Thursday, June 9, 2011

Airport Anxiety

Only 7 more days until Charlotte and I hop on our plane and head out to Washington DC for JDRF's 2011 Children's Congress!!! We're both extremely excited about going, but as each day passes I seem to be getting more and more anxious about travelling.

Before you ask...yes, we have traveled with Charlotte since her diagnosis. We've just been fortunate that we live in an area in close driving distance to our family vacation destinations. The last time we flew with Charlotte was in July 2005, just a few months before her I have absolutely no experience with airline travel and T1.

Being the super-planner that I tend to be (with most things), I started our packing list weeks ago. It's insane to think that we have a whole separate list exclusively for her D-related stuff. And because I don't trust the airlines with our D-necessities, all of these supplies will be packed in one of our carry-ons. So far it looks like I'm planning to bring an extra infusion set for each day, 2 extra Dexie sensors, a back-up meter, and double all of our other usual supplies (strips, lancets, alcohols, etc). Also I found out just the other day that, unfortunately, TSA no longer allows liquids (juice boxes, water) through the security check points even if it's due to a medical need, so I've had to rethink our standard low treatment (juice boxes). It looks like we'll be using glucose tabs and fruit roll-ups instead. I'd love to hear some other ideas that would be easy to travel with if anyone has any!

I'm also a little concerned about the actual security check-point experience. I flew last year and was the "lucky" recipient of the "pat down" before my flight home....and I'd love to avoid this for Charlotte if it's at all possible. Fortunately, I thought about this back when Charlotte had her endo appointment a couple months back, so I did get a letter explaining that she has T1 and needs to travel with all of her stuff. Hopefully that will help us avoid too much hassle. I've heard a few different things about how to handle her Dexie and pump (Animas Ping)...some say that leaving them on will create the need for a "pat down" and others say that the x-ray scanner can cause it to malfunction. I'm not sure what the best approach is...I'm thinking we may just leave them on and take our chances??? I've already started preparing Charlotte for what to expect going through security...taking shoes off, putting belongings through the scanner, walking through the metal detector, etc. I'm just really hoping that all this preparation will help keep things low-key.

I'm sure I'm just I've often been accused of doing. But I just want this trip to be a positive experience from start to finish for Charlotte. So, if anyone has any good airline travel tips I'd LOVE to hear them!


  1. I leave my pump on when I walk through gates and have never had a problem. As far as lows, I think your options are good.. maybe lifesavers or skittles?

  2. We have a friend with T1 who has to fly to see her endo and she always has to do the pat down because of her pump...sorry.
    Bean just walked through the 'regular' machine with her omnipod.
    I'm wondering if they'd (TSA) would be OK with the squeezable applesauce?

  3. I have a couple of great travel posts that I have been meaning to repost. I will link to you Michelle. We do have a letter. I don't have Joe's pump/dexter go through. We haven't encountered the newest x-ray scanner thingys (apparently our pumps/CGMs should not be going through them). Joe does get a pat down every time.

    Good luck. Going to repost soon...

  4. Thanks Reyna...I really appreciate the posts...looking forward to them!
    Denise I've wondered about the squeezable applesauce too... we might bring one just to test it out...if we do I'll be sure to post about whether it's allowed or not.

  5. We traveled by airplane just a few weeks after Natalie's diagnosis last summer and I was terrified! It all worked out though. We had the letter from the Dr. and we did take juice and even a bottle of water. I took all her supplies as a carry on including the glucagon, extra needles, test strips, etc. One airport patted ME down to allow for the water bottle and the other airport just had me open the water bottle and they held something over it to test for chemicals. They didn't question the juice boxes. My understanding is that you can bring juice/water if you have the letter saying it is medically necessary. You must keep them separate though. At both airports neither place even read the Dr.'s letter which kind of annoyed me. Have the liquid rules changed recently? My daughter is on shots, so I don't know about the pump. My friend has had T1D for 34 years and she always tells people that she may not be able to wait in line to buy juice/sugar when she is low and same with water if she is high (she is often told she can just buy it wherever she is at). She wears a pump and is also patted down. She keeps it in her bra and a woman takes her off to the side for a pat down. Here is where I found the TSA rules online and it does say liquids are allowed if medically necessary.

    I am having trouble posting comments on some blogs, so am having to post as anonymous. Nicole D. (

  6. We have traveled out of MSY with Adam many times,and thankfully no problems. We had a letter from his endo ready and never needed it. Knowing they have regular Cokeon flight, I didn't worry about lows. Coke gets sugar up really fast. We travel with the liquid glucose, omnipods, insulin, needles, meters, strips etc. We put everything through the scanner with no problems. Of course everything must be a carryon. Have a wonderful time. And thank you for speaking out on behalf of diabetic kids everywhere. I know I'm on my soapbox here, but public school systems need to be told their required duties in relation to Type 1 students. They are sorely misinformed and are endangering our kids

  7. You sound like me with your concerns, thoroughness and planning in advance. I'm the same way! Like you, we have only taken road trips with D. We haven't flown yet and I'm wondering all the same things as you. The one thing I will suggest is fruit snacks over fruit roll-ups, because they're less sticky. She won't need to wash her hands after eating them. Skittles and Smarties work well for lows, too. There's also yogurt covered raisins and those gluco-shots. We've been carrying the 100-calorie packs of Emerald almonds for Jack to snack on (only 4g carbs) and little squeeze packs of Justin's peanut butter. He's often ravenous when he's low, so with the almonds and peanut butter I have a little something for him that's easy and portable.

    Have a wonderful trip! I can't wait to hear all about it! Congrats on being selected by JDRF!!!