Has anybody had this happen to them?

We were in the airport and we were in line and then the security guard calls my friend over out of the line . He notices she has a bump under her shirt on her hip side . So she lifted her shirt up so he could see , and asked her what is that ? she told him well that is an insulin pump . He then replys he has never seen one and he wants her to remove it so he can examine it better and runs the wand over her . She and I both were removed out of the line and then told we would have to wait untill they were through which meant we would miss our flight . Well we certainly did miss our flight and a whole lot more . She was so mad she broke down in tears and we had to go home she was unable to fly or do much of anything at this point . Anyway to make a long story short she is waiting to hear from american airlines and she is furious and she wants them to pay for embarassing her . Im not sure what other ppl must have thought about what was going on but let me tell you we were getting some rather nasty looks as well . I was just wondering if any of you have had such an expierience ? and if so how did it turn out ? Please post any comments or suggestions you might have on how to handle this . thanks .

Edit :well my friend wendy just heard from a rep with the airline . she is not sure what she can do since we were not strip searched (her words not mine ) she does not understand the embarassment as we put it . and if we truly felt that embarassed we should not be wearing a pump at all . I was floored to say the least . My friend and I cannot believe the cold , hearted response that wendy and I have received . I received a letter from the airline telling me that they really did not understand what embarassment I suffered as a result of being security checked ? did they totally misunderstand what happened ? I dont know I am going to be making some phone call tommorow from work . I have a part time job now got it yesterday and I am thrilled cause I only have to go into the office for like 3 hrs and the rest I can do from home computer which is a good thing and I am so happy about it . That was the only good thing that happened today the airline fiasco is another matter . wendy is ready to drop it and move on and i am thinking that is the wrong thing to do what say the rest of you ?

I’m so sorry this happened, Cathy. I detest flying completely anyway, it only makes it worse that every time I fly out of Newark, I get the total pat down. It’s so embarrassing, especially when they are feeling your chest and stuff in front of hundreds of people. We’ve had a few discussions about this in the past, and - here - is one for you to read.

This is really unusual… especially being called out of line…usually nothing comes up until you can’t pass through the metal detectors… and then if you don’t wish to remove the pump to pass through the detectors you can get patted down which has happened to me…

By security guards are you talking about the TSA agents? I’m not sure if American Airlines is the one who would be responsible for this… since the security at the airports are not associated with a particular airline but are technically government agents (who are supposed to be trained in recognizing diabetes stuff and how to handle such situations) You would be better off lodging a complaint with them

Marie, if security wants to pat you down you have the right to request a private area and an agent of your same sex. I’m sorry that you’ve had such bad experiences. :frowning:

They always have a female agent do it. Last time I flew, there was a guy in a wheelchair waiting to get patted down. The agents were telling him, “sir, you just have to walk through the security, then you can get back in your wheelchair.” he said, “I can’t, I can’t do it!” He was almost in tears. He was obviously disabled. I was so disgusted.

Here’s another discussion on the subject…

I have never had any problems with security in airports. I tell them I have an insulin pump and they say ok and I go right through the metal detectors. Now I have had problems with a flight attendant taking away my diabetic supplies from me on the plane and place them out of my reach. I threw a big fit, as well as the guy sitting next to me who just happened to be an MD. I contacted United and informed them of what their attendant did as well as Federal Avaition and the American Disability Acts.

I’ve been very fortunate on all my flights. Every once in a while, a security person will point to my pump and, as soon as I say “insulin pump”, I get waived through. The only issue I have ever had was one time in SF when I got flagged for extra inspection and the near empty jar of glucose tablets in my brief case had opened and the dust got everywhere and tripped the sensor as a suspicious chemical. Took about 10 minutes while they swabbed my brief case and opened everything and ran it all through other testing equipment. But, the insulin pump was never an issue.

The TSA agents cannot make you remove your pump. They can make you get wanded/patted down if it sets of the metal alarm. They can swab it for explosives if they see it and recognize it as (or are told it is) an insulin pump. She should never take off her pump for TSA. If the agent in question is insisting, you ask for a supervisor. TSA agents should not remove someone from the line until after they have failed the metal detector. However, I would suggest to your friend that she get to the airport at least 30+ minutes earlier than she would if she wasn’t wearing a pump.

back when I was on MDI I went to NYC for a vacation and the only thing they freaked out on was that my belt set off the alarm. the guards all laughed and people were watching to see why the metal detector was going off.

I have flown quite a bit, including internationally, and I have never had any difficulty getting my insulin pump recognized (including domestic flights in China!). First, I always tuck my pump in the back of my waistline before going through the metal detector, and it does not set it off. I can’t remember who told me to do that, but it works. The only time I have set off the detector was when a hand wand was being used on me, and I have had to go no further than show my pump. I would definitely report it to the management at the airport, or ask for the person in charge of security.

Cathy, I hear your anger and frustation. Hopefully as more people become aware of insulin pumps this sort of incident will go away. I flew out of O’Hare to Ireland three weeks after 911. I was strip searched and had my bags searched due to my pump. The electronic device with a connectiong tube made security nervouse. I had my doctor write a note explaining that I was a diabetic with an insulin pump. I haven’t had to use the note but catrry it just incase. You and your friend suffered a great case of discrimination due to the ignorance of security. The solution is to educate, educate, educate. Pat

I say one of us should write a letter in representation of a group, have everyone on this site sign it as well as any friends and family we know that might have to deal with this, send it to the airline and notify a news station. This would not only help this airline to be more aware of how many people they may be dealing with in this situation but also educate them and other airlines on what it is. It would also cause our rights to be more well respected. If you are interested in doing this I will help. I will be flying many times in the next year or two and just got my omnipod pump-how will I be treated??

I can’t believe what you went thru’! Obviously the TSA agent (I’m like Xanthasun - was it an agent or a guard?) didn’t learn about insulin pumps on their course. Nevertheless, you should have been taken aside - that’s what is always done to me when I fly. I always set off the alarm in “doorway” or whatever they call it at the airport - then the wand is waved over me - and along I tell them that it’s a pump - and then I get removed to a secure area - and they go thru’ the routine of patting you down, yadda, yadda, yadda. It’s become a normal procedure for me now when flying. Happens only in America tho’ - don’t go thru’ this in Canadian airports - wierd huh?
One thing - does your friend carry a letter from their doctor stating that a pump is required along with a list of the medical supplies required? Most of us who do fly - have a letter from our doctor. Mine has given me a blank one - with his signature - that I just have to copy - and put in the correct date of my flight. Haven’t had any problems yet - except for a rather bad tempered TSA agent in Sanford International - she was having a bad day I think - but other then that - usually the whole pat down, etc. is done within 15 minutes at the most.

When I was a Travel Agent. I used to encourange people to declare medical conditions prior to travel on the passenger manefest. eg: call the airline, give ticket number and name, have the agent note on the manefest that you are a type 1 diabetic (order diabetic meal too) and they you have LIFE CRITICAL equipment on your person in the form of an insulin pump.

Personally, I’d talk to a lawyer, but don’t talk about embarrasement… use your Americans with Disabilities Act rights. The Airline failed to make reasonable accomodations for a person with a disability from the way I see it… At the bare minimum, they should pay for your tickets, lawyer and court fees.

I’m appalled at hearing the stories related here!!! I agree with Sylvia in that you Americans with Disabilities Act rights were violated. But that only applies if it occurs in the U.S.

Foreign travelers have to take into consideration the knee-jerk reaction of the government from “9/11.” We are all paranoid about terroristic attacks.

Remember, travelers, you must anticipate all sorts of problems. Definitely travel with a current letter from your DR and a list of meds and supplies that you must carry. It is also a good idea (from the travel agent) to make sure it is noted officially on the ticket or the manifest or whatever so that security people are aware.

Having said all that … I am most glad that I am “physically challenged” and don’t travel well. So, I don’t!!

Lois