TSA stopping and conducting thorough search of people with insulin pumps

I wanted to let folks know that I was stopped at the Phoenix airport last week and thoroughly searched and all of my electronics were tested for explosive residue because I was wearing an insulin pump. They said this was a new policy because the pumps don’t go through the scanner. Needless to say, I tucked my pump inside my clothes for the remaining 3 airports I had to go through last week. I’m curious to know if anyone else has had this experience.

Yes it happened with my 5 year old son Zuhair who was wearing pump and we almost missed our flight. He was so scared with all the checking that he started crying .

Interesting the issues that we as pump wearers need to go through while flying…

Has anyone considered if we would be better putting our pumps through the X-ray scanner?

I mean, we put our computers, cell phones and insulin supplies… why not put our pump through as well as avoid the hassle…

Any views?

Author of D and The Guy

Yikes. Was your pump plainly visible when you went through security at PHX?

I too had the same experience at the airport. I was flying from California to Florida and was treated the same way…searched and patted down my legs and then my pump was tested for residue. I decided from then on not to mention the pump when going through the scanners. Nor did they ever question all my supplies that I had hand carried in a bag.

Ugh. I’m flying next week. I usually get through security with no problem because my insulin pump does not set off the alarm… I’ll let you know if I get these thorough searches as well.

I’ve flown on two round trips since I started on the OmniPod in 2008, once internationally. TSA never took notice (it probably helps that the oPod is hidden under clothes and the controller looks like any other phone or PDA). I tell about my insulin as a medical liquid but it goes through like shampoo or other liquid.

Yes it was and I mentioned that I had diabetic supplies in my purse/backpack as well as that I was wearing a pump. On my subsequent trips through other airports, I kept my pump in a pocket (out of view) and didn’t mention it.

During my 20 minute visit with the TSA, I mentioned that I could have easily popped my pump off, thrown it in a baggie and sent it through the scanner and they replied that they would rather not do that in case the patient was held up for a long time in security without access to insulin. So, I dropped it, but in my mind I was thinking, I’d rather have a blood sugar of 500 than repeat this experience.,

Supposedly putting the pump through the x-ray machine can damage the pump, but I know some pumpers who do that and haven’t had any problems. I’m too afraid to risk it.

OMG’sh…I hadn’t considered how bad this would be for a child. That makes me extra sad. I felt pretty embarassed and a little like crying and I’m a grown up. I’m going to look into how to go about giving the TSA some feedback about this…

I’ve had No issues flying in and out of DFW (my home airport), but Orlando and O’Hare both dd the residue test on my Freestyle Navigator CGM. It doesn’t hurt the devices for them to do the test, but I dis feel like I was treated inappropriately, particularly at Orlando. Even with me specifically requesting the residue test, they argued that they wanted me to send my PDM and Navigator through the scanner, which I was not comfortable doing. I filed a complaint with the TSA and received an apology letter from the head of the Orlando airport TSA.

I was told at a type 1 meeting at St. John’s Hospital to never put your insulin pump through the scanner, If you read the small print of your manual you will see it can damage your pump.

I don’t mind being searched and tested for explosive residue. The only thing that I don’t like is when they continually insist that I remove my pump and put it through the x-ray.

The worst experience that I had was in the Paris airport. It ended up with me (a grown-up) in tears and us missing our flight. I’m headed to Paris again next week-- woo hoo!

I have a letter from my endo stating that I have diabetes. It also lists the supplies that I need to carry…including the pump. Perhaps this would be beneficial.

I have always carried a travel letter from my endo, but the worst of TSA agents will point out that it authorizes you to carry the equipment but does not specify that the equipment cannot be sent through the scanner. I was advised that I should carry the device manual that specifically states it should not be exposed to x-ray. The pump manufacturers and CGM manufacturer actually say it’s okay, but I’ve been told by the TSA that it is my right to request a visual inspection. It is even on their website - which I now print out and carry with me as well.

Interesting. I never knew this and have run my pump through the x-ray for years with no ill-effects.

Generally speaking, if the line’s not busy, I wear it and take my chances. If it IS busy, though, I just toss it in the tray with my laptop.

Hi Kristin - I always go thru’ a thorough inspection when I go thru’ TSA (but not in Canadian airports - they just see I have on pump - and no problems). Only time I didn’t like it was when I couldn’t understand what the TSA guard was saying (as you are kept inside a bullet proof enclosure while they go thru’ your bag the 1st time) - and I was allowed to be let out of the enclosure. I didn’t hear her saying “Mam, do not touch your luggage” - well - I did - because I was trying to show her what it was. Man oh man - that got her really yelling at me - and I felt like a right idiot - and wanting to sink into the ground. That’s the only time I’ve ever had an uncomfortable experience with a TSA guard because of wearing an insulin pump.

Anyway, it’s just the way things are these days since 9-1-1 - sigh - so always arrive at airport well in advance of your flight departure - then you’ll be alright - this really applies to anyone - diabetic or non. Who wants to be running to their terminal with seconds to spare before they close the door to your airplane?

I also do what Melissa does besides bringing a letter from my endo - print out the TSA info from their website - as not all guards are familiar with the visual inspection - just be careful on how you “educate” them - if they appear to be annoyed by you telling them this.

20 minutes???

What do you do with the PDM?