Anyone recently been through the new TSA screening with a pump? What was yoru experience?

I am travelling next week and I am nervous about the uprising about the new screening. I know there are no full body scanners on my first leg to Florida, but I plan not to use them anyway as recommended by MM. I plan to be honest about my pump upfront as to not cause any issues if the see tubing, or a blge in my pocket, etc. I plan on leaving lots of time for screening.

Anyone recently travelled in the US with the new screening? Please share your experience. Thanks!

i haven’t flown with mine yet but my doctor and the manufacturer say to keep my pump out of xrays. the full body scanners [backscatter] emits xrays so if i ever fly again i will make sure my pump is inspected by hand.

I have a number of times already. I can’t tell you whether the pump will set off the metal detector because I set it off due to a knee replacement regardless, But the search hasn’t been terrible. Sometimes they just look at the pump, One time they had me touch it and then they swabbed my hands, One time they didn’t even look at it at all. I travel a lot. I always announce to the TSA agent that I have a pump. It saves time and questions.

My Animas Ping set off the metal detector. The TSA person sent me through it again, with the same results. The hand patdown that followed was professional and through, but not the most pleasant.

Next time, I’m going to disconnect the cannula from the pump, turn the puppy off, and stick it in my backpack. I can live without insulin for ten minutes.

Would going through the belt scanner harm the pump?

I believe so. The pump manuals say NO x-rays. Those scanners use X-rays.

The x-ray scanners for carry on luggage are OK for pumps. The ‘no x-ray’ warning relates to much higher power x-rays found in some medical and industrial settings.

I’ve now flown twice. Both times I did go through the scanner with my pump, but the secondary screening was different between airports. At BOS they just patted down the pocket where my pump was and swabbed my hands for explosives, all without pulling me aside, an extra minute tops. At SFO they did the full pat-down and swabbed my hands for explosives, an extra 5 minutes (much better than the last time which was an extra 20-30 minutes). It seems that procedures are more consistent now than before, but a lot will always depend on the TSA agent.

Now that scanners are being used more often, MM will probably test to see if they are safe for the pump. I suspect (and so far have experienced, fingers crossed) that they will be found to be safe for the pump.

It’s not the x-rays per se, but the magnetic field that could impact the pump. Those belt scanners are powerful and will have an enormous magnetic field. The lower the magnetic field, the safer for the pump. You are much better off wearing it than sending it through the belt scanner even if it adds screening time.

Until then I won’t walk through with a pump in case it does affect it as I don’t want to void my warranty. I have heard reports of MM pumps that had.their motors cease following passing through airport security x ray belts. Don’t know how true it is. Again it could be from the magnetic fields.

Did 2x cross country trips in the past two weeks with my OmniPod. No issues – basically the same security with a pat-down or two added in.

Flying internationally next week and expecting basically the same thing - business as usual. Still have not gone through the new scanners – we’ll see if that starts creating some questions.

I have flown since the new screening techniques were initiated. The Tulsa airport has used millimeter-wave technology machines for quite some time, and I go through with my pump w/o any major issues. I let the TSA agent running the machine know that I have an insulin pump on (point to it’s location on my body–I wear the pod so when I fly I try to wear it on my arm so they can see it easily), and when I step through the usually have me wait for a minute while the agent running the booth gives me the “green light” to go gather my stuff. I’ve had them wipe the pod down before and run the swab through the spectroscopy machine (the “sniffer” machine). My most recent flight they also did the thorough pat-down (before it’s just been a local pat-down around the pod, and that’s it). As others have said, the newer, more thorough pat-down was not “fun”, but it was not horrible by any means…and it may have added a whole extra one or two minutes to my quick trip through security–not really an issue to me at all. If everyone in line is getting more thorough pat-downs, then it could slow your travel down and you’d need to leave lots of time for the screening. If not, I would not factor in much additional time, as something as simple as having a pump on you is not going to impede you significantly.

The TSA agents are much more familiar with the tubed pumps (animas, MM, etc) and most of my conversations with them when I let them know that the pod is a pump usually revolve around how different this one looks compared to the others. I don’t think you’ll have any major issues with your MM.

The x-rays that the pump manufacturers request that you keep the pump away from include medical diagnostic equipment, specifically the primary beam of the x-ray. If you’re getting a chest or ankle x-ray, for example, you’d want to remove it from the area being imaged (which any legit radiographer would have you do so that it would prevent artifacts on the image), and just make sure it’s covered with shielding (the heavy apron they should lay over your reproductive organs). If you’re having a CT scan done, I would recommend the same (either wrap it in the lead shielding, as just covering it on one side is useless since the CT unit’s x-ray tube travels throughout the gantry (the “doughnut”) all the way around you, passing x-rays from all sides) OR I would suggest removing the pump for the duration of the scan (which in most imaging procedures on today’s equipment should be <10 minutes from start to finish).

The backscatter machines used in airports provide a much lower total dosage than even a chest x-ray (which is typically a very minimal exposure), and exposing the pump to that level of remnant radiation should not adversely effect it. I would suggest wearing it through the body scanner rather than placing it on the baggage belt though, as the energy and quantity of x-rays emitted by those machines can vary as the agent adjusts the settings to see through more or less dense structures within the conveyor belt. The more dense a structure, the more energy required to penetrate the object to see its contents. If the pump is laying next to that dense item (i.e. something metal) then it is being unnecessarily exposed to that primary beam as well.

Hope you have a good trip without any major screening issues! :slight_smile:

I’ve flown twice in the US since the new regulations.

Worn my pump through the scanners both times (as I always have). [I know it’s not ‘recommended’ but a lot of things aren’t recommended (like going on roller coasters) and after 10 years on the pump, with not a single problem… sometimes I don’t go by the books. I’ve figured out my acceptable level of risk, and live by it.]
Never had a problem. Never had a second glance. One time they didn’t even give me the chance to say “I have an Insulin Pump”. They just looked at my pocket and gave me the thumbs up.

Wish you the best of luck, Jennifer! I think your ‘being honest and upfront’ will go a long way!

Just wanted to comment on the roller coaster thing. That warning is out because of one case of a problem, that I know of. Don’t know if it’s happened more than once, but one time…someone was riding and the change in G-forces made their pump give them ALL the insulin in their pump. They had to be hospitalized and hooked to Dextrose.

That ONE case is enough to convince me to disconnect on rides!

I think that one has been around a while, maybe Snopes or Urban Legends has it. I have ridden many, many roller coasters with pumps and never had a problem. The only thing that I worry about would be it falling out of my pocket (when I was tubed) and tangling up in something. I used to put it in my front shorts pocket and once sitting and buckled in it couldn’t come out. I’ve also heard to “beware” of magnetically controlled RCs scrambling your pumps brains, but that hasn’t been my issue yet either.

I just sort of doubt the entire scenario and will continue riding, and yes I’m 55 and was diagnosed in 1959.

When me and my fiancee flew to Florida to go to a cruise back in May of this year (2010), they acted like I had a bomb attached to me. They put me in this glass box and someone came inside and literally felt me up before all of these new tsa requirements. They made me unattach it and show them my insulin vial. I'm hoping that there will be some sort of new found acceptance when it comes to insulin pumps and flying because that was definitely excessive.

Thanks for the info. :it was great and detailed and 2 the point!!!

God Bless,


I have just been through ORD and PHX with my MM pump and CGMS attached. Walked right through the metal detectors with no alarm; no issues, no searches, no problems.

Very nice.