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Airport Security

Discussion in 'Type 1 Diabetes' started by Alasdair, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. Alasdair

    Alasdair Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    It never ceases to amaze me how lax airport and 'airport style' security is when I'm travelling. My needles are in my hand luggage, yet every single time without fail over the past 15 years I have never been challenged when they go through the x-ray scanner thingy. Not even when travelling to and within USA. My girlfriend finds it completely unbelievable that they'll make be take off my belt/shoes etc etc but my needles pass through without comment!

    Do other people have the same experience or have I just been fortunate? Do some of you out there get hassle at airports/security at venues etc?
     
  2. Robabz

    Robabz · Member

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    Now admittedly I've only travelled by plane once since being diagnosed in jan but I found the same thing, shoes and belt off, but don't worry about the wee pens and bottles of undefined liquid together with needles and a small electronic device! Was. A bit nervous first time through security but feel better about it now that I hear you've had the same.

    Rob


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  3. Riri

    Riri Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Same thing with me with my needles and insulin. My pump is a different matter - causes all kinds of problems in this country. European airports no problem - they may be more used to seeing them or the staff are just friendlier and less officious and are aware of travellers with medical issues and how to treat them.
     
  4. Faith*

    Faith* · Well-Known Member

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    Oh no, is it a big big problem? I've never flown before and we're hoping to go on our honeymoon later this year. I didn't know whether to go back on injections for the week. I've visions of being held against my will and interrogated by security staff...
     
  5. BaliRob

    BaliRob Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Remember - the security X-ray scanner staff have seen the contents of your case, etc., thousands of times - they recognise immediately what they are and that is why you are not stopped and questioned.
     
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  6. Alasdair

    Alasdair Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    And they've seen laptop computers thousands of times but they usually still insist on opening them up to check them.

    And I've also had cigarette lighters in my pocket on a flight from usa to uk

    Sent from the Diabetes Forum App
     
  7. BaliRob

    BaliRob Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Alasdair - oh dear oh dear oh dear - WE KNOW THEY DO and they will seize a tube of toothpaste and anti-acid compound as well. BUT the poster was reporting upon the lax security (to his mind) by staff overlooking needles in his hand luggage!!
     
  8. Riri

    Riri Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Don't worry Faith you get through ok but not until first they make you feel like a bit o freak (especially Manchester). I did all the things I was advised, had my medtronics and consultants letter explaining I couldn't go through the body scanner but they still would not allow me through without taking it off which apparently you don't have to agree to - but in the end I was so stressed I just disconnected for 5 minutes. As this was my first time flying with a pump it was a less than happy experience. Since then I have flown from Liverpool and Cardiff and they have no scanners so you can go through the normal metal detector arch. I tell them beforehand that I have it on and sometimes they insist I take it off to swab. In Cardiff a few weeks ago they took me through to a room, still connected, and swabbed my pump whist it was on me. It's just a bit of a pain but now that I know what to expect I don't get so stressed meaning my levels don't go sky high. The first time they soared to 15!! You will be fine and I think if I'd have known that it was a bit like this and different in every airport and that, although you shouldn't have to, to avoid stress all round it's just sometimes easier to take it off I would have been better prepared. Now you know that all airports will be slightly different you will know what to expect. Have all the necessary letters with you too in case they ask to see them - Manchester did. Have a super wedding and honeymoon. If you need to ask me anything else about travel (only been to Europe) please contact me. :D
     
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  9. Baggsy

    Baggsy Type 1 · Member

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    As a frequent traveler to some far flung places around the world, I have to say I haven't had any problems carrying my needles through airport security. So far this year its been Amsterdam, Shanghai, Oslo, Bristol, Exeter and the latest Douala (Cameroon) All I've ever said is that I have Diabetes medication in my hand luggage and needles are also in there. The security personnel seem happy with that, and not once have I had a problem.
    I cant speak for anyone who uses a pump, but for those carrying needles it shouldn't be a problem. Just remember most 1st world countries should be fine, perhaps 3rd world countries may be a little different. Africa can be a problem depending where you go, bribery seems to work for the most part there though.
    Cheers Baggsy
     
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  10. baby_angel

    baby_angel Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi, hopefully in the next year or so I should be going to Japan. Specifically Tokyo. I was just wondering if anybody had been through the security there with a diabetes kit? I've only ever taken my needles through French security and they were fine with it.
     
  11. AMBrennan

    AMBrennan · Well-Known Member

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    Maybe that says more about the absurdity of airport security than the dangers of needles and insulin; if you got a moment, look up Bruce Schneier's monthly newsletter "cryptogram".

    And no, it's not overlooking needles because you are allowed to have needles on flights whereas you are not allowed to carry toothpaste; since pen needles are prescription-only items, the staff presumably inferred that you were carrying them for medical reason.
     
  12. Robabz

    Robabz · Member

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    Baggsy are you a baggy? Would explain all the travel. Random question I realise, but you may know what I mean!


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  13. stephenmblake

    stephenmblake · Newbie

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    I travelled to New York earlier this month with British Airways from Heathrow T5. I followed all the advise and made sure I had more than enough medication and needles for the trip to allow for any delays and also carried extra in the hold (not insulin as cant freeze, this stayed with me). I advised the baggage check in girl that I was carrying needles and she said that will be Ok but entered it on the system. I went through security OK. the problem was when I got to the gate when my boarding pass was scanned I was refused passage and was told to sit "over there" like a naughty boy or criminal. They asked how many needles I had, 12, they thought I could only take on 8 but took and age to find out. Eventually after about 30 mins and the other 9 in my party, including my wife, had gone through told me they couldnt get the definitive answer so I could go through. Once seated on the plane a stewardess came to be and took my needles away promising to bring them back later. I didnt see them again and had to go ask for them before disembarking! She said she had forgotten. On the return trip I advised the staff the same and they sais if you have a letter from your surgery it was OK. There was no problem. BA security you must have had other diabetics through get your act together.


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  14. colacard

    colacard Type 1 · Active Member

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    Any time we have travelled I have found it the same, maybe they have training to recognise diabetic or epi pens.

    Sent from my KFTT using DCUK Forum mobile app
     
  15. s230787

    s230787 · Well-Known Member

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    I have never been questioned in the UK about needles, insulin and or sweets that I am carrying should I go hypo. I do however always mention it to the person on security and have a docs letter.

    In Thailand when flying to Cambodia I had the security lady question me, she wanted to know what my pen was, which was quite hard to explain as she didn't speak very much English. The best i could think of, was pointing at myself and saying "no sugar" and "diabetes" :lol: her supervisor came over and seemed to tell her off for not understanding after giving me a big smile!

    In Bali the airport security had no idea what my pen was, he started twisting the end and pressing it down. my reaction squealing "Nooooooo" at him probably wasn't the best appoach, but all I could picture was my pen breaking! He then decided to search all of my bag, but he worked it out after about 10 minutes that I was diabetic after showing him my testing kit and how it all worked. I actually think he was really interested in it!
     
  16. jesta1865

    jesta1865 Type 2 · Member

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    Blimey only 8 needles, I went to oz in 2011 and had 5 weeks supply, no one said a word. In fact it was handy at Brisbane, we declared it all as drugs and sailed through customs to arrivals, whilst 2000+ people glared at us as they stood in the nothing to declare channel :). 10 flights in 5 weeks nothing at all, I must be very lucky, right where do I get lottery tickets from ? :)

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  17. Pickledeeyore

    Pickledeeyore Type 1 · Newbie

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    I've never had a problem, apart from one air port security guard asking what they were, (referring to my insulin pens). Once I explained he was fine. I don't think he had ever seen them before.


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  18. Lulu9101112

    Lulu9101112 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I've gone on planes over 10 times never been to america or australlia. However i use injections (I assume pump users may get hassle due to the radiation? dunno if there allowed to go through bag x ray machine). So this is probs why or perhaps it's very common and there used to seeing it so they can easily recognize and identify it. (I don't know how it works for type 2 if they treat by tablets etc...) but all the times i've carried my testing kit and needles i've never been asked about it. i only sometimes mention i'm T1D to the aiport security staff
     
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  19. Fiveball

    Fiveball Type 1 · Member

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    There are so many diabetics nowdays that Airport security doesnt bat an eye seeing needles. I live in the US and used to frequently travel within it and places outside. Never had an issue. Thought Saudi Arabia would give me issues as they have a skull and crossbones picture on their customs documents and it says death to drug importers :/ But even they have a huge issue with Diabetes within their own population.
     
  20. EllieM

    EllieM Type 1 · Moderator
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    I always take my medication in hand luggage on the principle that I can't afford to lose it if they mislay my hold luggage. I've occasionally had to show my "I am a diabetic" card but, as others have said, toothpaste appears to be a much bigger issue....(Reminder to self, always put toothpaste in hold luggage). I've travelled fairly widely (nothing like having family in UK when you've moved to Australia/NZ and can make stopovers on trips back to UK).
     
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