Flying with an insulin pump

Please share with me your experience has been flying with an insulin pump. What about airport security, bringing supplies, did your blood sugars cooperate while in flight, etc. I'm flying for the first time as a diabetic to Disney world in four weeks and am extremely nervous. I've read about the air pressure during take off releasing insulin into your body without you manually taking it...this FREAKS me out! HELP! Thanks in advance for helping and sharing!
-Nervous Traveler Jenn

I dont have a pump but there are no issues against taking diabetic supplies on board the plane with you. The customs and security people know what they look like and that they are medical necessities.

I had no problems with BS, just make sure you have a snack with you.

I flew a few years ago to NC, I packed a letter from my doctor specifying what i was carrying and why. I did not get a chance to pull out the letter. I explained to people but they still pulled me out of line and tested me to see if my POD had chemicals other than insulin - no way is there a test to use on my hands. I don't think I wanted to blow myself or fellow passangers up. I have not flown since and I will be more prepared when I do.

My son has been wearing one and flying for years. No problems that I have noticed but I have read of others who have run into issues. He leaves it on, does nothing different and has never had an issue. I wonder if the stress of flying sends people high and it is not just the air pressure. He has had a full range of experiences with TSA but mostly its been fine. Give yourself a few extra minutes in case someone wants to pat you down when you tell them you have it but otherwise, don't worry and enjoy your trip!!!

I just got back from my first trip since switching to a pump (Omnipod) and cgm (Dexcom). It was a total non-event. On the flight there I mentioned that I was diabetic and wearing a pump and they just kind of shrugged. On the return flight I got checked three separate times with swabs they use to detect drugs, but it seemed to be just random on the first two since I didn't announce anything and hadn't gone through the scanner yet. On the third swab, post scanner, they were checking out the "Aussie Bite" snacks I had in my carry on bag for the long flight - they could have cared less about the stuff attached to me or the extra supplies in my carry on! It really wasn't a big deal at all. I suspect the TSA staff is pretty accustomed to us D-folks.

Did any of you experience lows or highs due to air pressure on your pump?

I read that pressure change thread too and got a little intimidated - nothing I do in my D-management is that fine tuned that I would notice those kind of miniscule bumps one way or the other.

I noticed nothing at all on my recent flight, but then again I'm on the OmniPod which doesn't seem like it would have the same potential issues with pressure change that a tubed pump might have.

Good luck and enjoy your trip - don't worry too much about it!

I have been flying for decades with my pump(s) and never had any issue with lows or highs due to air pressure or any other reason. Also, never any trouble with getting on the plane with my device and the supplies. Go have fun !!

Guess I'm more concerned about the pressure issue because I'm such a brittle diabetic who requires very little insulin. I can go extremely low with a bolus as little as 0.2u. Trying to decide whether I should leave my pump on or take it off before takeoff and put it back on when landing..

I have never had any issues with flying with my insulin pump. Only once has it set off the metal detector and when that happened they were very nice about it. Just had to do the bomb swab thing :) I also never had any strange issues with blood sugars while flying. I went to St Martin last week and had three very long flights there and back and never had an issue. I don't think you should stress about the traveling part, but I will stress the importance of bringing a backup plan! I ignored these warnings and my pump broke on the very first day of my vacation in St Martin. I was in a totally different country and my only "backup plan" was one syringe and a bottle of Novolog. Needless to say I was waking up twice in the middle of the night to take more insulin and that one needle became very painful by day 5! Please please please make sure you bring syringes and a long-acting insulin like Lantus. Might not be a huge deal for you since you aren't leaving the country but it's still a good idea.

Have fun!

It’ll be ok:). Thousands of people fly every day with them. I dot pump but fly almost weekly… Cary a lot of D supplies in my carry on, never had a problem I don’t even mention them at security unless they decide to go through my bag— then they ask if there is anything sharp inside and I say there are sterile, sealed medical syringes. Never had an issue. I’ve never pumped but used to use a Cgm— tsa doesn’t understand the difference but they do have reasonable protocols in place regarding security screening for people with medical devices. Have a great trip! Flying with diabetes won’t be a factor

I'm not on a pump but flew to Texas two weeks ago. I carefully put all my diabetic supplies in their original containers. Put everything in a clear plastic case and told TSA I was diabetic. Nobody cared. It was kinda funny.

I have been wearing my pump for years on airplanes. If you are scared, cut your insulin to some lower percentage during the flight, but honestly I have never not even once had an issue that was not of my own making.

If you wish to worry about something, worry that the the guy sitting next to you is jerk, that is a far bigger problem than pump issues.

I flew in a turbo prop at high altitude and needed oxygen. A big plane will be pressurized so it would be like driving up a mountain. The pressure affects air not liquid. So if there are no air bubbles in you device nothing will pressurize. A bubble would grow bigger in a plane or car with lower air pressure. Let’s say a 1/4 inch air bubble is in the tubing when you board. At altitude you could look to see how big the bubble is and then the problem is academic. One should try to avoid air bubbles wherever one travels.

Thanks so much for the feedback, love my Diabetes fam!