TSA in Newark, NJ

I flew on United out of Newark yesterday. When I got to to the Security check and realized that they wanted me to go through the full body scan, I said no, because of my pump. An agent was standing in the metal detector, and was forcing people to go through the scanner. I repeated that I did not want to go through the scanner and was told by several different people that it was exactly the same as the detector, and if I could go through one, I could go through the other. I had to be quite forceful about it. These people were just repeating the same comment over and over. Too bad they had no idea what they were trying to do to my pump!

The young lady who did my pat down was a bit upset that I insisted on it. If I didn't have all of you, I might not have been so strong. THANK YOU!

Glad you stood your ground, Kim. I am going to fly from CA to Florida in August - first flight since getting my pump and was planning on putting a post up then, but I'll ask you now. I'm always puzzled when this topic comes up about going through the detector vs a pat down. I am wondering why there isn't a third option: Taking off your pump and handing it to the agent for inspection than just walking through the scanner or detector?

Makes sense to me…oh, that must be the problem;)

But I thought you had an omnipod pump Zoe ? Isn't that a bit more difficult to just take off, and if you do take it off don't you have to put a brand new one on ?

No, I have a Ping. Very easy to disconnect!

I don't understand why TSA doesn't have a list of medical devices that can't go through whatever scanners or detectors they have. I mean my friend has 2 replaced knees, another friend has a replaced hip and my brother has a replaced heart valve - I think his is plastic but regardless most of the time TSA agents are not college graduates and have absolutely no clue what they are looking at or for. I am planning on getting a pump when the newer omnipod comes out and I will have no problem explaining to the TSA agent what it is, where it is located, and if they want to pat me down I'll be perfectly happy to comply. I think maybe an official looking document from your endo stating that you have a pump, that it is a "fragile" piece of medical equipment that could be damaged if put through a metal detector or full body scan, etc might go a long way to helping in the future. Oh wait that is assuming the TSA agents can read ??

Sorry it was smileandnod on the omnipod pump my mistake.

If we are to hand someone our pump, there is a danger that they will accidentally change a setting or harm the pump when it is out of our control.

I actually am not particularly worried about that, though I could understand the concern. I'm just always confused that nobody mentions that option when it definitely seems better than having a stranger rub their hands all over my body:::shudder:::::

Hey Clare, yes I'm on the OmniPod but I haven't flown since I started pumping going on 4 months ago. I was actually supposed to attend a conference on the east coast about a month after I started but decided to skip the travel until I had a few more months experience.

I don't think the airport I usually fly out of has a full body scanner but I'm sure I'll end up facing the TSA in one of these airports.

I flew out of La Guardia a few weeks ago and they tried to get me to go through the full body scanner. I told the lady "No, I'll take the pat down" repeatedly as she kept telling me my pump would be fine. I ended up pointing to the sign they had up front there, that says you can request a pat down instead and said "I'm opting for the pat down". Then the guy that came over and finally did my pat down tried to also convince me that the machine would be perfectly fine.

Don't listen to whatever they're saying, just refuse the scan and demand the pat down.

Why didn't you just hand the agent your pump, Glen, and then go through?

She knew I had a pump and insisted it was perfectly safe to take it through the machine. I told her it wasn't, but she told me "People do it all the time". I just went for the pat down instead.

Besides, I'd rather let some random agent feel me up than have my full body scan end up on the internet anyways. Even without the pump, I'd probably refuse the full body scanner.

I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think TSA will generally hold stuff for you during screening anyways.

Oh, I see. guess that's a male vs a female perspective..lol. I do think I've read on here about some people handing the agent their pumps for inspection by hand.

So are all airports scanners now, or are there still the old fashioned things too. I find it all so confusing, but I guess I'll figure it out when I go because every airport is different.

I fly a lot (Delta, American, USAir, United)with the Minimed Paradigm, and have been through Laguardia, Newark, JFK, Hartsfield, Logan, Knoxville, O'Hare and others that I cannot remember in the last year, and have gone through both the regular metal detectors and the full body scanners often.

When I tell TSA about the pump, they ask me to step to the side after going through the full body scanner or the metal detector, and then swab my hands and scan the swab with a special machine.

Because I have holes that have been cut in the pockets of certain pants that allow me to keep my pump fully concealed in there, I have sometimes forgotten to tell TSA that I am wearing a pump. If an alarm goes off (and it has only once or twice on the full body scanner), I show TSA the pump and they have me step aside and do the swab.

I've had my current pump now for two years (no returns or exchanges because of malfunctions), and other Minimed pumps for 10 years before that, and have never had a problem with the pump as a result of it going through security.

I'm not sure how things would work for the Omnipod or other pumps (I've heard that some have enough metal to set of the detectors), so my experience may not be relevant. However, with Minimed, TSA is virtually a non-event (particularly compared to one of my colleagues who had his knee replaced and gets pulled aside every time).