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[IP] re: airports and pumps
Sara-smarty-pants (email @ redacted) wrote:
> Not ONCE has the metal detector gone off. My airports include Laguardia,
> both Houston airports, LAX, Oakland, Charlotte, Midway, Grand Rapids,
> Atlanta, Phoenix, Tucson, Orange County, Indianapolis, San Diego, Mobile,
> Minneapolis and a couple othres, i think....There is no WAY I would even
> THINK of disconnecting and sending my INSULIN PUMP through an
> xray machine!!!
To Sara's list I can add Pittsburgh, Orlando, Norfolk, and London-Gatwick
(yay international!) post-9/11 (PIT is my home airport, and I've been to
London twice, most recently in July). I've also been to many of the
airports she lists above, and many, many others pre-9/11.
I agree with Sara about not bothering to put the pump through the X-ray,
although I don't think it would do any harm (doesn't zap my cellphone or
laptop, which are almost as important ;-) )
I've never set off the metal detector. I've never had a problem with the
security at PIT (although as a Silver Preferred on USAir I'm usually through
quite quickly) or Gatwick (Business Class as well as preferred status, so my
experience may be a bit different than most passengers). I'll have flown
enough this year to requalify for preferred status (barely -- all personal
trips this year, no business), so I DO travel fairly often (not as many
segments as Sara, apparently, but some long flights, like London in July and
Hawaii coming up in November).
Security at international ARRIVALS in PIT once asked me to "take off my
pager", but before I'd even reached for it he spotted the tubing and said
"Whoops, my mistake, insulin pump right?"
In Orlando I was questioned by one of those wonderful agents who didn't
speak English worth a damn when she spotted my pump. Fortunately, once I'd
pulled it from the case she knew what it was.
Norfolk, on the other hand, was a totally different story. Crappy little
airport with a gate agent with an attitude. Again, no problem with the
metal detector, or even people noticing the pump, BUT the agent decided to
dig through my bags once he spotted the syringes on the X-ray. No problem,
I show him the documentation. He *ignores* it, and proceeds to take the
caps off sterile syringes, asking what they're for. Duh, I just SHOWED you.
So at this point I raise my voice and tell him he's just ruined expensive
medical equipment, but he ignores me, and proceeds to do the same thing with
until-recently-sterile lancetes. "What are THESE for?" Again, I tell him
to please not do that, and I want to see a supervisor. One comes over, sees
the situation, asks to see my documentation. I show him, he apologizes.
End of story, right? Nope. Idiot boy proceeds to recap and throw
everything back in my bag (so now I'm not even sure what's sterile and
what's not). And then to add one final insult, AFTER I'd gotten all my
stuff repacked, and was already walking away (had already passed the
National Guardsman who'd been looking on somewhat amused, he muttered to me
"Sorry about that, not much I could do"), idiot boy calls me back because
he's decided he needs to "check my shoes". I was seeing red at this point,
but handed them to him, restraining the urge to throw them at him.
Fortunately, since Norfolk "international" is a smallish airport and
USAirways presence isn't large there, there was nobody behind me in line to
get delayed by all this stupidity.
Moral of the story? The big airports that handle lots of traffic, no
problems. They see this stuff and know what it is. It's the little junk
airports that don't see lots of baggage that you need to look out for. In
my experience, anyway. Now watch, Hawaii, LA, San Fran, Chicago/Midway, or
Atlanta (my remaining flights this year) will prove me wrong yet ;-)
My hints for it all:
o Keep the pump on, but make sure you remove as much metal as possible
before you're to the metal detector.
o Put all the medical stuff in one small case that's easy to take out of
your carry-on, so you can show it. Definitely don't check it (but I rarely
check anything anyway). Have a doctor's note, but be prepared that it MAY
not be enough. Have an original box, with pharmacy label, for either a vial
of insulin or pen cartridges, depending on your backup system.
Also, I've never tried it, but I've been told that if you put all your
medical stuff on one small dedicated bag, it does *NOT* count against your
carry-on limit because it's medically necessary. Again, I've never tried
it, and to be honest would hate to see someone wasting valuable overhead
space in this way, but it might be good to know (if it's true).
> I have [doctor's notes], but apparently they are not recommended as they
> be so easily forged, same with written prescriptions..better to have teh
> label ON your prescriptions...ie insulin boxes.
Exactly. I too carry a doctor's note, but also make sure I carry pen
cartridges in the original box, just in case. Only once (Norfolk, see
above) have I needed to show it in 7+ years of pumping and flying.
> One day, I am gonna put the canula as far down on my
> leg as I can stand it, then go to the airport and have to
> take my pants off to get to the disconnect place...
> heheheh...I will let you all know when and where, in case
> you wanna come watch the show!!
Sara my dear, this I would love to see (the commotion ensuing, that is
;-) ). You be sure to let me know what airport and what time, and I'll try
to be there. Moral support, of course... ;-)
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