First time flying. Tips and suggestions?

Hi everyone, I might be taking my first flight ever to California from Ohio soon, for a business trip with my husband. I have never flown before and honestly know absolutely nothing about airports, security, anything. He has flown before, but I’m not sure it’s much help in the diabetes department. A little nervous for my first flight too!

Could I get some suggestions on preparation, security measures, restrictions? I have insulin pens, and I always carry a purse with my pens, glucose meter and snacks. Should I bring more food for the plane ride? Any info will be helpful! I’m reading all over the place just to get an idea but it’s easier having it in one spot to look back on. I won’t lie, it’s a bit stressful trying to plan a trip that is short notice, and all new when you haven’t been to a place or even on a plane before.

Does anyone have any tips on managing blood sugars while on a plane, etc. There will be a time difference clearly, so any tips on schedule changes for meals and what not? I’ll just take my medications and long acting insulin the same time as it would be Ohio time, but eating is a different story. I usually have specific times I eat as it just helps me have better control, so we’ll see how it all plays out.

I appreciate the help!

Also! What about liquids? I always carry juice boxes in my purse in case of lows, or a bottle of soda. Is this allowed to be carried onto the plane since it’s medically necessary?

I always way over pack my snacks for trips, never need much. It’s really just a low activity, possibly slight adrenaline boost (from anticipation and nerves) day. Lots of waiting around drives the sugars up! Prepare to increase your insulin.
As far as packing goes I keep a separate small carry on that fits in my travel bag and holds all of my medical needs. Have never had an issue with security. They open it up and know.
In short, biggest concerns are usually normal people concerns. Anything small you need can be found in terminal stores (including juice, leave yours in the car and buy a bottle after you pass thru security).

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I sometimes have to inject on the plane and test as well. I usually ask for the front seat of economy and if I’m on South West, I ask for early boarding… this allows me to have arm room to test and inject if I can’t leave my seat…

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Anything D related, including juice and snacks, are fine to take through security.

If youre conscientious about injecting in public, you can always go to the restroom on board. Ive never cared, nor has anyone ever said anything.

As far eating and the time difference, Im guessing you take a fast acting to cover meals. In this case the 3 hour time difference is really irrelevant. Insulin knows no time zones :slight_smile:

In short, its a much smaller deal that it may seem. Youll do fine :slight_smile:

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To avoid the stress (for me and TSA) any drinks needed for the trip I buy once I’m on the other side of security. It’s worth the extra money.

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Thank you about the time zone difference! I wasn’t too sure really, but I guess it will just be a guessing game since I’ll be a bit stressed anyway. Who knows what my numbers will do! I’ll just be sure to test often, and keep an eye on things. Thanks for the advice!

Thanks for the tip! I might just keep one juice box on me, then purchase the rest after security. Good idea to avoid hassle!

Thank you! Good to know about the juice, and I think that’s what I’ll plan. Maybe one box on me, and buy the rest!

Thanks so much! I will look into early boarding. I hate rushing, or being late anyway, so that will be a great option if we can do it.

For peace of mind if nothing else, you may want to get a letter from your endo or family doctor stating that you are a Type 1 diabetic treated with insulin injections and that you need to carry pen needles, insulin, blood testing equipment, etc., with you at all times. I fly frequently and have only once had to show the letter – it’s not like all this diabetic stuff is rare nowadays – but it’s nice to know it’s there should anyone be alarmed about tiny needles on airplanes.

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I never carry juice and instead take glucose tabs and packaged food like peanut butter crackers. Yes, legally you are allowed to have the juice but IMO it brings unnecessary attention to you and you may have agents who give you a problem.

Because you use pens and not a pump, you shouldn’t have any issues going through security. There is no reason to announce your diabetes. They will see your supplies with their X-ray devices but it is nothing new to them. But once again if you have juice, they will have to pull your bag aside and IMO cause an unnecessary big deal about it,

I always use a Frio pack to carry my insulin and you can buy packs that fit pens. They work with cold water to provide cooling and also get puffy when “charged” and provide cushioning for your pens. I carry vials of insulin for my pump so the cushioning is helpful.

IMO you should never use hotel refrigerators for your insulin. There are too many nightmare stories of people who have had their insulin freeze.

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As I mentioned below, it doesn’t matter whether you carry one Juicebox or five, it will guarantee that you get stopped by security. Life is best when you breeze through security. :grinning:

Also know that soft packaged foods like applesauce will most likely guarantee a security flag.

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I always take at least one fruit pie (you know–like hostess or similar fruit pie in a single-serve box or wrapper) because they have around 80 carbs. If I need some long lasting carbs during a long flight, one of those is MORE than enough. So much so, that I usually just eat about half of it. I always have a bunch of Skittles too. Stay hydrated and get up and move around when the flight attendants will let you (they are pretty militant these days–nothing like how customer oriented they were in the 60’s and 70’s). Keep an eye on your bg’s as for me, it’s harder to tell when I’m dropping when sitting for a long time.

If you ask for a diet soda, ask for the whole can. That way there is no confusion about whether or not you got the diet version. I’ve been accidentally served sugary sodas at fast food or sit-down restaurants.

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Thank you! I plan to get one just in case! I have read so much that it’s usually not needed, but you just never know. I’ll definitely be calling my doc!

Thanks so much for the tips! juice works best for my lows, and the fastest which is why I’ve mentioned it. But heck, I might just skip it and get it after security. As long as I have it on the plane I’m fine, before hand it shouldn’t be an issue. I’ll stick with my smarties! Thanks for letting me know about the fridge too, good to know!

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That’s a great idea! I’ll have to grab one for my bag to have on hand. I definitely want to move around some as well, with my other medications I don’t want to risk a blood clot, so moving is important! Thanks for the heads up on soda as well; I’ve had this happen too, and would prefer not to have that mix up on a plane! lol

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I never buy in an airport. I usually get the juice once I arrive in place. So, for instance, I carry a fast-acting tab into the airport and on the airplane, buy the juice then once I arrive in CA.

As for injecting etc, I keep a meter with me and dose like normal.

For time, I just go local. I use local eastern on the airplane out, CA when I arrive, and eastern when I get on the airplane in CA.

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I second getting a note from your doctor. You probably will not need to show it, but it’ll provide you a peace of mind.

Most airlines (even the discounted ones) give you free drinks, such as sodas (coke, sprite, ginger ale) and juices (usually apple and orange), so you don’t have to grab one at the airport. As for snacks, many domestic airlines are eliminating free snacks and meals, so you might want to bring some snacks that you enjoy on the plane.

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You’ve had a ton of suggestions here but I’ll add my 2 cents. Travel always pushes my blood sugar up. Whether it’s a plane ride or a car ride, I find travel stressful. I’m usually better off not to eat until I reach my destination and feel relaxed. Because travel runs my blood sugar up, I test every one to two hours and correct as needed.

I DO carry emergency food with me just in case. Packages of peanut butter crackers, candy bars, small packages of nuts, trail mix are all easy to pass through security. Forget juice until you are past security. I keep a small cosmetic bag in my purse with my insulin pens and testing supplies in it. I have never once been asked to show or explain any of it. I think you’ll find getting through security is a lot of nothing.

Again my biggest problem is the stress of the traveling. I check often and hold off eating much of anything until I get where I’m going.

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