The TSA is about to become more "intimate" with you if you have a CGMS or insulin pump

I can’t carry my insulin pump or CGMS through the body scanners at the airport, and now, the TSA is making the pat down process more “intimate”. TSA Warns Local Police About Its New Airport Pat-Downs

I hit this new process last week at the Ontario airport. The pat down, which normally only takes a moment, took much longer, and it was indeed more intimate.

Anyone know of a group that’s working on this issue for us?

In case you think I’m being overly sensitive to the use of scanners… from my CGMS provider: “Use of AIT body scanners has not been studied and therefore we recommend hand-wanding or full body pat down and visual inspection in those situations.”

From my insulin pump provider: "Your pump should not be exposed to X-ray screening used for carry-on and checked luggage. Newer full body scanners used in airport security screening are also a form of X-ray and your pump should not be exposed to them. Notify the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Agent that your pump cannot be exposed to X-ray screening and request alternate means of screening other than X-ray. "


I, too, refuse to go thru the scanners. It’s good to know what to expect (in terms of it being a longer process). Unfortunately, we live in a dangerous world, so of course, I want them to do a good job for the safety of all involved, so do not object to the invasion.


I don’t have a pump, but I take my Dexcom CGM through the scanners with no problem. I wear it on my abdomen, and they haven’t once picked up on it/registered it as an issue. Pretty sure there’s no damage to the components; Dexcom is just being extra cautious bc they don’t want to be liable. I’d initially considered removing the transmitter (I’m less concerned about potentially damaging a sensor than transmitter), but at this point, after trying it myself with no issues and hearing the same from others, I’m not concerned enough to bother with either. Doesn’t solve the issue for pump users though.

Been there :frowning: I usually travel a lot trying to attend diabetes conferences and related stuff. Some airports such as the one where I live (Mexico City) does not have a full scanner nor Pat Down policies, they just test for explosives so the entire screening is somehow easy and quick. Last year I started visiting my neighbor country and found this TSA pat downs interesting and sometimes annoying but I DO appreciate security being an important thing and I wish my own airport had security procedures checked. I try to travel with enough time to spend at least half an hour on screening and pat-downs (just in case). I´ve only felt really uncomfortable once too invasive for me to not seem jumpy or really upset. But security is a thing…

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Interesting. I flew today and i was refused a manual inspection of my CGM. I was told to walk through the metal. It did not go off. Because i carried the receiver they wiped my hands to check for bomb residue. But given this experience I’m tempted to just keep my CGM in my pocket and walk through metal detector (I have TSA pre)


I’ve been curious about the details of the “more intimate” screening. I flew two weeks ago and had the “standard” screening that I’ve grown accustomed to over the past number of years: back of hand up inner thigh, hand (back I believe) under breast, hand along inside of waistband. I would consider those three areas a bit more intimate and what many people would find uncomfortable (I understand the procedure and am used to them, so I don’t find them intrusive). Was it more intrusive than that?

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I called TSA cares during my last trip, they were very veeery kind and understood some of my concerns specially regarding time between flights… :slight_smile: is TSA pre only for US residents? have not heard about that program.

I just flew yesterday from San Diego back home (Canada) and got the standard screening. They seemed like they were going to ask me to go through the body scanner, but then ended up asking me just to go through the metal detector. I brought my pump and CGM receiver through with me. It went off (it always does, maybe because of my MedicAlert bracelet), so I got the pat-down and they also wiped my hands. The lady who did the pat-down was very respectful and explained everything she was doing as she did it, which I appreciate because I can’t necessarily see what part of her hand she is using. The braille computer I’d put in one of the bins had to be wiped because they never know what it is, and it set off a false alarm, and the pile of braille papers in my suitcase looked funny on the x-ray, so I was further delayed while they re-tested my computer and searched my suitcase. I pretty much just build in extra time to get through security into my travel plans and I think I’ve had one trip where I didn’t set off the metal detector, so I’m used to the pat-downs and have never yet had any issues.

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While the core TSA Pre program is for US citizens and permanent residents, there are programs for non US persons. I actually joined Global Entry rather than TSA Pre. Global Entry is $100/5years while TSA Pre is $85/5 years, but Global Entry also comes with expedited CBP processing. Global Entry is apparently available for citizens of the following countries:

Citizens of Colombia
Citizens of United Kingdom
Citizens of Germany
Citizens of the Netherlands
Citizens of Panama
Citizens of Singapore
Citizens of South Korea
Mexican nationals

ps. Canada uses the Nexus system which in some ways is interoperable with Global Entry

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This is good information! Thank you Brian, I will definitely take a look.

I travel every week with CGM and pump. I have TSA pre check. I put my CGM receiver through the x-Ray. Dexcom hasn’t tested it but I have. Mine has been through a couple hundred times now with no ill effect. I disconnect my pump and ask for a hand check. I walk through the metal detector with my sensor, receiver and infusion set attached. They swab the pump and give it back in less than 5 minutes and I’m on my way. I believe this is the fastest and safest way to get through TSA. I personally find the pat-downs highly invasive and unnecessary. My pump and I do not pose any security threat whatsoever.

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I see lots of people using it when driving across the border (they have a special lane), but wasn’t sure if they had it at the airport as well. Maybe they’re the people who get through customs really quickly instead of having to wait in line. I’ve debated getting it, but I think it’s expensive for the number of times I actually travel to the US, and I’d probably still set off all the security alarms and have that take twice as long as usual!

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Contact TSA Cares, in the USA. Let them know ahead of time what your needs are. It might be better to educate. I travel a lot with Tandem T-Slim, DEXCOM G5, Bags of TPN (IV feeding), and since I have survived a total Pancreatectomy and Gastrectomy over the past 3 years, I do NOT subject myself to “scanning” at the airport.

I find that the more they know ahead of time and the earlier I arrive (so I am not feeling stressed or rushed