Tips for Hassle Free Flying

September 8, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

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Basic common sense rules should make your flight a smooth one and keep your diabetes under control.

Hope for the best and plan for the worst case scenario–which means be prepared for delays, emergencies and lost bags.

Don’t pack those medications in your suitcase; you may be separated from them indefinitely.

If your flight has a meal or a snack, when you make reservations ask if there is a diabetic option.

Bring your own snacks and plenty of them as back up for any delay you may encounter. Planning to eat at your several hour layover works unless you are delayed and have only a few minutes before your next flight leaves the gate.

Maintain as regular a schedule as you possibly can including meals, snacks, and taking meds and insulin on time. Plan to check your blood glucose levels more often due to the added stress of traveling and the possibility that you may be off schedule.

Review the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) guidelines for flying with medications.

Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions


You may bring all prescription and over-the-counter medications (liquids, gels, and aerosols) including petroleum jelly, eye drops, and saline solution for medical purposes.

Additional items you may bring include:

  • Liquids including water, juice, or liquid nutrition or gels for passengers with a disability or medical condition;
  • Life-support and life-sustaining liquids such as bone marrow, blood products, and transplant organs;
  • Items used to augment the body for medical or cosmetic reasons such as mastectomy products, prosthetic breasts, bras or shells containing gels, saline solution, or other liquids; and,
  • Gels or frozen liquids needed to cool disability or medically related items used by persons with disabilities or medical conditions.

You are not limited in the amount or volume of these items you may bring in your carry-on baggage. BUT if the medically necessary items exceed 3 ounces or are not contained in a one-quart, zip-top plastic bag, you MUST declare to one of our Security Officers at the checkpoint for further inspection.

For more information on these measures, please read our memo outlining our policy. Changes in Allowances for Persons with Disabilities at Airport Security Checkpoints (PDF, 101 KB)

Non-liquid or gel medications of all kinds such as solid pills, or inhalers are allowed through the security checkpoint once they have been screened. We recommend, but do not require, that your medications be labeled to assist with the screening process.

From the American Diabetes Association: Tips for travelers with pumps:

Although insulin pump manufacturers indicate that pumps can safely go through airport security systems, pump wearers may request a visual inspection rather than walking through the metal detector or being hand-wanded. Note that this may subject you to closer scrutiny or a “pat-down.”

  • Advise the screener that the insulin pump cannot be removed because it is connected to a catheter inserted under your skin.
  • Insulin pumps and supplies must be accompanied by insulin with a label clearly identifying the medication.
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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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