First time flying with diabetes

My son, who is 13 has been Type 1 for 3yrs. now he is currently on an insulin pump. This will be our first time flying. I was just looking for information on what to expect with security procedures, and what should we pack in are carry on.



Hey Angel,

This is a great topic as it brings out so many stories from different people about their experiences.

For the most part, I’ve never had a BAD experience with security.

Where are you flying to?

Generally speaking, most places see Insulin Pumps daily and are used to diabetics bringing supplies on planes. The only time that I had a minor issue was in Cuba where the security agent kept asking me to remove the pump going through the metal detectors when I kept refusing (under no circumstances do you HAVE TO take off your insulin pump and you shouldn’t). After the 2nd attempt to ask me to remove it, someone doing the x-ray scans of the bags came over and explained to her what it was.

You won’t have this problem in North America though, I can guarantee it.

My recommendations are as follows:

  1. Split your supplies!

If you have a lot of supplies to bring, put some in your checked bag and the rest in your carry on. That way, if God forbid you lose one, you still have the other.

  1. As per any vacation/travel, PACK DOUBLE WHAT YOU THINK YOU NEED!

Better safe than sorry!

  1. Make sure you keep your labels on medication such as Insulin.

This way they’ll have access to the prescription number, your doctor, your pharmacy, etc…in case they need to double check (never been asked this before)

  1. Travel letter from your Endo/Doctor.

I always bring a letter from my Endo explaining that I need syringes, medication such as insulin and an insulin pump that cannot be removed, to be brought onto the plane. This document is signed by her with her contact information. I Have NEVER been asked to see this document. You never know though, I wouldn’t take a chance.

In some cases, they’ve gone through my stuff quickly with me just to take a look (doesn’t take long at all). They will also sometimes pull you to the side and just do a quick frisk and “wave” you with the wand there. Again, none of this takes long.

What happens almost everytime is they ask you to hold your insulin pump in your hands and then they do a “swab test” to make sure there is nothing explosive/radioactive in the pump. Expect this to happen. Once again, takes about 30 seconds.

All in all, it’ll go by faster than you can imagine.

I’m from Canada and the last time I travelled to the US (to New York), it was the fastest it had ever taken. They did the swab test and that was it, nothing else.

Snacks, juices, sugar tabs and all of the, you’re allowed to bring on the plane because you are diabetic. Even water. They won’t give you a hard time. They will of course, with toiletries and all that don’t have to do with the disease.

Hopefully this helped!!

Hi Angel,

I agree with Caddy. We did all the things he mentioned for our first trip with my daughter who had only been on the pump for 1 month before our flight. We had no complications. Shortly after our trip my husband found this article so I will share it with you to do what you wish with the information.
I hope you all enjoy your trip.


Thanks for the information. We are traveling to Tampa Fl., and we are flying out of a small local airport, so I don’t expect much hassle, but I just want to make sure everything goes a smooth as possible.