Flying with Diabetes

So I am visiting Houston in Aug. I have booked my flight, hotel, and rental car. I was on the TSA website to make sure I knew what was and was not allowed and how they handle people with Diabetes and hearing impairment.

This is what there web site says: “Insulin and insulin loaded dispensing products (vials or box of individual vials, jet injectors, biojectors, epipens, infusers, and preloaded syringes”

Since when are EpiPens (which is the medication name) and Bioinjectors used to treat Diabetes? For ya’ll that don’t know. EpiPens are used to treat Severe Allergic Reations and Bioinjectors are used to treat HIV/AIDS.

Just thought I would share that. If any one has any advice for me about traveling with Diabetes or Hearing Imparments shoot me an email. All will me appriciated!


I just flew fro Philadelphia, PA to Albuquerque, NM and back with insulin pens, syringes, insulin, a CPAP and a host of other meds in a pill box without any real hassles. It took longer for me to put my shoes and belt back on than for the TSA people to screen my CPAP and carry on items. I used gel packs to keep my insulin from getting to warm. I didn’t need to refer to the letter from my doctor regarding various items I need because of my medical requirements.

I think the TSA page was trying to categorize all differant types of meds used by all kinds of people with various medical conditions.

About a month after my dx, I flew to Canada - so I had to deal with both the TSA and their Canadian counterparts. This is how I handled it:

  1. I had a note from my endo that I had IDDM and needed my supplies; since the secretary accidentally gave me the insulin pump form, I also had my mom, who’s an MD, write a note on a prescription that reflected the fact that I was on MDI. No one asked to see it, but you want to make sure you have documentation.

  2. I got a small cooler and ice pack for my insulin pens, and wrapped the pens in paper towels and a dish towel to keep them insulated and from freezing. You’re allowed to take such a cooler on a flight if you have a medical need, such as keeping your spare insulin cold. Bonus: you can keep your lunch in it, though I did remove my lunch before I went through checkpoints, so there wouldn’t be any question about that. I think one security person in Canada had to ask a supervisor about the cooler bag, but if there was a delay at all, it was about 15 seconds and I barely remember it.

  3. I put all of my needles, lancets, test strips, spare meter, etc. into a small bag that I could remove for easy hand inspection, should such become necessary. I didn’t take a sharps container with me outbound, because it was easy enough to buy a 20 oz soda, drink it, and poof! Instant sharps container. You are allowed to bring a sharps container on board with you, but since I use the same lancet for weeks at a time, and only had to do 2 or so injections between New York and Victoria, there wasn’t much of a point. Also, Canadian airport bathrooms have sharps disposal.

  4. Don’t pack your diabetes supplies in luggage. Take them carry on. Nobody kvetched that I had the extra cooler bag.

  5. I know that with certain pumps - I believe the Ping - there is communication between the CGM component and the pump proper. That has to be turned off on the flight, unless you want to control the airplane while adjusting your basal rates :-p.

That’s all I can think of at the moment - enjoy your vacation!

(also, I believe that you can get bioinjectors for use with insulin as well.)

Get a Frio wallet for your insulin. It will keep it cool for over 24 hours, it’s small, lightweight & doesn’t need ice. Great for the plane & taking around with you in steamy Houston.

I’ve flown dozens of times since getting diabetes, including overseas and in some semi-3rd world countries. I never had any problems, whether with a pump or with syringes. Also, I would not worry too much about keeping your insulin cold. Obviously, don’t stick it in a suitcase that’s going in a cargo hold, but, I’ve traveled for 24-48 hours with my insulin just in my backpack/carry-on, and it’s been fine.

are you serious about the ping? i have just gone on that pump and i have to fly, literally tomorrow. it doesn’t make sense to me to have to turn it off since the remote is also a one touch finger stick machine, it would mean i can’t check my bs throughout the flight and need to bring a back up meter (which i do anyway, but i usually put that one in luggage) also the remote only goes about 10ft from the pump for it to work, short wave.
but the tech that planes have today really is not longer affected by such signals, i think the “turn off electric devices” is part precaution and courtesy. (i def don’t want to be next to the person with significant other drama for 2+ hours lol) maybe i’m not right on the last part but that’s what i’ve heard

I have flown to Florida, as well as California, over the past two months- I use insulin pens and syringes.
I had no problems.

I, personally, didn’t bring a cooler- just packed everything in my purse, as is usual for me.
Because I have a large purse, it wasn’t even considered a carry-on. No problems at all! Everything went smoothly and the flight was nauseating, but good. haha.

I think it’s the wireless communication part that needs to be turned off, but since I’m not on it, no idea.

Also, in re: the cooler, I was talking about all the “spare” insulin pens I was taking. I didn’t want to take the risk of having them out in the summer while travelling for 12+ hours in each direction, and since our 1 hour layover in Calgary on the way back almost became a 24 hour layover, I’m glad I had it!

yeah you were right, it’s the wireless part not the whole thing. i figured that out when i called my educator after i read your post, but thank you!

I fly all the time and my mom works for an airline. As long as you have everything with a script somewhere you should be fine. Most TSA agents know what it is for. If you are on a pump you DO NOT have to take it off to go through the metal detectors. you can simply show them your pump in your hand.

I’ve walked though countless times with a single syringe and a vile of half used insulin in my kit that I keep in there in case my pump fails and never had anyone say anything to me.

oh, I forgot this though. don’t EVER put any of your diabetes stuff in a checked bag. Make sure it is in a carry on because if that checked bag gets lost or something all your medications are gone and you are screwed.

Dear Diabetics.

Anyone have any idea what is the maximun volume you can bring on overseas flights. I need 15 ml of lantus plus 10 of novo 9 levemir and 5 ml of alcohol. Wonder if the go ape over 40 ml of liquid?

Anthony I think " they " will go ape, if the amount of 40 ml is in one container, which your insulins defenitely are NOT … and tell me about your 5 ml of alcohol ? And take along your Doctor’s letter of your medical requirements…just in case .

ok so a friend of mine (T1 friend) tried to fly today and when she was going though security they waved her because of her pump and was told “Diabetics using insulin pumps have to endure additional screening though security” and that it is a brand new law in place.

she is further seeking truth, because the TSA website shows nothing of the sort.

I think you could take a gallon jug of insulin on board, so far as the TSA is concerned. Medicines are the exception to the no liquids stupidity.

Of course, I’d a) like to see a gallon jug of insulin, and b) hate to pay for it!

At the end of the day, the rule is that the TSA screener makes the rule. If you’ve got some putz on a power-trip, then it’s strip-search time.

It does sort of make sense that someone on a pump should be checked to make sure they don’t have a weapon elsewhere on their body, I suppose, but at the end of the day, you have 2 choices - do what the nice gentleman tells you, or don’t get on the plane.

when i went through tsa the last time they were really great. the only rule they hd for me is if my pump set off the first detector then i had to go through the second, and i did have to go though the second but it was only 30 sec more. no strip searches or digging through my bags or anything lol the tsa has never given me any trouble with my supplies in the US or over seas, even when i was on syringes and bottles

it makes sense to have the extra screening. they don’t know us, even if they know what the device is. As long as they are not being ignorant about everything i have no problem going through an extra detector or having them swipe my pump with a cotton swab. It’s usually pretty reasonable

I have been traveling more than usual this year, and I have noticed that the screening has been more thorough than in the past. It’s hit or miss if they take out my things and search. I can’t say it’s been a hassle, though. The worst probably was in Germany recently. We got off then back on the same plane, because it had to be cleaned and re-fueled so I was really just sitting in the lounge during the wait. When I went to re-board the same plane to go to my same seat, the security official made me go over to a separate screening room and made me take everything off except shirt and pants. I don’t wear a pump. He even tried to take off my Medic-Alert bracelet, but I told him it was hard to get off so he gave up. Like someone said, I think it really depends on the screener in terms of the extent of the search.

You can bring all of your stuff on the plane in your carry-on. Chances are, TSA won’t even ask you if they can look in the bag. I’ve flown many times with multiple bottles of insulin, syringes, pump infusion sets, CGM sensors, and testing supplies ALL loaded into my carryon with my laptop and whenever they have looked at something in my bag it has always been my ipod or PSP.

The only time I ever was asked a question was when I stepped into the millimeter wave scanner at San Francisco international airport and they asked me what was clipped to my belt.