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[IPk] Re: airline advise

I'm so sorry to hear your story about the flight.

As some of you may remember, I wrote a couple of months ago how worried
I was about flying, and not being parted from pump supplies etc on a
trip to Los Angeles, changing flights in NY, and in the event it was
thankfully uneventful.

I was regarded as an extra security risk, and frisked at every possible
stage - but I think that was because the point of origin for my trip
was in the Middle East, not because of the DM equipment.  However,
having the pump (and an extra piece of hand luggage - cylinder
containing posters for conference, which looked like a potentially
suspicious object) complicated the security checks - I was lucky
because the security woman who frisked me at the last check before the
flight in LA was diabetic and considering the pump, so I nearly (but
not quite) missed the flight not because of over-zealous checking, but
because she wanted to discuss pros and cons of pump.

I also decided not to make trouble for myself - not to write letters or
ask questions in advance, and also not to say anything about pump or
supplies until the moment when they started started frisking me and/or
opening my hand baggage, at which point I said "you will see that I
have an insulin pump attached to me, and you will find needles and
other equipment in my hand luggage because I am a diabetic and need
insulin all the time".  Only one security person asked to see my
doctor's letter, and only one security person (at some other stage)
suggested that I put the equipment in the hold - I was prepared for
this, and said immediately that if they wanted me to arrive alive and
healthy they should not even think about this (for a long flight this
is no exaggeration of course) - they then said but did I really use the
pump all the time, did I not disconnect it when I go to sleep - I acted
totally horrified, and said the maximum I disconnect it is for 5
minutes to shower - the idea that I sleep with the pump attached
sounded to them so extreme that it apparently convinced them that I am
quite extraordinarily dependent on insulin!!!

I'm not sure that even being prepared with doctor's letters, suitable
clear and articulate responses etc is necessarily going to save the day
100% of the time if you get a sufficiently obtuse and unpleasant
security person, and have minimal time before a flight, but probably at
least 99% - of course this is not good enough, since any uncertainty is
worrying, and being separated from hand baggage potentially disastrous
(incidentally do put spares - not of insulin, but of other supplies, in
baggage, so you have something if hand baggage is lost/stolen). I am
flying to England on Friday for 2 weeks holiday, and the issue of
flying with pump and supplies is adding to my anxiety, despite having
flown several times since 11 Sept with questions asked, but in the end
no problems. I have taken to wearing one of those pouch things when
travelling - I don't like them, but bought a large one so that even in
worst case scenario I could not be separated from passport, ticket,
glucometer, glucose for hypos.  I also always make sure to travel with
a fullish insulin reservoir in the pump - enough to last a week or more
- and that gives me some measure of assurance.

Good luck to all who are flying.

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