Devices and Travel

I am a flight attendant and make 1-5 short haul (max. 3 hours) flights per day, depending on my schedule. I am currently in the process of transitioning from finger sticks/MDI to a CGM and pump. I am researching and had a few questions:

  • Are there any restrictions going through security (body scan, x-ray, etc)?
  • Are there any concerns with unforeseen hypos/hypers in the air?
  • Specifically, I am considering the Dexcom G6 and Omnipod, so any insight into those particular devices is welcomed!

Hi Devin @Dev_Renae, in your three days since joining this forum, you have posted some interesting questions and generated worthwhile discussion - thank you and Welcome to TypeOneNation.

My response to your first two questions posted here is “Yes”; I use a G5 and have never used an OmniPod so I cant respond to your third question.

User manuals have specific “restrictions” for airport scanners, but generally avoid allowing pump and CGM scanners to go through x-ray; I have never had any problems with any of my pumps after wearing them through through “full body scanners” and with earlier pumps wearing them while going through the old style devices. You can find considerable coverage on this topic by using the “search” at upper right of this page; I suggest that the postings by @Joe, a very frequent international flyer, might be your best guide.

As far as hypo/hyper events while flying, I have had tendencies toward both but further analysis often revealed an underlying cause - such as not properly accounting for time changes and meal-time bolus. Your shot-hops probably would not cause this problem, but you might want to stay very aware of irregular eating times. On my pumps, now Tandem and formerly MiniMed, meal bolus ratios changed with specific “profile” so you should be aware of this and do not automatically accept the estimated bolus that your pump suggests.

Hope to find you soon as my flight attendant; is SRQ on your itinerary?

I have definitely found issues with by levels when I eat at irregular times! That is my biggest reason for wanting/needing a CGM. I was hesitant to jump right into the technology because I wanted to understand T1D a bit more. It didn’t take but one true work trip to convince me I was ready haha

SRQ is a destination I fly to. Not as often lately as I would like, but I’m sure I will see you before long! Thanks for your input!

hi @Dev_Renae Devin, since you are crew, your security checks are light touch and so I don’t see any kind of problems. TSA are “mostly” aware of pumps and CGM but they are trained on “medical device” and that’s pretty much all you have to say.

yes all pump and CGM will say not to x-ray. the x-rays are both in the baggage exam ond part of the body scanning. I suppose I am a crazy rebel and just put all my stuff through baggage x-ray because it is the fastest and most efficient to go through TSA, and so even though they say not to - I have never had any kind of problems.

the way I see it, you are on your feet and working most of that 3 hour flight with no breaks. the CGM will be helpful and so will a pump. my number 1 reason for pumping is the better approximation of basal insulin and not having to remember with time shift, when my next shot of long acting is supposed to be in there. problem solved with the pump. you have a learning curve, just as I did when I started working, but if you are measuring it you can control it.

plus you have food on the plane there’ll always be carbs handy.

good luck safe travels


Have you considered G6 plus Tandem t:slim? It is a little bulkier than Omnipod, but it is integrated with G6 and can help you avoid lows by automatically reducing basal insulin. When its Control IQ feature finishes the FDA approval process, hopefully by the fall, it will offer the best feature set of any FDA approved hybrid closed loop available in the USA. Keep in mind, you’re probably making a 4-year decision.

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Hi, @mikefarley! I had not heard of the Tandem t:slim until joining this forum earlier this week. I have put it on my list of things to research! Thank you for the recommendation.

Good luck, and wise decision-making, Devin. I’ve been on pumps for 19 years, and they have made life easier for me. I’m running Loop, a DIY artificial pancreas, and it has totally changed how I manage my diabetes. When Tandem’s IQ comes out, it will be similar
in functionality to Loop, and I will move to it to get on a commercial FDA-approved platform.


Your not to go through the body scanner with your pump. I recommend getting TSA Precheck it’s $85 and good for 5 years. You might get picked to get a pat down but not so often.
If you don’t do that then you will have to tell them at the airport you need female assistance and they will pay you down . Also being a diabetic don’t take your shoes off have them sit you down and scan your shoes . You could step on something and that’s bad for your feet.

Hi, I use the tslim Dexcom G6 combo. I love the auto shut off. Especially when I travel. And I always do a tsa pat down.
You never know how long of a walk to the next gate for connecting flights. And sometimes that extra quick long walk will put me in a down trend. It gives me time to get to the gate, and grab a sugar tab while walking and lessens the stop everything freak out anxiety about dropping too fast.

Welcome to the forum.

Firstly, I think that the transition to a pump & CGM combo will help you greatly if you’re prepared to put in the effort. It gives so much more visibility and control!

I used to have an Accu-Chek Combo pump which didn’t have a CGM and I never had any issues at any airports (various countries). I never put my pump through the X-Ray scanner.

I’m now on the Medtronic 670 pump with Guardian Sensor - there is a package insert that warns about airport security. To be honest, I’d also appreciate others feedback on this at it seems quite tricky. I don’t want my pump/transmitter to be destroyed especially when I’m going to be away from home.

Does anyone have advice for this pump/CGM?

If it makes you feel better, not putting the device through xray or full body scanner is more of a recommendation from Medtronic. They’re not saying it will damage the device, they’re saying that they can’t guarantee its safety. It’s safe for metal detectors though.

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Hi @Dev_Renae. Frequent flight traveler here, mainly for work. I find TSA is hit or miss. I always put everythign through bag xray, never have an issue with that. I go through whatever they have, in CO it was just a metal detector (and it didn’t sense anything). Body scanners are odd, I always go through them. In April I did Knoxville TN, Las Vegas, Charlotte NC, and New Haven CT and none of the scanners picked up my Omnipod or Dexcom G6. Last week I flew New Haven again and it picked up my Omnipod but not my G6. They have me slide my hand over the Omnipod and then they swab it and put it on a machine. Takes 2 min longer but I usually clear straight through. Once I didn’t in Hartford CT. I was with security for over an hour, bag and strip search. Police come over and clear me. Turns out my hands tested positive for nitrates, which they said are common in lotions. So I never apply lotion, perfume, etc if I am flying the next day.

I hear you @Dev_Renae about BDL - Bradley Field. Our son lives in that neighborhood so that is my most frequent stop next to our neighborhood SRQ. I thought the TSA folks at BDL had me targeted because a couple of years ago I pulled out a copy of their own manual to show them that I was in compliance.

I have another travel question. What do I do with my used needles while traveling? We will be in the UK for two weeks…


@Jsich hi Jess, the UK has a pharmacy sharps collection system. they give you a collection container, you fill it and return it to a pharmacy.

the drop off location finder is here

When my sharps are finger safe, I just put them into the regular trash at the hotel, Have a good trip.


Hi Joe,

Thanks for this. But when I typed in London, England, it said no results found…?


hi @Jsich Jess, it’s because that website is for Canada! I am so sorry. I researched London ENGLAND, and found that a sharps container and the return of sharps may cost money.

When I was on MDI, I would accumulate my sharps in a tupperware or in the back of my needle kit and dispose of them when I got home.

sorry - I was a bit off yesterday.

That’s ok Joe! Tupperware is a good idea :slight_smile:

Hi Devin,
I’m an Omnipod user and fly frequently, overseas to Europe and USA.

I pretty much always get patted down and fingers swabbed at TSA, and I’m TSA pre approved. It doesn’t take long though. It’s never caused me an issue.

As a flight attendant, you’ll be aware that depressurization starts as soon as cabin doors close. I have to use the temp basal setting on PDM set to zero, as soon as the doors shut. I monitor with manual blood tests and use pens or syringes to keep blood sugars in check. I’ve only recently understood why my blood dropped to danger levels, and severe hypo status. My pump releases insulin my body is not anticipating due to pressure. Omnipod is the only pump I’ve used, and I do love it. Understanding how pressure effects diabetics with pumps when flying will help you make your pump selection. I do not use a cgm at the moment. Good luck with your decision!

Jess, I travel frequently to the Uk to visit family. I don’t use lots of sharps as pump user, however I put ones I do use in secure, screw top, hard container until I return to the US and put in my sharpers container. I refasten the needle cap. I’ve not had any problems. When I lived on the Uk, I took a sharps container to my local pharmacy. Good luck & safe travels!

Empty liquid laundry detergent bottles are the best diy sharps containers. They also have those little bottles with only a couple of loads worth for people who go to the laundromat, that would probably make a great travel container. Not sure that customs or TSA would like it, so maybe the Tupperware does have an advantage. Maybe, there is something like a rubbing alcohol or hand soap bottle that is clear, then you have a clear container for TSA that also has a secure lid, but you lose the wide mouth of the laundry detergent bottle or tupperware.

In my municipality in the USA, the city stipulates only that it be in a hard plastic, puncture resistant container with the lid tightly fastened, it is then to be disposed of in the regular garbage.