Fun and Games with TSA and pump

Fortunately, I got to airport 2 hours early for domestic flight. Told TSA guy that I wouldn’t go through body scanner because of wearing diabetes stuff. Then I waited and waited and waited for female TSA person to come do pat down. After I told her where cgm sensor and infusion sets were, she did the pat down. Next she went over to a machine and held an approximately 12" wand to it. She kept trying something and then went over to another TSA guy and talked to him. This resulted in calling the supervisor. It seemed that I had set off some alert that resulted in a reading on the wand.

The next step was to call for a female supervisor to do a repeat pat down. So I waited and waited and waited. While waiting, I looked at my Tslim and saw that my blood sugar was beginning to drop. Waited a few minutes, looked again, had dropped down to 80. Not so low but I didn’t know where it was going to stop dropping so decided prevention was the best option and requested my glucose tablets which were in a bin that I was not supposed to touch. The TSA lady didn’t have a clue what I was asking for and was doubting that I should take anything from the bin. Fortunately, the male supervisor said, “It’s okay, it is medical”.

Eventually the female supervisor arrived. Another pat down which again resulted in the wand getting a second alert from me. Then they went through everything in my baggage. At this point, one TSAer took my sandals somewhere else to run through a machine while another went somewhere with my passport. When they were stumped with not being to figure it out, they just let me go. It is my belief that had I been a swarthy, dark skin man with a beard, they would have taken me for a strip search. So, profiling me as a white, blue eyed grandma, they decided I wasn’t a risk. [ridiculous assumption as I am an activist]

Recommendation…always go extra early to airport.


Once we had protein bars that trigger the swabs going into the machine for residual explosives.

It started to get a little interesting with TSA at that point.

I told them they could keep the bars. We really didn’t need potentially explosive bars on the plane with us.


We take all attached Tandem and Dexcom equipment through the body scanner.

Obviously it is always flagged.

A TSA agent (matched sex) then does a body pat down.

They (TSA) have never wanted to touch the pump with so much as a finger but rather ask the wearer of the pump to handle it all over with their hands then the TSA agent uses a swab to wipe the pump user’s hands and then puts the swab into their machine to check for explosives and crack and meth and who knows what.

Other than our explosive food bars (lol) we never had a problem and the entire process is less than five minutes.

We will typically get to the airport at small airports about 1-1/2 hr prior to departure and busy airports about 2 hrs prior to departure. We always have time to spare but I find it more relaxing to have excess time hanging around by the gate as opposed to the alternative of feeling rushed trying to get through security.

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Remember Big Brother’s social media scanners. Your comment just landed you on several government watch lists lol. :policewoman: Me as well for quoting it!


The bigger the airport it seems like the more time you should allow. LAX was very time consuming. I went through the body scanner, ( I’m still not sure whether I’m supposed to) I had to wait to go through it. It took extra time versus just going through the metal detector. Then have all my extra snacks etc swabbed and a pat down. And lines for all of it!

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I assume you mean the metal detector gate, not the millimetre wave full-body scanner ( or backscatter x-ray scanner?

I was there a long time. Got to airport 2 hours early. TSA took more than half an hour.

What kind of food bars? Did they have an unusual ingredient?

I always get tagged for over for a “special” search no matter what airport I fly through. I say it’s because I’m fluffy in special places. One time it was my shoes that set it off, the next time it was my bra, another time my pants, the last time it was cotton panties which was really weird. :roll_eyes::grimacing: Awkward.

Now I’ve flown with syringes for my RA and equipment for my diabetes and they never said a word. But they have flagged me for my potassium pill bottle being too large. Go figure.

So if, or rather when I get a CGM and other equipment (i.e., pump) I’m sure it will be an even more fun pat down (and more stares).

This week my BGs have been having fun with me—low at the beginning of the week < 85 and now climbing towards the end of the week 175…SMH. :crazy_face:

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So, I never wear my pump while going through the body scanner. I carry a clean ziploc bag with me, and request that the pump be hand-inspected (I detach while I’m at the point of putting other stuff on the belt, when I can actually see someone hanging out near the scanner inspector.) Then I walk through the scanner, they hand-inspect the pump and hand it back to me, and I reattach. Always make certain my site is easily accessible for reattachment so I don’t have to bother finding a bathroom.

This has always worked for me in the past, even when traveling internationally. I’m off to Savannah next Tuesday, so we’ll see how it goes. Also, I use sets with plastic canulas, not steel, and I don’t use a CGM, so I’m not sure if this would apply to anyone else.

That is amusing.

No. I have never heard the metal detector called a body scanner.

When I said the body scanner, I really did mean the body scanner.

In terms of the Millimeter wave body scanner vs the Backscatter X-Ray machine, I am not aware of any USA airports that still use the Backscatter X-Ray machine.

I would not want myself of my family in the Backscatter X-Ray machine and am glad they have been removed from service in the USA (AFAIK). The medical devices going through the Backscatter X-Ray machines would be the least of my concerns.

I don’t even remember now. It was the outside of the packaging that triggered the detector so I have no idea if it was a strange ingredient or something with how they were shipped or what.

I’ve never heard it called that before, but plenty of people think the metal detector is an X-ray :grinning:. These scanners aren’t common at Australian or European airports and I had not been through one until our last trip in June despite travelling enough to have platinum status.

What’s the point of going through the millimetre wave scanner with a pump on, won’t you just get a wand and pat- down afterwards anyway?

OT, but what are your concerns with backscatter scans, radiation or privacy?

I tried that technique recently. When I handed the pump to them for a hand inspection, she said they would do it but would pat me down anyway. So I reattached the pump and wore it through the metal detector. It was the first time that my Tandem pump didn’t set off the metal detector!

Interesting, Laddie. I did have a problem once in Charleston, SC, and ended up being wanded. But Boston is very good about pumps, which is where I fly out of, and I’ve never had a problem here.

It gets you to the pat down quicker with minimal fuss.

Hopefully not. That would be discouraging to think that was a common misunderstanding.