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[IPk] Re: airline advise

I have been abroad on airlines no problem a few times until this yr on a trip 
to the US. I always carry a docs letter with me explaining the need for 
diabetes supplies, medication etc etc. (I'm not on a pump, but am still 
waiting for appt.....)! I phoned the airline prior to trip to make doubly 
sure they knew I would be taking these things with me and they said to just 
notify staff at the check-in at Manchester and they would put a note on my 
booking also so everyone was aware. I was travelling alone (never done that 
before)! so was nervous! 
I arrived and checked in very early and the staff on the desk took my letter 
and photocopied it and faxed a copy through to Washington DC where I was 
connecting to Philadelphia. 
On arriving at Philly, (I was almost 'bumped' but that's another story)! I 
only had limited time to catch connecting flight. I was searched at the gate 
as I was going to board the plane and the security 'lady' was extremely rude, 
to say the least. She asked me why my bag was so heavy (all my insulin meds 
plus other meds plus small bottles of lucozade)! and insisted she knew 
absolutely nothing about the fact I had diabetes, no letter had been fwd, 
this was totally out of order etc. etc. I showed her my letter but she 
insisted it wasn't sufficient?! She emptied my bag completely then just left 
me to re pack it in a hurry! I eventually got past her and started to run 
down the corridor for the plane (a very small 'commuter' jet). I had been 
told prior to my flights that the hand luggage I had (older type flight bag) 
was OK for both planes. I got to the gate onto the tarmac, the plane was 
ready for take-off and due to me being searched I was last to get there, it 
was waiting for me. The security person shouted down to the person on the 
gate that I had to leave my bag with her as I was 'carrying sharps' and this 
was a 'security and safety risk'. I tried to tell her I had to carry all my 
supplies with me and I had a letter to say so, but she insisted I could not, 
absolutely not, take these supplies onto the plane with me. I argued a bit 
but she was extremely insistent and the plane was starting up the engines. I 
suggested taking out the sharps and putting them in the hold or taking out my 
insulin to keep with me, but she said, or yelled, 'NO TIME'! and took my bag 
from my arm and hurried me on to the plane. I was really upset. I was tired 
and shaken and had not been allowed to even get out my passport, my insulin, 
or even any type of ID, never mind any glucose etc in case of hypo's. I spent 
the hour flight in tears worrying about my stuff. At the other end I 
retrieved my bag from the tarmac. 
I have written to the airline (British Midland/United Airways) but have had a 
letter back stating that security measures such as these were necessary post 
September 11. I do understand the need for extra measures, and felt reassured 
by most of them, but not allowing meds to be taken on board is ludicrous! 
Also, I should ensure I notify the airline in advance (I did) and carry 
'suitable and sufficient documentation to prove my need for medication' 
(whatever that might be), also to ensure sharps are not carried on the plane! 
I intend to write again! 
Hope this doesn't happen to anyone else, but if it does, it may be worth 
seeing what the official policy is. It's never happened to me before but now 
I am worried about it happening again.
BW Helen
PS I was also noted as an 'extra security risk' passenger on my return 
journey and frisked and thoroughly searched at every point. I had not 
problems getting my things on board this time...I was totally insistent!  
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