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Re: [IPk] Re: Flying (again)
has reader-friendly information on the United States's Transportation Safety
Administration's rules regarding travel with diabetes-related medical
http://www.tsa.gov/public/display?content=414 is the TSA's webpage on
travelling with specific things for certain disabilities, on which
diabetes-related supplies are discussed (scroll down). Nevermind that they
refer to insulin pumps as 'surgically implanted'; it's probably not worth
the trouble to explain what a cannula actually is.
My own tips/observations:
1) Do not mention you have diabetes and are carrying sharps when you reach
the luggage-screening desk unless you have tons of time to be given the
third degree and be treated like a criminal.
2) If your luggage is searched or you are asked specific questions about
things inside it, be as pleasant, patient, and helpful as humanly possible.
Do not offer information they don't ask for.
3) Do not protest that you are going to miss your flight. There will be
another one later...unless you get arrested for being uncooperative, in
which case you might not go anywhere for a while. If you miss a flight
because of having been detained for a search, the airline will probably be
happy to accommodate you after it's been established that you don't have the
means/motive to kill anyone.
4) Last November I witnessed a rather impatient woman who complained that
she was about to miss her flight get told, 'Well, ma'am, that's just too
bad. Get back in line NOW or I'll have you arrested. Understand?' The TSA
staff are NOT kidding: I have seen two arrests in airports in the past two
5) For real: in the US, doctors' letters were declared too easy to forge and
they are no longer considered legitimate. It's probably not worth carrying
one within the US anymore: the staff member to whom you show it may assume
immediately that it is false and start considering you a potential threat.
6) When my luggage has been screened and then searched on three recent
trips, it's been because of a metal decoration on my cosmetic bag, a bottle
of fountain pen ink, and a pair of nail clippers (which were not seized in
the end as they did not have a sharp knife-thing attached).
7) If flying domestically (within the US) arrive at the airport 2 hours
before a flight. If flying out of the UK to the US or from the US to the UK,
aim to be at the airport 3.5 hours before flight time.
8) If you're a woman, wear separates so you can lift your shirt and show
your site to the security staff at the screening point. That really, really
helps, especially when you're dealing with someone whose English is less
than terrific or who has never seen a pump before.
9) Ask very politely to see a supervisor if the security person you're
dealing with is clearly at somewhat of a loss as to what to do with you. I
have found offering to go to a private room and be strip-searched a good
technique for getting the frisk-search over faster (I guess the agent
figures that if you offer to take off all your clothes, you probably don't
have much to hide).
IDDM 9+ years; MiniMed pumper 6+ years; American 21+ years; in the UK ~2
Co-ordinator, Oxford University Student Union Diabetes Network
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