Airport pat downs

We recently went on a trip with my 14 year old daughter with T1D and dealing with TSA is terrible. She wears an Omnipod and a Dexcom so she can’t go through the normal x-ray machine. Thus she “opts out” (their words not mine) and has to get patted down. She hates it so much and said she doesn’t want to fly anywhere for a long time. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to deal with this? Can we all lobby for TSA to change their policy for diabetics?

On a side note, we have a family friend who is 10 and has T1D (same devices as my daughter) and she was able to walk through the metal detector but they made the mother (who is not diabetic) get patted down. Where’s the logic in that?

Hi @AliG I am only going to say what works for me. I travel. For work. I’m in airports every month. I take my stuff right through x-ray, the body scanner, and or metal detector and I have had zero problems. I also recently paid for TSA pre check which further reduces my time in security.

I am fully aware that Dexcom and omnipod and Tslim and Medtronic tell you to not x-ray but I do it anyway.

Even with status and pre check, I get the wand and pat down about 4 times per year because they randomly select for wand and pat down. If they notice my CGM I say “MEDICAL DEVICE “ and they have never even asked me anything else. This has also worked well in Ireland,England, Italy, Netherlands, India, and China, recently, for example.

So you can decide for yourself what works best for your daughter. I hope future travel goes smoothly for you both :four_leaf_clover:

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I understand that the magnet metal detector is the issue.
I had an old Medtronic pump stop after going through.

I wear my dexcom and my tslim pump through the body scanner with no issues.
They still swab my hands but I avoid the pat down.
If you are in a metal detector line, tell them you have a medical device and prefer the scanner and they will let you jump in line.

It’s really the fastest and easiest way to get it done without being groped.

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Hi! I also wear an omnipod and dex. I’ve worn my omnipod multiple times through the X-ray and have had no issues with the pod. I just have a little bag I hand to the tsa with my extra pods and Pdm and ask them to hand search that as I don’t want to mess up any back ups or my pdm.

In regards to dex, I just flew about a month ago. I thought you couldn’t walk through with that so opted for the pat down as well. I feel your daughters pain. It was extremely awkward and actually kind of humiliating and they reallllly pat you down (which on one hand I appreciate since it means they’re doing their job and keeping us safe but on the other hand it’s like really? I have a doctor note and a box full of prescriptions. This is legit). I actually ended up calling dexcom and asking because I just didn’t want to do it on the way back again. The rep just chuckled and said you’re good to go through the X-ray.

So moving forward I’m doing X-ray for everything and then just touching my pod and dex so they can do their hand swab thing. So much easier and definitely less stressful. I ended up going up pretty good from the stress from that and just that I almost missed my flight.

And to be clear I go through the big one where you stand feet apart arms up and then just kind of circles around you

Hi AliG I traveled recently to the airport and went thru the scanner and got stopped I thought it was the dexcom that set it off come to find out I forgot to take my glucose out of my pocket and got questioned I told them they were glucose tabs I’m diabetic. I also carry a form letter from my doc explaining. Hopefully my luck holds out flying again this week.
Good Luck my supplies.

First, call “TSA Cares”, they will set up an agent to meet you at the airport and walk you thru the process to ensure your needs are met while meeting TSAs check requirement. Second, Dexcom only recommends avoiding x-ray and the millimeter wave scanner (where you stand legs apart, hands/arms raised); Dexcom is fine with magnetometers. I believe Tandem and Omnipod are the same, but check their website.

I can only share my experience. I lost a medtronic 670g pump less than 24hrs after going through the big scanner. I was about 1600 miles away from home and had to cope with transitioning back to mdi while on vacation and I will always skip the scanners from now on. I understand the negative reactions, I had a pretty crummy experience at Denver Airport where I was forced to wait over an hour on a supervisor for the pat down to occur. My family went right on through and was forced to sit around on the other side of security and wonder why I was being held back. TSA is absolutely not diabetic friendly in any way. My carry on with supplies is always searched and left in a huge pile for me to repack. My only recommendation is make sure you get there plenty early.