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[IP] Have Pump (and... ???), Will Travel

After the recent thread "travel with supplies", I wasn't convinced
that a letter written in English was required for international air
travel with a pump.

After calling Air France, American Airlines and United (the latter two
in France and the U.S.), I'm still not convinced.

Basically, each airline has its own rules, none of them the same.

Here's what I found:

Air France - an insulin-dependent diabetic (IDD) needs to declare
themselves when making reservations so that the appropriate ground
services can be informed. A doctor's letter should be carried IN
FRENCH, even for travel in the U.S.

American Airlines - according to the French reservation center, an IDD
needs a doctor's letter IN FRENCH. According to the U.S. reservation
center, no letter is required. The items must be "clearly labelled"
and a "Special Assistance Coordinator" will contact the IDD prior to
the flight.

United Airlines - According to the French reservation center, an IDD
should be able to display an identification card, but a doctor's
letter IN ENGLISH would be preferred. According to the U.S.
reservation center, a letter should be written in the local language
of each destination country. "Do you mean that if I'm visiting 10
different countries, I'll need as many letters in as many languages?",
I asked. "That's probably so," was the reply. United clearly doesn't
know which way is up, except where their planes are concerned. ;-)

My take on all this: Announce the fact that you're an IDD when the
reservation is made and announce it to every airline you fly. Ask them
their rules. Get a letter from your doctor. English is best, but don't
count on it working internationally. Have it specify what you carry
aboard (pump, insulin, a couple of catheters, pen injector, several
injector needles, glucose meter, test strips, several lancets, etc.)
and what's in the suitcase (more catheters, reservoirs, batteries,
test strips, lancets, etc.). Carry a diabetic identity card. Be honest
and be ready to explain. Oh, and if you're planning on making a
round-the-world tour, don't fly United unless you've got a
multilingual endocrinologist. ;-)

regards, Andy
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