[Previous Months][Date Index][Thread Index][Join - Register][Login]
  [Message Prev][Message Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

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).

Travel safely,

IDDM 9+ years; MiniMed pumper 6+ years; American 21+ years; in the UK ~2 
Co-ordinator, Oxford University Student Union Diabetes Network

Add photos to your e-mail with MSN 8. Get 2 months FREE*.  
for HELP or to subscribe/unsubscribe, contact: