As exciting as it might sound, flying with diabetes can be very stressful for some of us. But, millions of people with diabetes travel by plane every month, and we can guarantee that none of them has had any severe problems.
We all feel like diabetes is an added physical and emotional luggage to lug along on our travels. But the earlier and the better we plan our holidays, the lighter this luggage will be! And that’s precisely why we’ve dedicated this article to revealing a series of valuable tips for flying with diabetes supplies.
We’re not going into detail about why you should carry a diabetes travel letter when flying with diabetes here. If you want more detailed information, please refer to our article dedicated to the subject.
Flying with insulin is a stressful adventure. Have I packed enough supplies for my trip duration? Am I allowed to take it with me on the airplane? Is my insulin going to stay calm during my travel? And so on… But rest assured that traveling with insulin is no problem at all. There should not be any trouble if you comply with these few following rules.
If you’re wearing an insulin pump, it’s safe to pass through the regular arch metal detector. But it’s NOT ok to pass through the new 360 full body scanners. According to several insulin pump manufacturers, the pumps have not yet been tested with such scanners.
If the airport staff demands that you pass through a 360-full body scanner, explain that you’re wearing a medical device and request a regular pat-down search instead. In that case, the security inspector might also want to swipe your insulin pump for explosive detection, which is ok. You should not have any problem with that procedure. But if you think the officer denies your rights, immediately ask for the security control officer in charge to come.
If you’re carrying a backup insulin pump in your handbags, take it out before it goes through the X-ray machines and asks for it to be hand-checked.
Again you might have to show a medical certificate. Download our diabetes travel letter template above, and ask your doctor to fill it in (it has a special section for your particular case!).
If you’re traveling with insulin for more than a month, or if the outside temperature is high, you’ll need to keep it cool. Every traveler with diabetes has their favorite insulin travel cooler system. If you don’t have yours yet, and you’re wondering how to keep insulin cold while traveling, here are some of our best suggestions:
Suppose you’re wearing or carrying a blood glucose sensor such as FreeStyle Libre, Dexcom G4 Platinum, Medtronic Enlite Sensor, or other CGM device. In that case, you have to know that they SHOULD NOT go through X-ray machines or 360 full-body scanners. They risk being deactivated and becoming useless.
THAT MEANS: the backup glucose sensors you carry in your handbag must be taken out of your bag before it goes through the X-ray machine. Ask airport security staff to hand-check them.
AND: if you are wearing a glucose sensor ON your body, you should NOT be scanned by the new 360 full body scanners. Request a regular pat-down search instead.
Don’t worry; the airport security staff sees dozens of diabetes supplies daily. It would be best if you did not experience any difficulties. But you could be asked to provide a medical certificate stating that your specific diabetes device cannot undergo an X-ray or complete 360 body scanning. Download our diabetes travel letter template above and ask your doctor to fill it in (it has a special section for your particular case!).
The glucose sensor you’re wearing ON you CAN pass through the regular arch metal detector.
It’s a question that often comes back. You CAN carry fruit juice through airport security checks. Suppose it is expressively stated as a medical need in your diabetes travel letter in case of hypoglycemia. In that case, you can take fruit juice, or any other fast-acting sugar liquid, through airport security.
Now that you’ve gone through airport security with all of your diabetes supplies, you’re ready to board! And we’ve prepared a whole article about controlling your blood sugar levels while in the air!