1. Get the Diabetes Forum App for your phone - available on iOS and Android.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Guest, we'd love to know what you think about the forum! Take the Diabetes Forum Survey 2020 »
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Diabetes Forum should not be used in an emergency and does not replace your healthcare professional relationship. Posts can be seen by the public.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Find support, ask questions and share your experiences. Join the community »

Flying with pump

Discussion in 'Insulin Pump Forum' started by sjm1308, Jan 7, 2020.

  1. sjm1308

    sjm1308 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    148
    Likes Received:
    47
    Trophy Points:
    68
    I'm going to spain for a few days and it's my first time flying with the pump. My dsn isn't a great help. Once I managed to get a phone call with her I was only advised to take it off at security and not not put it through the scanner. She also said I wouldn't need a letter as they are well used to pumps now but I'm going to ask my gp for one anyway.

    I remember at pump training we were told to disconnect at take off and landing but my dsn said this isn't necessary.

    I'm very anxious as it is and tbh I don't feel fully satisfied with her information.

    I'm going to approach security and explain the pump cant go through the machines. I will have my letter from gp.

    I will suspend and disconnect at take off and landing.

    I will take extra set changes, my back up insulin pens and info re insurance etc. I have a frio pouch and their is a fridge at the room.

    Is there anything else I need to know?
     
  2. porl69

    porl69 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,181
    Likes Received:
    3,734
    Trophy Points:
    198
    Hi @sjm1308.....Your Dr will charge you for a letter. Your DSN should write you a letter any way and not charge you! Give them another call and ask again for a letter.
    No need to disconnect on take off or landing. Keep and eye on your BGs during the flight and also keep an eye out for air bubbles in your lines!
    When you get to the airport go to the information desk and ask for a "hidden disabilities lanyard". You will fly through customs, no queuing at all, and have priority boarding on the plane. I only found that out last year.
    Forgot to say, customs are fully aware of the insulin pump and you will have a "wand" search

    ALSO....have an amazing time
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. Muneeb

    Muneeb Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    398
    Likes Received:
    189
    Trophy Points:
    103
    I got my letter from the GP, although it was a few years ago now. I was never charged for it.

    Although I don't use a pump I've never been asked for any proof for the medication I carry.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. MeiChanski

    MeiChanski Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,694
    Likes Received:
    1,534
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Oh could you take me as well? Your consultant should be able to provide you a letter as well. I know during DAFNE, dsn who is also a pump nurse, said pump users should never disconnect their pump and you should tell security that you cannot go through the metal detectors, xrays or the scanners. I’m not too sure about pumps on planes but I know you’ll need to adjust the times on your pump. I’ll again emphasis you can get an invisible disabilities lanyard to skip the queues. Have a nice trip!
     
    • Like Like x 2
    #4 MeiChanski, Jan 7, 2020 at 2:59 PM
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2020
  5. porl69

    porl69 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,181
    Likes Received:
    3,734
    Trophy Points:
    198
    I have been asked once and that was coming through Egypt. Luckily I had my letter off my DSN. Customs were not at all happy that I was taking needles on to the plane!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Helen46

    Helen46 · Member

    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    3
    I travelled a lot with my pump. You need a detailed letter listing all the diabetic related stuff with you. Take the pump off and refuse to have it scanned...they will usually direct you to an individual with more authority and you can talk to them. Walk through scanners are OK. Diabetics with pumps are now fairly common and you ought not have too much of a problem. I have been asked to hand the container with my stuff (I usually took any conceivable item needed for three weeks) to cabin staff by ground staff but when on board the plane the cabin staff asked how often I would need it and when I told them whenever I ate they told me to keep it (10 hour flight= two meals + two snacks!). If you prerequest diabetic meals it also confirms your status. Two "bad" things happened to me: one at Singapore Airport I was asked to disassemble the pump: take the battery and reservoir out so they could "wand" it and see if there were drugs inside. I did this (reluctantly) but then reassembled it while they, and everybody behind me waited, and another time a person sitting next to me in the plane kept tugging at my tubing. Unfortunately she did not speak English so it was also wrought with translation issues. After that I always booked an aisle seat and had my tubing on the aisle side but then you have to watch out for the trolley!

    Some seem to think that the pressure in the aircraft has an effect on the pressure in your pump and this can interfere with the insulin delivery. I did not ever have a problem but I know someone who thinks this occurs at take off and landing and he suspends his pump during these events. Have a great time.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  7. sleepster

    sleepster Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    78
    Trophy Points:
    88
    A couple of years ago I read a thing online about flying with an insulin pump, and how in some people, the pressure change caused too much insulin to be administered when the plane was descending, causing hypos by the time you had collected your luggage, and realised this happens to me, so I disconnect before the descent starts. You can find a few things about it on google, but whether you find it happens to you or not, just make sure you have some hypo treatment readily available.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. himtoo

    himtoo Type 1 · Well-Known Member
    Retired Moderator

    Messages:
    4,675
    Likes Received:
    5,405
    Trophy Points:
    198
    @sjm1308
    as mentioned above -- go to the disability check in area in the terminal ( where the wheelchairs are congregated ) and ask for a sunflower lanyard -- they should just give you one no questions asked

    wearing this identifies you as a person travelling with an invisible illness
    it gets you automatically put to the fast track security lane and the security staff should be much more compassionate in how they treat you .

    when going through security I always take my spare insulin out of the frio pouch and put it in their plastic bag -- I once got sent for additional checks when I left it in the frio pouch

    as for the holiday -- make sure to take extra sweets and I always take a slow carb snack as well -- as sometimes some hypos need the slow follow up -- a pack of digestive biscuits does the trick for me
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. sjm1308

    sjm1308 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    148
    Likes Received:
    47
    Trophy Points:
    68
    This is fantastic info..thank you all so much for taking the time to reply. The only think worrying me now is if I'll have my gp letter in time. I was told it was not a priority so will be handled as such and that I'll have to pay. Eeeek. I tried my dsn for the letter but she hasn't returned my calls or emails. Anyway the hol will be a welcome break. Thanks again all!
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  10. Helen46

    Helen46 · Member

    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    3
    I'm not in Britain so do not know how that works but flying further afield than the EU I was asked at almost every departure procedure to show my letter. Keep the letter as I used the same letter for years and only requested an update when I got the CGM. It is also useful if anything happens and you need to be seen by a doctor overseas. Mine was very comprehensive...even listed Alco-wipes!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. porl69

    porl69 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,181
    Likes Received:
    3,734
    Trophy Points:
    198
    BUT you do not want to be caught without a letter off your GP/DSN. Just as easy to be carrying a letter JUST IN CASE
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Hug Hug x 1
  12. porl69

    porl69 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,181
    Likes Received:
    3,734
    Trophy Points:
    198
    I HAVE read the whole post!!!!
    She would be ok to take her prescription with her as well/instead of a letter. A letter and or prescription would also assist IF she gets in any trouble while on holiday as well.....you can never be to careful
     
  13. LooperCat

    LooperCat Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,823
    Likes Received:
    7,074
    Trophy Points:
    198
    @porl69 is right. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. I’ve never been asked for mine either, but you never know, especially as we (sadly) leave the EU.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. dancer

    dancer Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,240
    Likes Received:
    1,209
    Trophy Points:
    198
    I have been asked twice for my letter, both times in Europe. The first time I was asked, I pointed to my hand luggage just coming out the other side of X-Ray and said it's in that bag. The security woman shrugged her shoulders and sent me on my way. The second time (in the UK), after I said I couldn't take my pump through the body scanner, and being told I would have to wait for the supervisor, I was taken away for a "personal search". In the private room the supervisor asked if I had a letter but when I said it was in my hand luggage which my husband now had, she didn't ask to see it.

    I will add that the so-called private search sounded very scary, as I had to sign a form agreeing to remove any clothing where necessary, or to help the search in other ways "for example by lifting up a breast". In fact, nothing was done in that private room that hadn't been done in the normal security area in previous years.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. eventhorizon

    eventhorizon Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    274
    Likes Received:
    120
    Trophy Points:
    103
    I've only been asked to produce a letter once while flying with insulin pens. All I had was the prescription form and that was fine. The walk through metal detector doesn't harm my 640g pump but don't put it in the baggage scanner or the full body scanner thing. I never disconnect and not had a problem. Have a fab holiday.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Medusa41

    Medusa41 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    403
    Likes Received:
    425
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Just to reassure you - I travel about 4x a year through Gatwick mainly to Europe, and never had to disconnect my pump at all & , in fact, the last few times I haven’t beeped or been asked any questions. I do have a letter from my DSN but as others have said I have NEVER been asked to provide it. Have a wonderful time.
     
  17. Peter03

    Peter03 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    23
    Trophy Points:
    48
    I have just travelled to Myanmar via Doha no problems with pump or senser or any of my medicine's, nobody asked for any letters or prisciption, although I had it all with me, I think the whole world now knows all about insulin pumps
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  18. simonfholt

    simonfholt Type 1 · Member

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    23
     
  19. simonfholt

    simonfholt Type 1 · Member

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    23
    • I’ve been told by airport security that ‘anyone could produce the letter you’ve shown me from DSN’!
    • Carrying your prescription should help.
    • I’ve never ruined my pump by hounding through scanners BUT, when they wand the pump after the scanner is there really any point going through the scanner!
    • Diabetes UK state clearly that pumps shouldn’t go through scanners.
    • The Airport Operation Association on 21/7/2016 wrote UK airports to say ‘..an information Note has been issued to all UK Airports following a number of queries...’ They later say ...’(and where medical confirmation is provided) the regulations allow for items of vanilla baggage to be screened by hand search, supported by Trace Detection’
    • I have found that when challenged by airport security, saying “I never wanted this life threatening disease and this medication and insulin pump keep me alive” tends to help get out of a tricky situation with airport staff!!!
     
  20. smc4761

    smc4761 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    969
    Likes Received:
    1,738
    Trophy Points:
    178
    This will be my first time flying with my pump a Medtronic 640 pump. Flying from Edinburgh to Alicante in 10 days

    I have a letter about my pump, a letter about my other diabetes kit and my prescription so that should be enough ??

    I know not to put my pump through in hand luggage through X ray. So far so good

    Now when we go through the scanner is that just a walk through metal detector scanner I guess that is OK. Or should I mention to security about my pump and ask to be hand scanned ?

    Do many airports have a full body scanner which i guess I should not go through with my pump ?
     
  • Meet the Community

    Find support, connect with others, ask questions and share your experiences with people with diabetes, their carers and family.

    Did you know: 7 out of 10 people improve their understanding of diabetes within 6 months of being a Diabetes Forum member. Get the Diabetes Forum App and stay connected on iOS and Android

    Grab the app!
  • Tweet with us

  • Like us on Facebook