Pump and Airport Security

For years, I have requested a "search" to avoid walking through the body mage machine with my pump--Medtronic says no, so I don't. I dawned on me today that I always put my back up pump in my carryon, and it goes through Xray. Had to use it recently and it was fine--probably was Xrayed 20 times in 2 years?

So, even though Medtronic says no, my empirical evidence says it is not a big deal. I soooo hate the "search."


I will admit I've screwed up and not taken my pump off for x-rays of my teeth and also some x-rays of my feet when I went to the podiatrist. While I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, and I definately try to take it off. I never had any issues with my pump on the two occasssions I've forgotten about. My own thought on the idea I imagine it might have more to do with where the x-ray beam is directed at...both my mouth and my feet are a long ways away from my pump. But yet that doesn't explain your security snafu with your back up pump.

I have never taken my pump off for any medical Xrays, ever, except an MRI.

Does Medtronic object to it going through the traditional conveyor belt scanner? Or to the walk through scanner? They are different types of X-rays. Also presumably your back up pump was never turned on or operating when its gone through any of those

I've been told the whole body scanner that some airports have is not an x-ray, but uses some other type of technology. I've been offered it but always choose a search because I got a letter from Animas saying not to take my pump through there. The airport security people always assure me it's fine, but I'll trust my pump company over them.

You know, Jen, all you say is true--I actually had a TSA person yell at me in Atlanta, telling me I was stupid for not using it--there is no Xray. (I sent a letter, totally ignored, of course.) So, I researched.

There are two types of full body scanners. The millimeter wave scanner has no xray. The backscatter xray is comparable to dental xrays. My research says that the backscatter was removed, due to the "detail" it showed.

Yes, Sam, the conveyor belt is an Xray. My back up did not even have a battery in it.

I am going to be scanned this time. The search is humiliating.

It’s no more humiliating for me than the thought of some government funded pervert hiding in a dark room somewhere looking at essentially nude images of everyone who goes through the scanner

I get that, but at least I do not need to participate in my humiliation of the search, other passengers looking at me like a problem, the touching. I researched the images and I will never be the cover girl of "TSA weekly," but it is not internal; I don't see them and they are not touching me.

I don't mind the searches. I've always had a female do it (if it's a male security person they will call over a female) and I'm pretty sure it's just as uncomfortable for her as it is for me. Since I'm visually impaired they also always tell me that they are using the back of their hand and where they are about to touch. Not sure if they do that for everyone, though.

They do that for everyone Jen, I just went through the "search" in New Orleans, even though I also went through the scanner. Omnipod doesn't have any restrictions as far as what can or can't go through. So I told them I have a pump, I told them I have a CGM, I went through the machine and they "patted" me down anyway and swabbed my hand after it had touched the pod. They didn't make me touch the dexcom transmitter though - I'm sure they have no clue what or where that was anyway. It was my second time through TSA with the omnipod and in Boston they didn't pat me down, I showed them the pod and just went through the scanner. I'm not a big fan of the whole pat down thing no matter how much they use the back of their hands. My son was there in New Orleans and said to me as he watched me being searched - does this always happen Mom ? I said no, but it must be the price of being a diabetic these days. Who knows what I might be hiding under the pod ?

I always find it kind of funny that they make me put my white cane through the x-ray scanner - as if I'd be hiding something in there! They always give it back to me as soon as I'm through the metal detector, though. I think I've had one time in the past seven years I've been pumping that I haven't been searched. Usually I tell them I have a pump before I walk through, and it still sets off the alarm. I usually have my bag searched, too, because I carry technology in there (mostly a refreshable braille display) that they have never seen and looks funny on the x-ray. I always tell them I have needles and other medical supplies in my bag and that's never been a problem. Last time the guy said I should take my braille notetaker out before it goes through the x-ray to avoid a bag search, so I'll do that from now now on and hopefully speed things up. I always have to warn people I'm travelling with that security will take me longer than the average person!

Goodness knows Jen what you're hiding in that cane ? Heck at this stage of the game, I'm the bionic woman. I have more technology in my bag and of course needles, spare pods which have needles, lancets, dexcom receiver. I always take longer in security, but hubby and son already know the drill by now.

Hi, I’m vey interested in more info to this question. I’m about to start with a pump and for my work I travel internationally every two weeks, often I do 6 - 10 flights per week…these are primarily in Asia so I don’t think I could expect the level of “sensitivity” in a search that is common in the western world.

I want to know whether people prefer to detach and put the pump in the carry-on X-ray or to wear it through the scanner? I’m guessing they’d search anyway after walking through and having everything beep.

I already carry x2 laptops, ipad, power supply’s, tester, dozens of pens etc. I also carry specialized imaging equipment and an oscilloscope sometimes…so I have a pretty close relationship with security :wink:

Whilst not a 'pumper' I do travel UK - Spain and back on a regular basis, my laptop is military grade so it ALWAYS gets a good look over and more often than not a swab is taken. This of course delays me for a moment and add in that I am often asked to remove my footwear and have it passed through a separate scanner, remove belts, metal objects etc. Am I bothered by the occasional pat down, the delays checking luggage over, even if there is a pervert in a back office somewhere I do not give a damn.

Just make sure my flight is SAFE!!


True Dave,
I often work on military sites and high end research sites (energy research etc) & I’m waiting for that day where a little bit of explosive got on my laptop when we were testing and I get scrutinized a little closer :smiley:

Interestingly, the highest level of security I ever get is domestic flights within China.

With the threat of Syria all over, I am going to bet that all airport security is ramped up big time. We make sure to be at the airport at least 4 hours prior to boarding.

I've been using a pump for over 30 years and have ALWAYS kept it on when going through Security. The body image thing does not seem to affect it at all. More and more TSA people recognize the pump and simply have me touch my pump, then they wipe my hands with a piece of paper, and within 5 seconds, I'm on my way. It has never been an issue for me, and I fly pretty frequently.

Interested in 30 years on a pump. I know it was invented in 1963 and was huge--made the user look like a robot. Thirty years of pumping would have started in 1983. What was THAT like--I can't even imagine. What a fantastic story!!!

I used to always go through the metal detector, but was warned off when the scanners came in, but my research shows things have changed. If you go through the image thing, why do they test your hands? I have never been through it, so am interested. Thanks!

Hi Spock.

I've only had the pump for about six weeks now, but I travel about 30-40% for work, so I asked some detailed questions of my Medtronic support team about this, and then clarified with the TSA folks at Pre-Check.

Medtronic does not want you to go through the full-body scanner (where you raise your hands over your head and stand still while it goes around you), and they recommend that you not send the pump through the x-ray scanner for carry-on bags. Instead, they suggest that you leave the pump on you, and walk through the metal detectors.

In practice, I asked a couple of TSA agents about it, and have found that if I just point to it and say that I've got an insulin pump, they'll just wave you on through the metal detectors. Now, I know that the Pre-check metal detectors are a little less sensitive than others, but I have yet to set off the metal detectors when I walk through, and have not had a TSA agent even express concern about my pump.

I've only been on a few trips since I got my pump, but I will let you know if anything changes going forward.

I was going through DC airport last year going home from a conference. I told the TSA person that I couldn't go through the scanner. He kept telling me it's ok. I asked for a supervisor and she repeated the same. Finally I asked for a pat down. The male didn't like it and treated me with disdain. I fly out of Bradley in CT and they never give you a problem. Just let the know you have an insulin pump and they make you go through the metal detector. When the alarm goes off they just wand you and your on your way. Someone at TSA should be in charge of standardizing the process instead of leaving it up to the TSA's at the airports to decide.