are more familiar then I would rather deal with them than explaining to someone less experienced. This is just what the person on the phone told me though. I also plan to call the specific airports closer to the date.
     
  14. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    Honestly, it's not something you need to worry about. Pack your D stuff in a separate carry on, I use clear plastic cosmetic bags and zip locks to keep it organized, tell the TSA agent that this is a medical supply bag for a passenger with Type 1 diabetes. They may pull the juice boxes, they may not. Nothing else will phase them. Just be sure you have some other source of fast acting in the event that you have a stickler for a screener.

    For very long international flights when she was younger, when I was traveling alone with her, or if I wasn't 100% sure that I had enough juice/ tabs, I would tell the head flight attendant that I was traveling with a type 1 kid and that I might need juice somewhere along the way.

    Also, pack a second kit of supplies, sans insulin in your checked luggage in case your D bag gets lost of stolen. Oh, and the medical bag doesn't count as part of your carry-on allotment.
     
  15. scoobydoo

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    We flew for the first time with our T1 4yo recently and it was really straightforward.
    We mentioned to the woman who checked our boarding passes at the security check that we needed a pat down and she sent us to a different line, and they called a supervisor to give our son the pat down. This guy was really cool with our son, and really tried to make him feel comfortable.
    We packed all our supplied in a separate bag, did carry a Drs letter, (which wasn't checked but made me feel less nervous!) and also had a loaner pump from Animas (free program if you're traveling internationally) and it was a breeze.

    I figure we aren't the first family to have a T1 kid go through security, so most likely the TSA people have seen it all before.
     
  16. Jennifer126

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    This is exactly what they told me to do. I guess it's so they can call someone over before you get to the front of the line.

    But I am going to do the clear plastic bags for everything and keep it separate. It's great to know that doesn't count! Thanks!
     
  17. danismom79

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    I carry all the d supplies in a separate small carry-on. I let the agent know that I have a bag full of diabetes supplies and ask that it be manually checked. Sometimes I'm asked to put the bag on the belt, but I take out the spare pods and PDM and hand those over for a manual check.

    The last time we flew, there was a scanner as well as the regular detector, and I sent my daughter through the regular one, letting them know she had the pod on. They do make her touch her pod, and then they swab her hands.

    I don't bother bringing liquid through security, I just pack glucose tabs and then maybe grab a regular soda after we've gone through security.
     
  18. McKenna'smom

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    We have flown several times with our DD and her pump.

    She wears a PING in a pouch around her waist. We pack all of her supplies in our carry-ons that go through the scanner. We do not carry any doctor's notes or prescription labels (other than what is on her supplies) We carry her insulin in a FRIO pack. TSA has never blinked an eye at her supplies.

    We take Smarties and glucose tabs with us on the plane so we don't have to deal with taking juices through security. If she gets low on the plane, we may ask for an apple or orange juice for her.

    After our first experience when DH told TSA that DD was wearing a pump and TSA went and searched and swabbed through her entire carry on bag, we don't tell TSA that she has a pump. She has never set off the metal detector and has never been asked to go through the scanner. As she is getting older, if she is asked to go through the scanner, we will request pat down screening. We will not take her pump off and TSA cannot make her.
     
  19. 3kidlets

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    We fly alot. Atleast 4 times a year.

    I never mention D or pumps, CGM or anything. I figure if you draw attention to it, the more likely you are to get searched. Over the past 3 years with D, we have never had an issue with anything.

    But, I do not bother with juice boxes. It isn't really necessary. You can buy drinks on the other side of security. We just carry candy and snack foods.
    Hana wears the POD so can't disconnect. We just send the PDM thru with everything else. Same with the G4. I use to pull the insulin out so it didn't get scanned. Only did that a couple of times. Now I just send it thru with the other bags.
    In the beginning, I did carry a doctor note. We've never been asked for it.
    We've traveld domestic, foreign and third world airports. No one has ever asked anything. I've found that sending Hana thru and her supplies thru like normal is the best way to go.
     
  20. hawkeyegirl

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    We fly a lot, and it has never once been any sort of problem. Here are the various things I have done:

    1. Supplies: I never mention that I have supplies in our carryons, and never once have they shown the SLIGHTEST interest in any of our supplies. I usually don't carry juice, because I just don't want the hassle, but I have done so in the past, and they have never questioned me about it.

    2. Pump: The Medtronic pump will not set off the metal detector. (The Animas pump appears to do so sometimes.) I typically look down at my son to see if he has tubing hanging out when we're at the conveyor belt. If he does, I tell security about his pump. If he does not, I just send him through the metal detector and he has never been questioned. It used to be that when I did disclose his pump, they just sent him through the metal detector anyway and ignored it. More recently, they've been taking him aside once he is through the metal detector and asking him to touch his pump and then they swab his hands for explosives. He thinks the extra attention is fun, and often times the TSA agent will give him some sort of "Junior TSA Officer" sticker badge or something, and his sister ends up quite jealous. ;) They are very professional and efficient and he is never out of my sight. I never notify anyone that he has D until we get up to the metal detector, and then I tell that person.

    3. CGM receiver. I usually throw this on the conveyor belt to go through the x-ray machine. Last time, I forgot, and the Guardian went through the metal detector in my pocket, unnoticed.

    4. If they were using full-body scanners, I'd just tell them that Jack wears a pump and can't go through. No biggie.

    Really, TSA agents see thousands of pumps and D supplies per year. This is neither novel nor particularly interesting to them. Don't stress and it will be fine. :)
     

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